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Pets as a Novel Microbiome-Based Therapy

  • Mariana C. Salas GarciaEmail author
  • Ashley R. Schorr
  • Wyatt Arnold
  • Na Fei
  • Jack A. Gilbert
Chapter

Abstract

While genomics can be used to determine genetic susceptibility to certain illnesses, genetic-based approaches alone are rarely capable of predicting the onset of a disease. Environmental factors, such as microbial exposure, often play a significant role in determining human susceptibility to illness, which impacts the genetic predictability of a disease in many cases. While humans are exposed to microbes in almost every facet of their daily lives, one vector has become of particular interest as of late: pets. In addition to the mental and physical benefits conferred by pets unto their owners, it is thought that human exposure to animal-associated microbes can play a significant role in bolstering human health. In response to this, a new treatment that leverages exposure to pet-associated microbes is being proposed for diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, rhinitis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and even depression. Emergent treatments like these, which have grown out of the human microbiome study, have begun to open up new frontiers in the field of personalized medicine. Microbial therapies such as probiotics, fecal microbiome transplants, and personalized diets are already having a substantial impact on patient care and are heralding in a new vision of precision medicine. Microbiome-based therapeutics involving microbial exposure in homes have been increasingly investigated for their potential to prevent and treat chronic diseases. This chapter explores the evidence that symbioses between humans and their cohabiting pets shape the interaction between microbes, host, and the environment and how that interaction affects human health and disease.

Keywords

Pet Microbiome Human disease Allergies Therapy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana C. Salas Garcia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ashley R. Schorr
    • 2
  • Wyatt Arnold
    • 1
  • Na Fei
    • 1
  • Jack A. Gilbert
    • 1
  1. 1.Microbiome Center, Department of SurgeryUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Science DepartmentJudson UniversityElginUSA

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