New research conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham does suggest that environmental contaminants that are found in one’s home and diet have the same adverse effects on male fertility in both human beings as well as domestic dogs.
Degrade fertility in both men and dogs
There has indeed been increasing concern over declining human male fertility in recent decades with studies that show a 50% global reduction in sperm quality in the past 80 years. In fact judging by an earlier Nottingham study conducted by experts one came to know that sperm quality in domestic dogs does show a sharply decline, raising the question of whether modern day chemicals in one’s home environment could be at least partly to blame.
The Nottingham team conducted tests regarding the effects of two specific human-made chemicals namely the common plasticizer DEHP, widely abundant in one’s home (e.g. carpets, flooring, upholstery, clothes, wires, toys) as well as the persistent industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyl 153, which although banned globally does remain widely detectable in the environment including food.
The researchers did carry out identical experiments in both species thus making use of samples of sperm from donor men and stud dogs that happen to be living in the same region of the UK. The results do show that the chemicals, at concentrations that are relevant to environmental exposure, do have the same damaging effect on sperm from both man as well as dog.
It has also been observed that the domestic dog is indeed a ‘sentinel’ or mirror for human male reproductive decline and one’s findings suggest that human-made chemicals that have been widely made use of in the home and working environment can be responsible for the fall in sperm quality reported in both man as well as dog that share the same environment.
Earlier studies in dogs did show that the chemical pollutants that are found in the sperm of adult dogs, and in some pet foods, had a detrimental effect on sperm function at the concentrations that have been previously found in the male reproductive tract.
It is understood that human sperm motility is poor, DNA fragmentation is increased and that human male infertility doctors in Hyderabad is indeed linked to increased levels of DNA damage in sperm. Now one accepts that this is the same in pet dogs as they live in the same domestic environment and are rather exposed to the same household contaminants. This does imply that dogs may indeed be an effective model for future research into the effects of pollutants on declining fertility, particularly on account of external influences such as diet are more easily controlled than in humans.
Since environmental pollutants are largely reflect in the Western way of life such as the effects of industry, the chemicals present in the environment are rather likely to depend on the location. An important area of future study is of course to determine how the region in which one lives may impact sperm quality in both man as well as dog.