Note from Doggy Mom: I’ve met parents who think that their asthmatic child shouldn’t keep a pet because of the risks of the pet bringing dander and other environmental allergens into the home. However, this piece of research refutes that belief. If asthmatic children are managed appropriately with medication, the dog (or cat) can probably stay!
And don’t forget that other research shows that children born into homes with pets have a lower risk of developing the disease (just type ‘asthma’ in the search box to bring up these citations).
A study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital analyzed environmental exposures, like pet and secondhand smoke, to determine if they have a role in asthma control among children whose asthma is managed per NAEPP (EPR-3) guidelines. Researchers found that once asthma guidelines are followed, environmental exposures to pets or secondhand smoke were not significant factors in overall asthma improvement over time.
Children with the diagnosis of uncontrolled asthma and were followed at a pediatric asthma center were provided asthma care as per NAEPP guidelines. At each visit (3-6 months), families completed asthma questionnaires including acute care needs, symptom control and asthma control test (ACT). Asthma control in patients was evaluated at each visit. Results were compared between patients with or without exposure to secondhand smoking and between patients with or without exposure to pets (cats or dogs) at home at baseline and over time.
Three hundred and ninety-five children, ages 2 to 17 years, were included in this study; 25 percent were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, and 55 percent were exposed to a cat or dog at home. Clinical outcomes included over time in this cohort, and this improvement was independent of pet exposure. These findings suggest that asthma treatment is more important than certain types of environmental exposures.
Journal citation here.