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Pets may contribute to lowering the risk of childhood allergies

This was the conclusion made by Canadian researchers from the University of Alberta, in a study published in the journal Microbiome.

In a study involving 746 infants from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development Study (CHILD) birth cohort, the researchers explored the impact of pet exposure, either during pregnancy or within the first three months after birth, on the composition of infant gut microbiota.

They found that pet exposure, mainly dogs and cats, during pregnancy or the postpartum period up to three months after birth, resulted in a twofold increase in the presence of beneficial gut bacteria:

▶ Ruminococcus

▶ Oscillospira

These bacteria have been associated with lower rates of childhood allergies.

The authors suggest that early-life exposure to household pets may contribute to a decreased risk of childhood metabolic and atopic diseases. Further research is necessary to fully elucidate the impact of household pets on the human microbiome.


Tun et al. Exposure to household furry pets influences the gut microbiota of infant at 3-4 months following various birth scenarios. Microbiome. 2017

About the author

Dr. Aline Santana is a Brazilian veterinarian with over 12 years of experience in both research and private dermatology practice. In 2021, she completed her PhD in veterinary dermatology at the University of São Paulo (Brazil), with a sandwich period at the University of Minnesota, where she conducted research on the skin microbiome of cats. Since 2012, she has been an active member of the Brazilian Society of Veterinary Dermatology (SBDV). From 2015 to 2021, Dr. Santana served as the director of social media marketing, contributing to the organization's outreach and communication efforts.




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