Pets and Immunomodulation

  • Luis Taborda-BarataEmail author


The immune system is fundamental for survival. Its development and functions are modulated by various genetic and environmental factors. Pets are an important environmental factor, and pet ownership may have relevant immunomodulatory effects. Pets may induce immune modulation via changes induced in gut, cutaneous and respiratory microbiome in pet owners. Such immunomodulation-associated changes may have positive health outcomes. In fact, these may include a contribution towards reducing the risk of developing allergic diseases, if exposure to pets begins in early infancy. In addition, pet ownership may also have other beneficial health effects, namely, reduced psychological stress and depression, which, in turn, may be associated with positive immunomodulatory effects. Finally, pets may also stimulate their owners to have higher levels of regular physical activity and exercise, activities that also have potentially positive effects upon various functions of their owners’ immune system.


Pets Pet owners Immune system Immune modulation Microbiome Allergies Stress Depression Physical activity 



I would like to thank Professor Maria Vaz Patto, MD, PhD, for her kind patience and helpful assistance.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Allergy & Clinical ImmunologyCova da Beira University Hospital CentreCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.NuESA – Health & Environment Study Group, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal

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