Many studies have been conducted investigating a range of environmental factors which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). We collated available data about exposure to domestic animals before symptom onset in MS to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Medline, Embase and Cinahl were searched for relevant articles, based on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria and reference lists were hand-searched. Data were extracted and critical analysis was conducted using the Newcastle-Ottawa criteria. Meta-analysis used random effects.
Study heterogeneity was high and study quality was variable. Random effects meta-analysis showed no associations with any pet ownership and development of MS.
It is not possible to draw definitive conclusions from this work. The studies included had a high level of heterogeneity. There are many variables involved in pet ownership and exposure and the nature of the way these have been studied makes the analysis challenging.

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