If asthma is being treated, no need to get rid of pets

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asthma, dog, pet, smoke

Study shows if asthma managed well, pets or even second hand smoke don’t make it worse

If an asthma patient in the family has led you to consider getting rid of your pet, this is for you.

Latest research shows that pets may not be the trigger for an asthma attack if all guidelines are followed. Their presence makes no difference to treatment outcomes.

A study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital analyzed environmental exposures, like pet and secondhand smoke, to determine if they have a role in asthma control among children. They chose subjects whose asthma is managed as per NAEPP (EPR-3) guidelines.

A therapy dog with asthma patientResearchers found that once asthma guidelines are followed, environmental exposures to pets or secondhand smoke were not significant factors in overall asthma improvement over time.

Children with the diagnosis of uncontrolled asthma were followed at a pediatric asthma center. The center provided asthma care as per NAEPP guidelines. At each visit (3-6 months), families completed asthma questionnaires including acute care needs, symptom control and asthma control test (ACT).

Asthma control in patients was evaluated at each visit. Results were compared between patients with or without exposure to secondhand smoking and between patients with or without exposure to pets (cats or dogs) at home at baseline and over time. 

Once asthma guidelines are followed, environmental exposures to pets or secondhand smoke were not significant factors in overall asthma improvement

Three hundred and ninety-five children, ages 2 to 17 years, were included in this study; 25 percent were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, and 55 percent were exposed to a cat or dog at home. Clinical outcomes included over time in this cohort, and this improvement was independent of pet exposure.

These findings suggest that asthma treatment is more important than certain types of environmental exposures.

Further results from these two studies will be shared at CHEST Annual Meeting 2018 in San Antonio on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

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