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Myth Watch

June 08, 2008|David Colker

The myth: My Chihuahua cured my asthma!

The spam: For at least four years, a spam e-mail going around the Internet has claimed that pet Chihuahuas can take on the symptoms of asthma sufferers in the same house. One of the latest versions of the message, as collected by the myth-busting snopes.com site, claims that it can make the human attacks less severe.

Where it started: Although this is one of the more off-the-wall examples of miracle cures, snopes.com said it had a long history. A mention of the human-to-dog asthma treatment was found in a 1956 folklore journal, and tales of disease transfers to dogs go back to at least the 19th century. With the advent of the Internet, the story spread further. Some contemporary parents have bought Chihuahuas in hope of bringing relief to asthmatic children.

The reality: There's no scientific evidence that a Chihuahua can ease human asthma. Snopes.com speculated that the rumor may be perpetuated by the fact that some Chihuahuas make noisy breathing and coughing sounds.

Info: www.snopes.com/critters/wild/asthma.asp

-- David Colker

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