Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can Dogs Protect You from Asthma?

Dogs enrich our lives in many ways, so Morris Animal Inn was intrigued by information indicating that the simple presence of a dog may help protect a household from asthma and allergens.

Interesting research from the University of Michigan late last year suggests that dogs may add a diversity of bacteria to household dust that is protective against respiratory disease.

According to the article in the Wall Street Journal, researchers have determined that children in households with dogs exposed to the outdoors may develop a gastrointestinal tract with a more mature immune response to allergens.  

They identified a species of “good gut bacteria” that is critical in protecting the respiratory airways from sensitivity to allergens and viral infections.

Researchers found that this “good bacteria” prevented airway inflammation associated with allergies, and also infection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, other wise known as RSV. RSV infection in children is known to increase the risk of asthma.

This is interesting for pet owners because the presence of pets is sometimes associated with pet dander, which is known to have the opposite effect. Of course there still is so much to learn about this topic, but it’s an interesting concept, don’t you think?

There are many proven health benefits to owning a pet and further research on this topic may add another benefit of living with pets to the list!

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