A family dog in the house with small children can have some positive benefits. Not only do children learn about responsibility, they have the chance to build up immunity at an early age to allergic reactions and asthma caused by pet dander.
A new study with the use of mice shows that microbes known as the gastrointestinal microbiome can be altered and the negative reactions to allergens can be reduced. Within the gastrointestinal system is also a type of bacteria that protects against allergens and respiratory infections.
Researchers designed their study around mice that were raised around dog dander. These mice were not as affected by the dander as were mice that were never exposed to dog dander.
The gut microbiome of the non-allergic mice contained a good bacterial species known as Lactobacillus johnsonii. This discovery led to the concept that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants could be reduced if Lactobacillus johnsonii is present in the gastrointestinal system. RSV can cause severe risk of asthma in infants.
When dogs live outdoors and also come indoors, infants are exposed to a variety of microbiome. When this variety of microbiome can be controlled with the good bacteria Lactobacillus johnsonii or other good bacteria species early in life, a therapeutic effect can be created in the gastrointestinal system for the purpose of reducing the risks of developing allergies and asthma later in life.