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Dog ownership and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death: a nationwide cohort study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular epidemiology. Uppsala University, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Orthopaedics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4421-6466
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular epidemiology. Uppsala University, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab. Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Ruminant Medicine and Veterinary Epidemiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
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2017 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7, no 1, article id 15821Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dogs may be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk in their owners by providing social support and motivation for physical activity. We aimed to investigate the association of dog ownership with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death in a register-based prospective nation-wide cohort (n = 3,432,153) with up to 12 years of follow-up. Self-reported health and lifestyle habits were available for 34,202 participants in the Swedish Twin Register. Time-to-event analyses with time-updated covariates were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). In single- and multiple-person households, dog ownership (13.1%) was associated with lower risk of death, HR 0.67 (95% CI, 0.65-0.69) and 0.89 (0.87-0.91), respectively; and CVD death, HR 0.64 (0.59-0.70), and 0.85 (0.81-0.90), respectively. In single-person households, dog ownership was inversely associated with cardiovascular outcomes (HR composite CVD 0.92, 95% CI, 0.89-0.94). Ownership of hunting breed dogs was associated with lowest risk of CVD. Further analysis in the Twin Register could not replicate the reduced risk of CVD or death but also gave no indication of confounding by disability, comorbidities or lifestyle factors. In conclusion, dog ownership appears to be associated with lower risk of CVD in single-person households and lower mortality in the general population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 7, no 1, article id 15821
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334415DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16118-6ISI: 000415658600066PubMedID: 29150678OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-334415DiVA, id: diva2:1159592
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2013-1673Available from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-23 Last updated: 2018-08-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Dog Ownership and Cardiovascular Disease
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dog Ownership and Cardiovascular Disease
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The relationship between pet ownership and human health has been studied extensively; however, the effect of dog ownership on human health has had conflicting results. The overall aim of this research project was to investigate the impact of dog ownership, and the death of the dog, on human cardiovascular health and all-cause mortality.

Study I was a population-based study investigating the association between dog ownership with the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death. Of 3,432,153 individuals included, dog ownership (13.1%) was associated with a lower risk of CVD- and all-cause death by 23% and 20%, respectively. In single-person households, there was an inverse association between dog ownership and incident CVD, as well as a stronger inverse association with CVD-death and all-cause death.

Study II was a population-based study investigating the association between dog ownership and initiation of treatment for cardiovascular risk factors in 2,026,865 adults. Dog ownership (14.6%) was associated with a slightly elevated risk of initiating treatment (2%) for hypertension and dyslipidaemia, but not for diabetes mellitus. However, some evidence for residual confounding was found.

Study III investigated the risk of death after hospitalization for a first-ever acute myocardial infarction (n=181,696) or first-ever ischemic stroke (n=157,617) in two population-based cohorts. Dog ownership was associated with a 20% to 24% lower risk of all-cause mortality and CVD-death, respectively.

In Study I-III, ownership of hunting breed dogs was associated with the lowest risk of the outcomes, while owning dogs of mixed pedigree was associated with worse cardiovascular health.

Study IV found evidence of an increased risk of CVD after the loss of a life-insured pet (dog or cat; n=147,251) during the first week, 3-6 months after and 6-12 months after pet-loss.

This thesis has used the Swedish population and health registers to investigate the relationship between various aspects of dog ownership and cardiovascular risk. By using defined, quantifiable end-points and robust statistical methods, this project has made an important contribution to the body of research underlying the positive relationship between dog ownership and cardiovascular health, paving the way for further research into causal mechanisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 70
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1490
Keywords
dog ownership, cardiovascular risk, cardiovascular disease, pet ownership
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-357629 (URN)978-91-513-0418-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-09, Humanistiska Teatern, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-09-18 Created: 2018-08-21 Last updated: 2018-09-18

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Mubanga, MwenyaByberg, LiisaNowak, ChristophIngelsson, ErikFall, Tove

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