The value of having a service dog

The aim of my thesis is to estimate costs and effects of having a service dog versus a companion dog for people with disabilities and/or epilepsy and diabetes. 


The thesis also aims to investigate the need of service dogs in Sweden and to study how service dogs are funded, educated and prescribed in other countries. It will also comprise how to handle the methodological framework of cost effectiveness analysis for health technologies with scarce evidence.


The concept of service dogs, i.e. dogs that are specially trained to assist individuals with mobility limitations, has received increased attention over recent years in Sweden. The purpose of having a trained service dog is to reduce the impact of disabling conditions and expand a person’s independence. On behalf of the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden, the Centre for Medical Technology Assessment 2009-2014 evaluated how service dogs affected their owners need for public support. When the project ended the data material had not been exploited to its full potential and therefore we determined to continue our research in this area. 

The main focus in the thesis is to increase the knowledge about the service dog in terms of social costs, user benefits and needs. Today, there is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of service dogs. It is this gap in knowledge we intend to fill.

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