By Karin Krisher
By now, you’ve probably heard the news: for children, living with a dog might help prevent future asthma. In fact, asthma and animals are so connected that we’re comfortable saying: here’s a great reason for your cat people to branch out and for your dog people to feel secure in their decision to house both canines and kids under the same roof.
How do we know that we speak the truth? Because it’s well known that infants with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have a greater chance of developing asthma later in life, scientists decided to find out if there are RSV preventative measures we can take to stymie this occurrence, especially those involving asthma and animals.
Researchers collected dust from homes with dog occupants and fed it to mice in a mixed solution. Then the mice were given RSV. Two control groups were given RSV and no dust, and no substance at all. The mice fed the dog-house dust didn’t develop the symptoms of RSV. Instead, researchers found a different microbial group in the G.I. tract of those mice. It is presumed that these bacteria positively influenced the immune response associated with the lungs.
Whether or not this response would be the same with cat-dust homes or in humans is still unknown. A large-scale study of statistics concerning RSV positive children is needed to learn more. But as RSV affects 90 percent of children worldwide, that study can be expected in the future.
Share this information for a fun conversation about how animal and human health coincide. Have you ever known your dog to make you healthier? How? Tell us in a comment!