AVMA Reports Increased Cancer Rates in Pets Living With Smokers

 |  Nov 27th 2009  |   1 Contribution


Several years ago I evaluated a cat who suffered from asthma. The cat had been treated with prednisolone (a potent steroid), and she was exhibiting side effects. Despite using such a strong medicine, she was still suffering from episodes of coughing and difficulty breathing.

The cat and the owner reeked of stale cigarette smoke.

Cats' lungs are exquisitely sensitive. Second hand smoke can exacerbate feline asthma. I recommended that the owner go outside to smoke.

The owner's response surprised me. She stated that she did not smoke.

This was a blatant lie. My nose told me that she was a smoker. And so did my eyes--there was a cigarette butt inside the cat's carrier.

Everyone knows that smoking and second hand smoke are unhealthful. A recent article in the NAVC Clinician's Brief cites an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) press release that emphasizes the obvious. Cats and dogs who live with smokers are at increased risk of cancer.

Lung cancer and nasal cancer are particularly threatening to dogs while cats that live with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphomafatal to three out of four cats within a yearand are more likely to get mouth cancer.

Predictably and paternalistically the article concludes that pet owners should quit smoking.

I see things differently. If you smoke and if you accept the risks involved that is your business. But if you have a pet, I recommend that you go outside to smoke.

It will be good for your pet. You'll also smell better.

Photo: Since you're already using Photoshop, why not add a smoke plume?

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