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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Respiratory Rarities: Pets' Allergies Linked to Owner's

Published August 8, 2008 11:02 AM by test test
Could Fido and Fifi be allergic to flowers too?

Researchers from Germany's Medical University Lübeck say "Ja."

They studied more than 4,200 people and their pets to determine whether environmental factors in a living space had similar effects on creatures who are not relatives. Dogs, cats, and rodents lived in nearly half of households.

The researchers asked the subjects, age 25 to 74, about doctor-diagnosed atopic diseases such as hay fever, asthma, and atopic dermatitis. These answers were compared to veterinarian-diagnosed allergies in their furry friends.

Roughly 20 percent of humans had some atopic disease, compared with allergies in 3.9 percent of pets. Dogs were diagnosed most frequently, with 4.7 percent having allergies. About 3 percent of cats and 1 percent of rodents had allergies as well.

Even after adjusting for age, sex, parental predisposition, and social status, a significant association existed between the humans' hay fever and their pets' allergies. The association was even more pronounced when humans' hay fever was compared with dogs' allergies only. In fact, researchers showed a significant association between dogs' allergies and all atopic diseases in their owners.

Read more here.

And remember, next time Fido sneezes: you're not the only one in the animal kingdom battling a runny nose.

(Photo by Brigitte Hervé under Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons.)

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