Those of us who are pet owners ourselves have sometimes agonized over suggesting that families may need to get rid of their beloved pet in an attempt to decrease asthma and allergies in family members. Recent data show that we may be able to stop making that painful suggestion. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, recently determined that the presence of dogs in a home protects against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). As we know, childhood RSV increases the risk of asthma development.
Kei Fujimura and colleagues compared development of RSV in mice fed dust from homes with dogs to RSV development in a control group of mice not exposed to the dust. The mice fed the dust did not develop symptoms of RSV. The researchers think that microbes in the house dust from the homes with dogs may colonize the gastrointestinal tract and modulate immune responses. The researchers are optimistic that this study will lead to further research looking into microbes that protect against respiratory pathogens.
Fujimura is hopeful that this information may help us to understand the increasing incidence of childhood asthma. The researcher hopes that the microbes can be identified and contribute to microbial-based therapies to protect against RSV and asthma. Meanwhile, evidence allows us to recommend that families keep the family dog.
Source: Dog associated house dust protects against respiratory infection linked to asthma. Science Daily. June 19, 2012. Available at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619225717.htm. Accessed June 28, 2012.
Submitted by: Robin E. Pattillo, PhD, RN, CNL, News Editor at [email protected].