Prior research about whether keeping a dog or cat in the home causes allergies to that pet has been limited to outcomes in early childhood.
Evaluate the association between lifetime dog and cat exposure and allergic sensitization to the specific animal at age 18 years.
Participants enrolled in the Detroit Childhood Allergy Study birth cohort in 1987–1989 were contacted at age 18 years. Sensitization to dog or cat was defined as animal-specific IgE ≥0.35 kU/L. Annual interview data from childhood and follow-up interviews at age 18 years were used to determine lifetime indoor dog and cat exposure (indoor defined as the animal spent >50% of their time in the home). Exposure was considered in various ways: first year, age groups and cumulative lifetime. Analyses were conducted separately for dogs and cats.
Among males, those with an indoor dog in the first year of life had half the risk (RR=0.50, 95% confidence Interval=CI 0.27, 0.92) of being sensitized to dogs at age 18 compared to those who did not have an indoor dog in the first year. This was also true for males and females born via c-section (RR=0.33, 95%CI 0.07, 0.97). Overall, teens with an indoor cat in the first year of life had decreased risk (RR=0.52, 95% CI 0.31, 0.90) of being sensitized to cats. Neither cumulative exposure nor exposure at any other particular age was associated with either outcome.
Conclusions and clinical relevance
The first year of life is the critical period during childhood when indoor exposure to dogs or cats influences sensitization to these animals.
Christopher C Charles
|Publication Title||Clinical And Experimental Allergy|
|Publisher||John Wiley & Sons Ltd|