02241: The City Dog Study: Dermatologic and Respiratory Disease among Inner-City Dogs Living in the Homes of Children with Asthma

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $158,367
Meghan F. Davis, DVM, MPH, PhD; Johns Hopkins University
February 1, 2016 - January 31, 2020

Sponsor(s): American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc., Health and Rescue Foundation of PBGV Club of America

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Dermatology and Allergic Disease
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Children who live in inner-city households of low economic means suffer disproportionately from skin and lung diseases, including asthma. This study will evaluate the burden of skin and respiratory disease among the dogs who live with them. These dogs often can be hard to study because their owners may not have the means or access to take them to the veterinarian. As an adjunct to a funded public health research effort targeting 200 children with asthma, Dr. Davis and her team will enroll 100 dogs and follow their health at three home visits over six months, and perform two additional evaluations. First, they will study the microbial (bacterial) communities on the dogs to determine how these change over time, and if the changes are associated with skin or respiratory diseases in the dogs. Then, the investigators will look at how the children and dogs share bacteria (i.e. microbiome). Early life exposures to dogs may protect children against the development of asthma; next steps are to investigate if dogs also have a beneficial impact when the children are older and have existing disease. This study will provide knowledge needed to help understand disease in underserved dogs in urban neighborhoods, providing data to support keeping dogs and keeping them healthy to benefit both dogs and their owners.


Exum NG, Olórtegui MP, Yori PP, et al. (2016). Floors and Toilets: Association of Floors and Sanitation Practices with Fecal Contamination in Peruvian Amazon Peri-Urban Households. Environ Sci Technol. 50 (14):7373-7381. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01283.

Tsou, P.-Y., McCormack, M. C., Matsui, E. C., Peng, R. D., Diette, G. B., Hansel, N. N., & Davis, M. F. (2019). The Effect of Dog Allergen Exposure on Asthma Morbidity among Inner-city Children with Asthma. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 0(ja). https://doi.org/10.1111/pai.13144

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