Cancer in dogs giving indications about human health

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Australia (Commonwealth Union) – Man’s best friend has always served as a protector, often warning or protecting us against danger and according to new research, dogs may go a step further in warning us about potential cases of cancer.

University of Queensland (UQ) scientists are seeking support from dog owners for data on protecting pets and human health from atmospheric pollutants. Veterinary pathologist Professor Chiara Palmieri from UQ’s School of Veterinary Science is evaluating possible risks for canine health in the country with specific attention towards chemical exposure, indoor air quality and outdoor air pollution.

She stated that pets can serve as warning factors to human health risks and dogs are regularly the first to be impacted by atmospheric pollutants in homes. Professor Palmieri gave an example of dogs developing mesothelioma following the owner’s home renovations indicating asbestos, or excessive use of some flea repellents which may include asbestos-like fibers. “Chemicals like those found in tobacco smoke or garden products also put dogs at risk of common cancers like lymphoma or cancer of the bladder,” she said.

The veterinary pathologist stated that collecting data on canine exposure to atmospheric hazards is essential to know the origin of spontaneous cancers, further indicating that canine cancer rates are going up, for some of the same factors as humans.

Professor Palmieri’s study team formed a short survey for dog owners and she stated that they are putting together basic information like a dog’s age, sex, breed, weight and the flea/tick control products utilized. “But we’re also noting the location of the house, whether anyone in the house smokes and if the dog is exposed to herbicides and pesticides,” she said, adding that its vital to collect this data to protect dogs as we protect ourselves.

Prior studies conducted by many different researchers have indicated how a variety of different animals can warns on impending danger.

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