07/27/2015 11:15 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Studies will look at benefits of using horses as therapy animals for vets

OTTAWA — Therapy dogs are being used to help patients with mental health issues and researchers want to know if horses can do the same job.

A pair of government-financed studies will look at whether horses can help veterans deal with stress-related mental injuries.

Veterans Affairs says The Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research will receive $250,000 to conduct a horse study, while Can Praxis will receive $25,000 to continue its equine research.

Can Praxis is a not-for-profit organization that uses equine-assisted learning to support veterans with mental health conditions.

The health research institute is a hub for researchers from Canadian universities working on veterans' health needs.

A preliminary study on therapy horses was announced two years ago.

Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole says the government is committed to studying treatment options for vets.

"Research studies like these help us understand the treatment better to determine when and where equine therapy could be used as part of a treatment regime for a veteran," O'Toole said in a statement.

The Canadian Press