Dog characteristics and allergen levels in the home.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 Sep;105(3):228-33. Nicholas C, Wegienka G, Havstad S, Zoratti E, Ownby D, Johnson CC. Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.

BACKGROUND: Comprehensive analyses on the effect of household dogs on dog allergen levels in the home are lacking.

OBJECTIVE: To identify environmental factors and dog-specific characteristics that influence the accumulation of Canis familiaris 1 (Can f 1) in homes.

METHODS: Dust samples were collected from the floor of infants' bedrooms at a Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy, & Asthma Longitudinal Study birth cohort study home visit and processed for Can f 1 using a standardized protocol. Dog characteristics were based on maternal report. Homes with 1 dog were included in detailed analyses, including characterization of the dog based on coat type, dander level, and shedding.

RESULTS: Households with dogs had higher levels of dog allergen in the home than those without dogs; however, the number of dogs in the home was not related to dog allergen levels. Homes with exclusively outdoor dogs had significantly higher dog allergen levels than homes without any dogs but significantly lower levels of dog allergen than homes with indoor dogs. Homes where the dog was allowed in the infant's bedroom had significantly higher Can f 1 levels on the child's bedroom floor than homes where it was not. The homes of altered dogs had higher Can f 1 levels than did their unaltered counterparts.

CONCLUSIONS: Dogs in the home corresponded to dog allergen in the home. Time the dog was indoors and whether it was allowed on the vacuumed surface mattered. No dog characteristic, other than altered status, was associated with allergen levels in the home.

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