Dog Dander Does the Body Good

Ok Ok, weird title, I know.

I don’t know numbers, but I’d like to guess that allergies are a relatively common thing, and have always been curious if exposure to allergens helps decrease the allergic reaction of time or not…and clearly this is in regards to certain allergens like animal dander or pollen.


There have been many articles that ave been out lately such as “Ditch the allergies not the dog” and “Dog breed that don’t shed

And while I go out of my way to keep my apt clean and as dander free as possible for my friends with allergies…..I have also always wondered if allergies are innate, or developed. If developed, which I tend to believe they are, I am curious what the statistics are for people who grew up with pets yet have pet allergies are…

A question I will likely not find the answer to.

However, despite all the negatives attached to the words “Pet Dander” a new study shows that it may actually be beneficial in households with infants. That’s right boys and girls, if you are expecting, one thing you can do to help you newborns immune system to prevent the cold and other viruses is to own a dog.



I know it sounds a little crazy, has more on the topic:



House dust from homes with dogs appears to protect against infection with a respiratory virus that is associated with the common cold and the development of asthma in children. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, presented their findings today at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“In this study we found that feeding mice house dust from homes that have dogs present protected them against a childhood airway infectious agent, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV infection is common in infants and can manifest as mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Severe infection in infancy is associated with a higher risk of developing childhood asthma,” says Kei Fujimura, a researcher on the study.

In the study Fujimura and her colleagues compared three groups of animals: Mice fed house dust from homes with dogs before being infected with RSV, mice infected with RSV without exposure to dust and a control group of mice not infected with RSV.

“Mice fed dust did not exhibit symptoms associated with RSV-mediated airway infection, such as inflammation and mucus production. They also possessed a distinct gastrointestinal bacterial composition compared to animals not fed dust,” says Fujimura.

Pet ownership, in particular dogs, has previously been associated with protection against childhood asthma development, says Fujimura. Recently she and her colleagues demonstrated that the collection of bacterial communities (the microbiome) in house dust from homes that possess a cat or dog is compositionally distinct from house dust from homes with no pets.

“This led us to speculate that microbes within dog-associated house dust may colonize the gastrointestinal tract, modulate immune responses and protect the host against the asthmagenic pathogen RSV,” says Fujimura. “This study represents the first step towards determining the identity of the microbial species which confer protection against this respiratory pathogen.”

Identification of the specific species and mechanisms underlying this protective effect represents a crucial step towards understanding the critical role of microbes in defining allergic disease outcomes and could lead to development of microbial-based therapies to protect against RSV and ultimately reduce the risk of childhood asthma development, says Fujimura.”



With that in mind, it appears that there is finally a true positive to pet dander……

Have a good Wednesday!


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