You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Pet ownership is associated with increased risk of non-atopic asthma and reduced risk of atopy in childhood: findings from a UK birth cohort / About

Pet ownership is associated with increased risk of non-atopic asthma and reduced risk of atopy in childhood: findings from a UK birth cohort

By S. M. Collin, R. Granell, C. Westgarth, J. Murray, E. Paul, J. A. Sterne, A. John Henderson

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Background

Studies have shown an inverse association of pet ownership with allergy but inconclusive findings for asthma.

Objective

To investigate whether pet ownership during pregnancy and childhood was associated with asthma and atopy at the age of 7 in a UK population-based birth cohort.

Methods

Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were used to investigate associations of pet ownership at six time points from pregnancy to the age of 7 with asthma, atopy (grass, house dust mite, and cat skin prick test) and atopic vs. non-atopic asthma at the age of 7 using logistic regression models adjusted for child's sex, maternal history of asthma/atopy, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and family adversity.

Results

A total of 3768 children had complete data on pet ownership, asthma, and atopy. Compared with non-ownership, continuous ownership of any pet (before and after the age of 3) was associated with 52% lower odds of atopic asthma [odds ratio (OR) 0.48, 95% CI 0.34-0.68]. Pet ownership tended to be associated with increased risk of non-atopic asthma, particularly rabbits (OR 1.61, 1.04-2.51) and rodents (OR 1.86, 1.15-3.01), comparing continuous vs. non-ownership. Pet ownership was consistently associated with lower odds of sensitization to grass, house dust mite, and cat allergens, but rodent ownership was associated with higher odds of sensitization to rodent allergen. Differential effects of pet ownership on atopic vs. non-atopic asthma were evident for all pet types.

Conclusions and clinical relevance

Pet ownership during pregnancy and childhood in this birth cohort was consistently associated with a reduced risk of aeroallergen sensitization and atopic asthma at the age of 7, but tended to be associated (particularly for rabbits and rodents) with an increased risk of non-atopic asthma. The opposing effects on atopy vs. non-atopic asthma might be considered by parents when they are deciding whether to acquire a pet.

Date 2015
Publication Title Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Volume 45
Issue 1
Pages 200-10
ISBN/ISSN 1365-2222 (Electronic)0954-7894 (Linking)
DOI 10.1111/cea.12380
URL http://europepmc.org/article/MED/25077415
Language English
Author Address School of Social & Community Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Tags
  1. Allergy
  2. Asthma
  3. Atopy
  4. Birth
  5. open access
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. Pet ownership
  8. Pets and companion animals
Badges
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed