Dog ownership is associated with reduced eczema in children with dog allergies

Dr Tolly Epstein and colleagues from the university of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital recently carried out a study on children born of allergic parents. Six hundred and thirty six children were enrolled and tested annually for 17 different allergies from the age of one until four years old. Their parents also had to complete yearly surveys.

The results showed that children who tested positive for dog allergies were less likely to develop eczema by age four if they owned a dog before age one year. Those children who tested positive for dog allergies who didn’t own a dog were four times more likely to develop eczema.

However, cat ownership was shown to have a negative effect on children testing positive to cat allergies who also owned cats before they turned one, making them 13 times more likely to develop eczema by age four.

But children who were not allergic to cats were not at an increased risk of developing eczema.

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Journal Reference: Tolly G. Epstein et al. Opposing Effects of Cat and Dog Ownership and Allergic Sensitization on Eczema in an Atopic Birth Cohort. The Journal of Pediatrics

Received 10 August 2009; revised 10 May 2010; accepted 16 July 2010. Available online 2 October 2010


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