Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
In Reply: Both Dr Whelan and Dr van der Wouden
and Mr Bernsen raise questions about our assessment of dog and cat exposure.
When the child was 1 year old we asked parents about the number and type of
pets they kept in their home for more than 2 weeks during the previous year.
We did not ask additional questions such as whether the pet was present the
entire year or prior to the child's birth, the weight of the dog or cat, or
whether pets were allowed in all rooms of the home. We feel that our classification
of dog and cat exposure into 3 categories is a reasonable approximation of
Ownby DR, Johnson CC, Peterson EL. Exposure to Pets in Childhood and Risk of Atopic DisordersExposure to Pets in Childhood and Risk of Atopic Disorders. JAMA. 2003;289(7):841-843. doi:10.1001/jama.289.7.841-a