For those who keep pets at home..here are some benefits

25 May, 2022
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For those who keep pets at home..here are some benefits

University of Toronto researchers have found that young children who grow up with a family dog ​​have healthier guts and are less likely to develop Crohn's disease -- the common inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr Williams Turpin, lead author of the study, said: "Our study appears to add to research that has explored the hygiene hypothesis that a lack of exposure to microbes early in life may lead to a downregulation of the immune system toward environmental microbes."

Crohn's disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract.

Inflammation most commonly occurs in the last section of the small or large intestine, but it can affect any part of the digestive system. 

The researchers set out to understand whether growing up with a pet dog affects children's risk of developing the condition. They studied data from nearly 4,300 first-degree relatives with Crohn's disease.

They assessed several factors, including family size, presence of dogs or cats as household pets, number of bathrooms in the home, living on a farm, drinking unpasteurized milk, and drinking well water.

Their analysis revealed that exposure to dogs - especially those aged 5 to 15 years - was linked to a healthy gut and a balance between the gut microbiome and the body's immune system.

These factors may help protect against Crohn's disease, according to the researchers.

"We haven't seen the same results with cats, although we are still trying to determine the cause," Dr. Turpin said. This may be because dog owners go out a lot with their pets or live in areas with more green space, which has previously been shown to protect against Crohn's disease.

While the researchers hope the findings will help clinicians identify patients at risk for Crohn's disease, they caution that more research is needed to verify the findings.


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