Can Living With a Dog Protect a Child From Developing Asthma?

New research is out that shows a link between being around dogs and reduced cases of asthma. Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Michigan exposed mice to dust from houses with canines, and overall there were less instances of the mice suffering asthma symptoms.

The dust the mice were exposed to came from homes where dogs were permitted both indoors and outdoors. Another group of the small animals served as the test sample and were exposed to dust from homes without dogs. Both groups of mice were presented with insect or protein allergens, which are known to trigger asthma-associated inflammatory responses in the lungs. The animals that were exposed to the "dog-associated dust," showed less cases of asthma symptoms, according to University of California, San Francisco.

While there were a variety of bacterial species in the dust sample, the researchers believe the paticular Lactobacillus johnsonii type is what's reducing the asthma symptoms in mice. When the animals were given this bacteria on its own, airway inflammation was prevented, which is a marker for elevated asthma risk. And in turn, scientists believe these results are a promising indication that infants living with dogs may have a reduced risk of developing asthma, according to Pet MD.

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