Effects of early cat or dog ownership on sensitisation and asthma in a high-risk cohort without disease-related modification of exposure

Catarina Almqvist, Frances Garden, Andrew S Kemp, Qiang Li, Daniel Crisafulli, Euan R Tovey, Wei Xuan, Guy B Marks
Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2010, 24 (2): 171-8
Variation in the observed association between pet ownership and allergic disease may be attributable to selection bias and confounding. The aim of this study was to suggest a method to assess disease-related modification of exposure and second to examine how cat acquisition or dog ownership in early life affects atopy and asthma at 5 years. Information on sociodemographic factors and cat and dog ownership was collected longitudinally in an initially cat-free Australian birth cohort based on children with a family history of asthma. At age 5 years, 516 children were assessed for wheezing, and 488 for sensitisation. Data showed that by age 5 years, 82 children had acquired a cat. Early manifestations of allergic disease did not foreshadow a reduced rate of subsequent acquisition of a cat. Independent risk factors for acquiring a cat were exposure to tobacco smoke at home odds ratio (OR) 1.92 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13, 3.26], maternal education < or =12 years OR 1.95 [1.08, 3.51] and dog ownership OR 2.23 [1.23, 4.05]. Cat or dog exposure in the first 5 years was associated with a decreased risk of any allergen sensitisation, OR 0.50 [0.28, 0.88] but no association with wheeze OR 0.96 [0.57, 1.61]. This risk was not affected by age at which the cat was acquired or whether the pet was kept in- or outdoors. In conclusion, cat or dog ownership reduced the risk of subsequent atopy in this high-risk birth cohort. This cannot be explained by disease-related modification of exposure. Public health recommendations on the effect of cat and dog ownership should be based on birth cohort studies where possible selection bias has been taken into account.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"