Second-Hand Smoke Is Bad For Your Pets, Too

You know the dangers of smoking, chewing tobacco and dipping snuff.

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Clean, smoke-free air improves your cat's chances of living longer, living cancer-free.

Did you know that tobacco is dangerous for your pet, too?

The damage that second-hand smoke does to both pets and people is well-documented. Cats subjected to second-hand cigarette smoke are more than twice as likely to develop a cancer of the white blood cells, lymphoma, than similar cats who live in smoke-free environments. Once thought to be exclusively caused by Feline Leukemia Virus, we now know that a significant percentage of these cats have cancer that could have been easily prevented by avoiding cigarette smoke.

When exposure increases to a pack or more of cigarettes per day, the risk of feline lymphoma rises to three times the risk of smoke-free cats.

Further, it is known that children may become exposed to particulate tobacco smoke contaminants by mouthing objects on which the particles have settled. Likewise, cats grooming themselves may ingest these particles, in addition to the ones they inhale.

There is strong evidence in people that cigarette smoke, primary or secondary, is associated with both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In addition, feline oral cancers (squamous cell carcinoma) are seen at a higher rate in smoking households, along with increased incidence of lung and nasal cancers in dogs and birds. Interestingly, oligocephalic dogs, those with long noses such as Collies, are more likely to develop nasal tumors than brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs such as Boston Terriers. A longer nose equates to more filtering surface area, thus carcinogens are more likely to lodge in the noses of Collies. Brachycephalic breeds in a smoky environment have a greater incidence of lung cancer because particulate matter flows all the way to the lung parenchyma.

For help in quitting smoking, click here to access the American Cancer Society.

See you next week, Dr. Randolph.

credit:  some information obtained from:  Oklahoma State University (2007, August 31). Secondhand Smoke Is A Health Threat To Pets. ScienceDaily.

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