Health Studies of 9/11 Rescue Dogs Offer Encouraging Results

In the aftermath of the catastrophe that occurred on September 11, 2001 a large number of search-and-rescue dogs were deployed at the World Trade Center...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  May 3rd 2008


In the aftermath of the catastrophe that occurred on September 11, 2001 a large number of search-and-rescue dogs were deployed at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Sadly, many people who performed rescue work at Ground Zero developed health problems, most likely due to exposure to dust at the site. Animal lovers must naturally wonder whether the canine counterparts to these people are suffering similar problems.

The March 15, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association contained a news item about an ongoing study of 9/11 rescue dogs. Here is an excerpt.

For six years, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Dr. Cynthia Otto, have been monitoring the health and behavior of 97 search-and-rescue dogs deployed Sept. 11. No clinically obvious differences have been observed between the dogs and a control group of 55 nondeployed dogs.

That is good news. However, the study isn’t over yet. The researchers intend to continue the study for the duration of the dogs’ lives. Let’s hope that the next batch of results offers similar encouragement.