Does pet ownership in infancy lead to asthma or allergy at school age? Pooled analysis of individual participant data from 11 European birth cohorts

Lødrup Carlsen, Karin C; Roll, Stephanie; Carlsen, Kai-Håkon; Mowinckel, Petter; Wijga, Alet H; Brunekreef, Bert; Torrent, Maties; Roberts, Graham; Arshad, S Hasan; Kull, Inger; Krämer, Ursula; von Berg, Andrea; Eller, Esben; Høst, Arne; Kuehni, Claudia; Spycher, Ben; Sunyer, Jordi; Chen, Chih-Mei; Reich, Andreas; Asarnoj, Anna; ... (2012). Does pet ownership in infancy lead to asthma or allergy at school age? Pooled analysis of individual participant data from 11 European birth cohorts. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e43214. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0043214

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Objective To examine the associations between pet keeping in early childhood and asthma and allergies in children aged 6–10 years. Design Pooled analysis of individual participant data of 11 prospective European birth cohorts that recruited a total of over 22,000 children in the 1990s. Exposure definition Ownership of only cats, dogs, birds, rodents, or cats/dogs combined during the first 2 years of life. Outcome definition Current asthma (primary outcome), allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic sensitization during 6–10 years of age. Data synthesis Three-step approach: (i) Common definition of outcome and exposure variables across cohorts; (ii) calculation of adjusted effect estimates for each cohort; (iii) pooling of effect estimates by using random effects meta-analysis models. Results We found no association between furry and feathered pet keeping early in life and asthma in school age. For example, the odds ratio for asthma comparing cat ownership with “no pets” (10 studies, 11489 participants) was 1.00 (95% confidence interval 0.78 to 1.28) (I2 = 9%; p = 0.36). The odds ratio for asthma comparing dog ownership with “no pets” (9 studies, 11433 participants) was 0.77 (0.58 to 1.03) (I2 = 0%, p = 0.89). Owning both cat(s) and dog(s) compared to “no pets” resulted in an odds ratio of 1.04 (0.59 to 1.84) (I2 = 33%, p = 0.18). Similarly, for allergic asthma and for allergic rhinitis we did not find associations regarding any type of pet ownership early in life. However, we found some evidence for an association between ownership of furry pets during the first 2 years of life and reduced likelihood of becoming sensitized to aero-allergens. Conclusions Pet ownership in early life did not appear to either increase or reduce the risk of asthma or allergic rhinitis symptoms in children aged 6–10. Advice from health care practitioners to avoid or to specifically acquire pets for primary prevention of asthma or allergic rhinitis in children should not be given.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Kühni, Claudia and Spycher, Ben

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:35

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2014 09:17

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0043214

PubMed ID:

22952649

Web of Science ID:

000308206000024

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.13992

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/13992 (FactScience: 220714)

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