New Study to Investigate Impact of Pets on Recovery of the Gut Microbiome Following Antibiotic Regimen in Older Adults | HABRI

New Study to Investigate Impact of Pets on Recovery of the Gut Microbiome Following Antibiotic Regimen in Older Adults

Human Animal Bond Research Institute Awards Research Grant to University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine

Washington, D.C. (November 29, 2021) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a new research grant, titled “Sharing is caring: can pets protect their owners against antibiotic-associated disruption of the gut microbiome?”, to the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) to investigate whether pets are a source of microbiota that can help restore deficiencies in their owner’s gut microbiome.

“A growing number of studies have documented the ability of animal contact to impact the human microbiome (collection of microbes in the intestines) in ways that may help prevent certain types of disease, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma,” said Dr. Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Penn Vet, the project’s Principal Investigator. “In conducting this study, our goal is to shed light on the microbial exchanges that occur between pets and pet owners and assess whether pets can mitigate disruption of their owner’s gut microbiome following antibiotic therapy.”

This groundbreaking project will follow pet owners over 60 years old who are taking antibiotics for dental implant placement. Antibiotics disrupt the native gut microbiome, which can result in a range of outcomes, from mild diarrhea to severe “C. diff” infection (infection with Clostridioides difficile), and the elderly are particularly at risk for some of these adverse outcomes. Recovery from this type of disruption is not well understood, and factors that promote this recovery are only beginning to be explored. Researchers hypothesize that the gut microbiomes of pet owners and their pets will resemble each other prior to the course of antibiotics, diverge during the disruption phase, then steadily converge during the recovery phase. In demonstrating that animal contact can yield beneficial effects on the restoration of the human gut microbiome, results of this study may reduce concerns about and even promote contact with household pets for older adults. Thus, in addition to other documented mental and physical health benefits, pets may also offer “probiotic” effects to their owners.

“HABRI is proud to fund research that will contribute to our understanding of the physiological health benefits of the human-animal bond,” said Steven Feldman, President, HABRI. “We know that pets and people are good for each other, and it’s exciting that we can still discover new evidence underlying this powerful, mutually-beneficial relationship.”

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling nearly 35,300 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles nearly 5,300 patient visits a year, while the Field Service treats more than 38,000 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry

About HABRI

HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org.

###

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
New Survey Shows Cat Owners with Cat Allergen Sensitivities Go to Extraordinary Lengths to Manage Cat Allergens

For the as many as 1 in 5 adults globally who are affected by cat allergen sensitivities, the daily effort to manage cat allergens and coexist with the cats they love can be a struggle. From excessive cleaning around the house to spending less time with the cat, there are no easy choices. Despite these daily struggles, cat owners are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their cats, going as far as ignoring doctor’s orders. If told by their doctor to give up their cat to help manage cat allergens, 84 percent of cat owners would dismiss the advice. Twenty percent even said they would keep the cat and get a new doctor, showing the need for better management methods. These statistics are from a new survey[1] of 2,000 U.S. cat owners from Purina Pro Plan, a leader in pet nutrition, in partnership with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), which sought to understand the impact of cat allergens on cat-owning households. The survey confirmed that the bond that owners share with their cats is strong – a universal truth for all cat owners regardless of cat allergen sensitivities. Ninety percent of cat owners feel their cats are members of the family, and three in four owners say their relationship with their cat is important to and a core part of their health and well-being. But it’s not always easy for those with cat allergen sensitivities; 37 percent say they’ve had to change their lifestyle to accommodate their cat, significantly higher than those without sensitivities (22 percent). In an effort to help, Purina Pro Plan has introduced Pro Plan LiveClear, the first and only cat food that reduces the allergens in cat hair and dander. Backed by more than a decade of research, Pro Plan LiveClear is shown to safely and effectively reduce allergens in cat hair and dander in as little as three weeks of daily feeding. The key ingredient is a specific protein sourced from eggs. When cats eat LiveClear, the protein binds to the major cat allergen, Fel d 1, and...

Press Releases
Treat Planet Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Treat Planet, makers of natural, eco-friendly pet products, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “As makers of the best darn treats on the planet, Treat Planet provides man’s best friend with the best quality nutrition to keep them healthy and happy,” said Doug Martin, President of Treat Planet. “HABRI’s research shows that by maintaining a pet’s health, pet owners can improve their own health and well-being. Through supporting HABRI, Treat Planet is now advancing the human-animal bond through scientific research and quality nutrition, and we couldn’t be more proud.” “Recent HABRI research found that when educated about the health benefits of the human-animal bond, pet owners are more likely to provide their pets with higher quality nutrition, including treats,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Not only is Treat Planet furthering its own mission through joining other leading companies and organizations from the pet care community that support HABRI, but it’s also contributing to a broader purpose of ensuring that more people can improve their health and quality of life through pet ownership.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of the human-animal bond impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. From providing pets with higher quality nutrition to more frequent visits to the...

Press Releases
Embrace Pet Insurance Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Embrace Pet Insurance, one of the highest-rated U.S. pet insurance companies, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “When pet owners become part of the Embrace family, we strive to strengthen the human-animal bond, especially when pet parents need it most,” said Ambrish Jaiswal, CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance. “By supporting HABRI, Embrace Pet Insurance is proudly helping to advance human-animal bond research that demonstrates the positive role that healthy pets play in our lives.” “We know from research that pets are considered part of the family, and that pet owners want what’s best for their four-legged family members,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Embrace helps to provide and sustain healthy pets, so that, as family, they are protected against unexpected accidents and illnesses.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of the human-animal bond impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. From providing pets with higher quality nutrition to purchasing pet health insurance, spreading awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership improves pet health and welfare. “Embrace believes in giving back to the pet care community, and supporting HABRI research is perfectly aligned with our company values. We look forward to playing a supportive role for HABRI and helping discover more ways in...

HABRI