New study finds link between pet ownership and reduced food allergies


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – If you’re not a pet person you may want to reconsider. A recent study found that there is a link between owning pets and reduced food allergies in children.

The study found that infant development could be affected by animals depending on the species a family may have in their house. For example, cat exposure might reduce the risks of egg, wheat, and soybean allergies. The researchers who conducted the survey are unclear on how this works exactly but one hypothesis is that the presence of certain animals affects the infant’s gut microbiota directly or indirectly through changes to the home’s microbiome.

“One of the things that we know is that the gut microbiome which has tons of bacteria inside of us really influences our immune system. Whether its eczema or food allergies or pet allergies we know that things that change that, especially at an early age affect those types of allergies and conditions,” said Abigail Finley, an allergist at Rapid City Medical Center.

Finley wanted to emphasize that this study is not a good reason alone to introduce a pet to your house, but it is an added benefit to having a pet.

The researchers who conducted this survey and Dr. Finley say that more studies would need to be conducted to definitively say if this result is conclusive.

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