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Commentary on: Bergroth E, Remes S, Pekkanen J, et al. Respiratory tract illnesses during the first year of life: effect of dog and cat contacts. Pediatrics 2012;130:211–20.
Implications for practice and research
Early dog contacts are associated with fewer respiratory infections in infants, especially otitis, but not wheezing after adjustment for possible confounders.
Early animal contacts are important, possibly leading to changes in immune development and a better resistance to infectious respiratory diseases in infants.
Future research is needed to explore the mechanism of the favourable effect of dog exposure and whether similar results occur over a longer period.
Several groups have studied the associations between animal contacts early in life and asthma and allergic diseases in childhood.1 Reports on the association between pet exposure and respiratory infection are sparse. Results have been …