AKC Canine Health Foundation Grant to Study the Health of Urban Dogs in Homes of Children with Asthma


The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent, treat and cure diseases in all dogs, has awarded an innovative research grant which aims to better understand the occurrence of skin and respiratory diseases in inner-city dogs living in the homes of children with asthma.

Dr. Meghan F. Davis, DVM, MPH, PhD of Johns Hopkins University has been awarded the $158,367 grant for the project entitled “The City Dog Study: Dermatologic and Respiratory Disease among Inner-City Dogs Living in the Homes of Children with Asthma.”

Dr. Davis and her team will enroll 100 dogs, collect samples and follow their health during home visits over time. From these data, the investigators will study the bacterial communities on the dogs’ skin, evaluate how these change with time, and whether the changes are associated with skin or respiratory diseases in the dogs. Additionally, the team will look at how the children and the dogs share bacteria (microbiome) and whether there are human health benefits to owning a dog if a child already has asthma. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding the human component of the study, and CHF is funding the dog study – a unique and much-needed approach to understanding disease in the real world we share.

According to Dr. Diane Brown, CHF chief executive officer, “CHF is very excited to fund this groundbreaking study, applying a practical approach to our One Health commitment to benefit the health of both dogs and their people. Importantly, these dogs will be studied in their natural home environments amongst their family members.”

This study will improve understanding of disease in urban-dwelling dogs, an often underserved population. Additionally, it will deepen our understanding of how canine and human health intersect; linking the important role each species has for unlocking aspects of both common and complex health concerns.



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