Secondhand Smoke Is Killing Your Pet [Study]

Secondhand smoke could be killing your pet, according to a new study from Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts, Colorado State University and other schools and reported by CBS Sacramento.

The reports indicate that this deadly smoke can cause lung and nasal cancer in dogs, malignant lymphoma in cats and allergy and respiratory problems in both.

According to Dr. Kerri Marshall, the chief veterinary officer for Trupanion pet insurance, the number of pets that die each year from tobacco exposure isn’t available, “but vets know from lab tests and office visits that inhaling smoke causes allergic reactions, inflammation and nasal and pulmonary cancers in pets.”

To hammer home the point, CBS shared the story of pet owner Shirley Worthington, who “rushed Tigger to the vet when the dog’s mouth started bleeding. When she was told he had cancer, she knew to blame her heavy smoking, an addiction she couldn’t kick until after her pet died.”

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The site added: “Despite Worthington’s certainty about the cause of her dog’s death, more research needs to be done before veterinarians can definitively say whether a dog’s cancer was caused by secondhand smoke or something else, said Dr. Liz Rozanski, whose research at Tufts College focuses on respiratory function in small animals.”

Still, while pets weren’t mentioned in this year’s surgeon general’s report, they were said to be “at risk” when around secondhand smoke as recently as 2006. Also, The Legacy Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit public health charity, has encouraged smokers to quit “for the sake of their pets,” noted CBS, “and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals urged making homes with pets smoke-free.”

From the CBS report:

“It’s even more important to safeguard cats, which are more susceptible to tobacco smoke than dogs. Lymphoma is one of the leading causes of feline death. The Tufts research showed that repeated exposure to smoke doubled a cat’s chances of getting the cancer and living with a smoker for more than five years increased the risk fourfold. It can also cause a fatal mouth cancer.”

In other pet-related studies, it was found that pets could be harming their humans if they share the same bed.

That study cited one case of a 69-year-old man, whose dog slept under the covers with him and licked his hip replacement wound, coming down with meningitis. Another incident involved a 9-year-old boy who got plague, a potentially deadly bacterial infection, from sleeping with his flea-infested cat.

As for the secondhand smoke study, do you think smoking harms your pet and shortens its lifespan?

[Images via arcanatura.com]