Puppies Don't Cause Allergies

Allergies are not associated with early childhood exposure to pets

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Puppies and their owners the world over can heave a sigh of relief. Pet ownership is good for the soul and may even help prevent allergy development. 

As reported by healthnews.com, lead study author Ganesa Wegienka, Ph.D., of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit reports that having a dog or cat in your house will not increase the likelihood of your children developing allergies to these animals. It possibly even decreases the risk. 

"Puppies and kitties don't cause allergies."

Wegienka clarifies her statement by informing the public she isn't promoting that everyone should run and and get a dog to prevent allergies. More research is needed, but she encourages other to go down that road of research. 

Wegienka also poses new study's possible missives: How does having a pet change the home environment and how does having a pet affect the risk of developing allergies? 

Another interesting finding was also uncovered in this study. Both boys and girls delivered by C-section were 67 percent less likely to develop allergies to pets. Wegienka surmises this may be due to their lack of exposure to the microflora found in the birth canal.

Researchers analyzed blood samples of more than 500 children taken from 1987 to 1989. The analysis looked for the presence of an antibody known as animal-specific IgE.

The presence of this type of IgE indicates a propensity to have allergies to animals. Then, a follow-up recently took place among children from the study at the age 18 by taking additional blood samples and reviewing questionnaires regarding pet ownership in their lifetime.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 13, 2011
Last Updated:
June 14, 2011