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Scientists Reveal One More Reason Pets Are Awesome — They May Help Prevent Asthma in Kids

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Pet allergens may have an upside.

Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years of age, according to new research.

The findings may provide clues for the design of strategies to prevent asthma from developing. 

Previous studies have established that reducing allergen exposure in the home helps control established asthma. But the new research, supported by the National Institutes of Health, suggest that exposure to certain allergens early in life, before asthma develops, may have a preventive effect. 

“We are learning more and more about how the early-life environment can influence the development of certain health conditions,” said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. “If we can develop strategies to prevent asthma before it develops, we will help alleviate the burden this disease places on millions of people, as well as on their families and communities.”

The study investigates risk factors for asthma among children living in urban areas, where the disease is more prevalent and severe. Since 2005, it has enrolled 560 newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York City and St. Louis at high risk for developing asthma because at least one parent has asthma or allergies.

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Among 442 children for whom researchers had enough data to assess asthma status at age 7 years, 130 children (29 percent) had asthma. Higher concentrations of cockroach, mouse and cat allergens present in dust samples collected from the children’s homes during the first three years of life (at age 3 months, 2 years and 3 years) were linked to a lower risk of asthma by age 7 years.

There was a similar association for dog allergen, but it was not statistically significant. That means it could be due to chance.

Additional analysis indicated that exposure to higher levels of these four allergens at age 3 months was associated with a lower risk of developing asthma.

“Our observations imply that exposure to a broad variety of indoor allergens, bacteria and bacterial products early in life may reduce the risk of developing asthma,” said Dr. James E. Gern, the principal investigator of URECA and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Additional research may help us identify specific targets for asthma prevention strategies.”

The study was published Sept. 19 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Read more at NIH

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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Spotify Rolls Out Music Playlists for Pets

Pets seem to favor classical music and soft rock.

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Digital music service Spotify had a hunch that people were playing tunes for their pets.

A study by the company found that 71% of pet owners did exactly that. The survey included 5,000 music-streaming pet owners from the U.S., the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The company explains:

That being said, we created a unique experience to help you craft the pawfect algorithmically generated playlist for you and your pet to enjoy together. Head to spotify.com/pets for a playlist you can share with your dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

See the graphic below for more details from the survey.

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These States Have the Most Dog and Cat Owners … And These States Have the Least

The US is home to almost as many domestic pets as humans.

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A new report looks at which U.S. states are the most pet-loving.

Seniorliving.org, a website devoted to providing information to seniors, delved into recent data from the American Veterinary Medical Association to create its rankings.

Idaho had the highest rate of households owning at least one dog, at 58.3%, according to the report, which excluded Alaska and Hawaii, which were not measured in the AVMA study. Dogs are least common in Washington, DC, where 22.5% of households have at least one.

Vermont ranked first for percentage of households with at least one cat, at 44.6%. DC, meanwhile, is the least cat-owning place, with just 16.4% of households being home to a cat.

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The U.S. is home to almost as many domestic pets as human beings. Almost 1 in 3 of those pets are fish, Seniorliving.org explains.

Cats and dogs combine for about 54.8% of all domestic pets.

 

 

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