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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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IN researchers hope canine cancer study could help humans

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Wednesday, January 10, 2024   

Pets are often considered beloved family members, and like any loved one, their health is a priority.

Research from Purdue University has found a link between a dog's exposure to cigarette smoke and lawn-care products and higher rates of cancer. The team observed the environment and activity of 120 Scottish terriers and found the dogs were six times more likely to develop urinary bladder cancer than other breeds.

Dr. Deborah Knapp, professor of comparative oncology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University, said there are steps dog owners can take to reduce the risk of their pets becoming ill.

"Avoiding cigarette smoke, avoiding lawn chemicals, and being aware so that if the dog develops symptoms -- if it's a middle-aged to older age -- like blood in the urine or urinary accidents," Knapp outlined. "It would be a really good idea to have their veterinarian check the dog out."

Knapp noted they found Scotties, Shelties, Westies and Beagles are also prone to developing cancer if exposed to smoke and harmful chemicals, like those in lawn fertilizer. Treatment for cancer in dogs is daily oral medication.

An important part of the Purdue research was monitoring the dogs' diet. A 2005 study, also from Purdue supported the benefits of feeding dogs vegetables. Knapp pointed out if the terriers ate carrots or green beans at least three times a week, their bladder-cancer risk appears to have been reduced by 70%.

Knapp also cautioned pet owners taking such advice to do so with caution and not overfeed their pets.

"Pet owners shouldn't take a dog that's not used to eating vegetables and give it way too many, because then they'll get an upset stomach; vomiting, diarrhea and not feel good," Knapp advised. "Then you think about the portion size for vegetables, think about body weight."

She added she is optimistic further research could help determine risk factors for who gets cancer and the best methods for detection, treatment and prevention for dogs and potentially, humans.

Disclosure: Purdue University contributes to our fund for reporting on the Environment, Environmental Justice, Health Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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