Can dog dander cause lung problems?

Not only can pet dander cause itchy eyes and a runny nose, but pet dander can potentially be harmful to your respiratory system. According to the American Lung Association this can “lead to a decline in the ability of the lungs to function.” Make sure that you and your loved ones are safe; let’s start at the basics.

to comprehend the factors that may affect the respiratory health of people with cystic fibrosis (CF), including the effects of pets, as environmental factors account for half of the variation in a patient’s lung function.

A total of 703 CF patients were enrolled in the study via the U S. CF Twin-Sibling Study. In homes with a CF child, questionnaires were used to determine whether or not there were cats and dogs. Questionnaires, chart review, and U. S. Infection and respiratory outcomes were monitored using information from the CF Foundation Patient Registry.

47% of the sample’s subjects claimed to have a dog, and 28% claimed to have a cat. Dog ownership was not linked to any negative clinical outcomes after adjusting for demographic factors, whereas cat ownership was linked to a higher risk of developing nasal polyps (adjusted OR 1 66; p=0. 024) compared with non-cat owners. When compared to other subjects, subjects who owned both cats and dogs reported wheezing twice as frequently (adjusted OR: 2). 01; p=0. 009). Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the common CF respiratory pathogens, did not differ in prevalence or age of acquisition between cat/dog owners and non-owners.

Owning a cat increased the likelihood of getting nasal polyps, and owning both a cat and a dog increased the likelihood of wheezing. Prospective studies are required to verify these relationships as well as the potential psychosocial advantages of owning a cat or dog.

Recurrent respiratory infections with a corresponding decline in lung function are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Understanding environmental triggers that may have an impact on respiratory health in CF is crucial given that familial studies suggest that environmental factors account for half of the variation in CF lung function(1, 2). Environmental allergies, secondhand smoke, health insurance, household income, air pollution, ambient temperature, and other factors have all been shown to affect lung function in people with CF. (11) Another environmental factor that may affect CF lung function is the presence of pets in a home with a CF child.

Other obstructive lung diseases like asthma have been associated with worse respiratory outcomes when exposed to environmental allergens like pet dander. (12, 13) It is still unknown how exposure to pets affects CF patients’ respiratory morbidities. A small sample of CF patients and their pets (n=20) revealed that they shared the same bacteria and fungi, raising the potential risk that pets could act as a source of respiratory pathogens. (14) Case studies detail the interspecies transmission of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from a CF patient to a pet cat, as well as the transmission of Bordetella bronchiseptica from a kitten to a CF patient, as well as the transmission of dogs to CF lung transplant recipients. (17) However, it’s not clear whether these incidents are an ongoing trend. Other reports and studies, including one CF patient, point to cats and dogs as potential sources of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. (22).

We investigated the association between owning a dog or cat and prevalent CF morbidities using information from the CF Twin and Sibling Study. We specifically predicted that having a cat or dog would increase your risk of having lower lung function (FEV1), nasal polyps, environmental allergies, sinus disease, wheezing, and/or allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Whether owning a cat or dog was related to P presence and/or earlier acquisition was the focus of secondary analyses. aeruginosa or MRSA.

All participants (n=703) in the CF Twin-Sibling Study were chosen from CF centers between October 27, 2000 and March 31, 2013, based on having both CF and a twin or sibling with CF. Clinical data were supplemented with data obtained from the U. S. CF Foundation Patient Registry. The Johns Hopkins University Institutional Review Board approved the study after receiving the written consent of all participants (Protocol #: NA_00035659).

Age was determined for each subject based on the date the questionnaire was submitted. Subjects with any reported non-white ancestry were classified as non-white for the purposes of regression analyses, where race/ethnicity was self-defined. 638 subjects had genotypes that had one or more “pancreatic sufficient” mutations or two “insufficient” mutations, and 61 subjects had genotype data that was ambiguous or unavailable. For 4 subjects, pancreatic status could not be determined.

Upon enrollment, subjects completed baseline questionnaires that asked about the presence and type of household pets. Any mention of cats or dogs living in the home between the time of the CF diagnosis and the time the questionnaire was filled out was considered to be the presence of cats or dogs. Only cat and/or dog ownership was included in the analysis; other types of animals were not considered. For analysis, the group of non-dog owners did include people who had cats but not dogs, and vice versa, the group of non-cat owners did include people who might have had dogs.

A 3-year mean of the pulmonary function test results that were available for a subject after the completion date of the questionnaire was used to calculate CF-specific lung function measures. The mean (SD) of the 536 subjects with data on pulmonary function was 12. 5 ± 8. 6 tests conducted during this time interval. We employed CF-specific measures of FEV1 to account for the deterioration in lung function seen in people with CF over time. This measure enables direct comparison of people with CF who may be of different ages. Kulich et al. provided the CF-specific FEV1 reference equations, which included over 287,000 FEV1 observations collected between 1994 and 2001 from more than 21,000 patients with CF in the CF Foundation Data Registry. Additionally, FEV1 percent predicted was calculated to determine baseline lung function (mean FEV1 percent predicted in the year prior to the assessment of cat/dog exposure) and the rate of lung function decline in the five years following the assessment of cat/dog exposure (23). For the purpose of calculating the decline in lung function, subjects had to undergo a minimum of 4 pulmonary function tests over a period of two years. Wheezing, sinusitis, nasal polyps, environmental allergies, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) were determined from data forms filled out by research staff while simultaneously reviewing patient charts. These conditions were defined as occurring between the time of CF diagnosis and the time of data form completion. Subjects’ wheezing was also evaluated via questionnaires, and any mention of wheezing on either questionnaire was taken to be a history of wheezing. Sinus disease was defined as at least one episode lasting more than three months or more than three episodes lasting at least ten days each per year. Infection with specific organisms, P. A positive culture for aeruginosa or MRSA was considered to have occurred at any time (n with culture data = 643). The first positive culture for an organism with documentation of at least one negative prior culture was used to determine the age of acquisition (n=623 with data for P aeruginosa and n=632 for MRSA).

Using t-tests for continuous variables and Pearson chi-square tests for categorical variables, differences in baseline traits and clinical outcomes were compared. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) methodology was used to estimate the magnitude of the impact of dogs and cats on the outcomes, with an independent correlation structure clustered by family to take into account potential family correlation. These clustered regressions also included adjustments for baseline traits like age, race/ethnicity, and pancreatic function that were different in people with dogs or cats compared to people without either. Using log rank tests and the age of acquisition of particular organisms, Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed. Only when ownership of either a cat or a dog remained associated with an outcome after adjusting for demographic factors was testing for interactions with combined cat-dog ownership conducted. P values of less than 0. 05 were considered statistically significant. All analyses were performed using Stata IC 11. 0 (StataCorp LP, College Station, TX).

Of the 703 participants in the study, 26% claimed to own only a dog, 7% claimed to own only a cat, 21% claimed to own both, and 45% claimed to own neither () The average age difference between subjects who reported owning dogs and those who did not was 3 years (p 0). 001) ( ; available at www. jpeds. com). Subjects who reported owning cats were approximately 2. Average age was 5 years higher among cat owners compared to non-owners (p 0 001; available at www. jpeds. com). White people were more likely to be subjects who owned dogs or cats (dogs: p=0). 008; cats: p=0. 015). Dog owners were more likely to be CFTR F508del homozygotes among subjects (48). 2% vs. 40. 0%; p=0. 028) and were more likely to have insufficient pancreatic function (p=0 012). By cat ownership, there were no discernible differences in F508del genotype or pancreatic sufficiency.

In terms of FEV1, self-reported wheezing, environmental allergies, sinus disease, or ABPA, we did not find any differences according to dog ownership () Although the percentage of dog owners with nasal polyps (34. 3%) was higher than non-dog owners (25. 7%; p=0. Using multivariate logistic regression clustered by family, this difference was not statistically significant after controlling for demographic differences between dog owners and non-dog owners (age, race/ethnicity, insurance status, the presence of non-dog pets, CFTR genotype, and exocrine pancreatic status; coefficient p=0). 67). The risk of wheezing was elevated in households with cats (70). 7% vs. 56. 5%; p=0. 002) and an increased risk in developing nasal polyps (38. 6% vs. 26. 3%; p=0. 004) ( ), but not with other outcomes. Then, we conducted logistic regressions that were adjusted for demographic variables, specifically age, race/ethnicity, and the presence of non-cat pets, that varied between those who reported cat ownership and those who did not. We found that cat owners were 1. Nasal polyps are 66 times more likely to exist (adjusted OR: 1) 66; 95%C. I. for adjusted OR: 1. 07-2. 57; p=0. 024) and that cat owners were 1. 84 times more likely to wheeze (adjusted OR: 1. 84; 95%C. I. for adjusted OR: 1. 15-2. 94; p=0. 011). By cat ownership, we did not observe any differences in FEV1, self-reported environmental allergies, sinus disease, or ABPA ()

We tested whether combined cat-dog ownership would result in worse outcomes because of the associations between cat ownership and nasal polyps and wheezing. To do this, we included an interaction term for cat-dog ownership in clustered logistic regressions that were adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, CFTR genotype, and exocrine pancreatic status. When it came to nasal polyps, the interaction term was not significant, but when it came to wheezing, the variables for cat and dog ownership were not significant (p=0). 009; n=547). According to this finding, combined cat-and-dog owners are twice as likely as other subjects to report wheezing (adjusted OR: 2). 01; 95%CI: 1. 19, 3. 40).

Swelling, itchiness in the membranes lining the nose and eyes, red, watery eyes, and respiratory issues are all signs of allergies. Once dander has entered the lungs, allergens and antibodies combine to cause severe coughing or wheezing. Rashes on the face, neck, and upper chest are common in people who are highly sensitive.

10% of Americans have allergies to the dander that domestic animals shed. There are a few ways to lessen the impact of dander, despite the fact that it can have unfavorable effects on a pet owner’s health. Dead skin that frequently falls off of cats, dogs, and other warm-blooded furry or feathered animals is referred to as pet dander. Allergies to pets are primarily caused by the minute proteins in dander and saliva.

Whether an animal is present in the house or not, they are naturally introduced at microscopic levels and circulated until they are inhaled.

Air filters may be the most successful of all of these strategies for preventing the spread of dander. You can significantly reduce dander levels over time by improving the air quality. For those who don’t have pets, air filters are even more helpful because they quickly and painlessly purify the air in any given location.

Any allergy symptoms you may already experience from being around dogs are sure to get worse when your home is dusty or has poor air quality.


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  • How can we Reduce the Risk for Allergic Reactions?

    Even though we enjoy playing with our pets, those of us who have allergies need to adapt to the situation. The first step is to keep them outside as much as you can, but if you prefer to have your pet inside, at the very least keep them out of the bedrooms of people who have pet allergies.

    Clean hands save lives. One of the best ways to get rid of germs, avoid getting sick, and stop the spread of diseases is to wash your hands frequently, especially before and after specific activities. If you have allergies and pet a dog or a cat, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterward.


    Can pet dander damage your lungs?

    Airborne particles get into the lungs and can cause breathing issues just like any particulate matter, which is how pet dander affects respiratory health. Your lungs’ interior debris can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In the worst case, it might result in an asthma attack.

    Can dog allergies cause lung inflammation?

    Long-term or repeated exposure to the allergen may be the root of the ongoing (chronic) asthmatic airway inflammation.

    How do you get rid of dog dander in the air?

    Use a HEPA filter on your home’s air handling unit. Pet dander’s minute particles are more easily captured by HEPA filters. To circulate the air and get rid of too much pet dander, you might also try using an air purifier or filter with a HEPA filter for a few hours each day.

    Can dog dander affect COPD?

    Pet dander, which is small pieces of skin that are expelled by dogs, cats, rodents, birds, and other animals with feathers or fur, can exacerbate COPD. These skin flecks have the potential to trigger allergies or other respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD.