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Pet dander can affect different health outcomes – study


In this study, researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland assessed the effect of fur-bearing pets, including cats and dogs, on the health of individuals with allergic conditions. The results of their study were published in the journal Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine.

  • The study group consisted of 18,617 individuals: 16,562 from urban areas, and 2,055 from rural areas.
  • The researchers used the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) and the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study questionnaire — both adapted to Middle and Eastern European conditions — as tools for their study.
  • They also used the questionnaires as part of the study Implementation of a System for the Prevention and Early Detection of Allergic Diseases in Poland.
  • Among the factors, the researchers identified that determine the keeping of fur-bearing pets in a household were larger living space and the number of cigarettes smoked. The latter was especially prevalent in urban settings.
  • In rural areas, keeping fur-bearing animals has a preventive effect against allergic conditions.
  • On the other hand, in urban areas, household pets clearly aggravate symptoms of bronchial asthma, i.e., the risk of cough and wheezing.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that in rural settings, keeping fur-bearing animals is beneficial in preventing the development of allergies, while in urban areas, doing the same exacerbates allergic symptoms, especially the symptoms of bronchial asthma.

Journal Reference:

Krzych-Falta E, Furmanczyk K, Piekarska B, Raciborski F, Tomaszewska A, Walkiewicz A, Samel-Kowalik P, Borowicz J, Namys?owski A, Samolinski B. EXTENT OF PROTECTIVE OR ALLERGY-INDUCING EFFECTS IN CATS AND DOGS. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine. 2018;25(2):268–273. DOI: 10.26444/aaem/80596



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