The role of dogs in our society has changed dramatically, one seen as ‘work animals’, today they are truly members of the family. It is for this reason that the surprisingly high rate of canine cancers has dog lovers worried and demanding an answer.
There are an estimated 65 million dogs currently living in the United States, most of which are seen as meaningful members of the family. We love and value the role that our pups play in our lives, and as responsible owners, we will do everything in our power to keep our dogs safe, happy and healthy. Unfortunately, each year approximately 6 million dogs will be newly diagnosed with cancer.
Recently, a team of researchers out of Tufts University conducted a study focussed on determining the potential risks associated with a number of household chemicals, including flea and tick control products and popular lawn-care products. Throughout the study, the team adjusted their efforts in order to compensate for other potential risk factors including weight and age among other factors. They discovered a significant link between the use of lawn-care products, in particular, commercial lawn-care products, and cancers. In fact, dogs that were exposed to ‘professionally applied pesticides’ showed a 70% higher risk of developing canine malignant lymphoma (CML)!
Furthermore, additional research into the connection between canine cancers and lawn-care chemicals has revealed that there is no length of time away from exposure that has been shown to protect our pets or reverse the impact on their overall health and well-being. Exposure includes not only direct exposure to the use of these chemicals in our own yards, but also the ‘drift’ of lawn-care chemicals from neighboring yards.
One of the most common causes of tumors in dogs, CML is often seen in middle age to older dogs. While some cancers are localized in a specific area of the body, CML may develop in any bodily tissues. The cause of cancer development in dogs is still largely unknown, meaning that it can strike anywhere, some breeds are statistically more susceptible than others, including Basset Hounds, Saint Bernards, Boxers, Bulldogs, Scottish Terriers, Bull Mastiffs, and Airedales.
Symptoms of canine lymphoma that you should be aware of include swelling in the lymph nodes, fever, lethargy, dehydration, weakness, anorexia, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect that your dog may be showing any of these signs, it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a veterinary professional.
This study is significant not only to pet owners and lovers across the country, but also to the medical health community as it is believed that a better understanding of cancer among the nation’s dogs may actually provide us with important information that can be applied to the study of human cancers.
With the current debates relating to the potential connection between Monsanto’s Round-Up weed killer and cancer among humans, this information further raises the debate – are lawn-care chemicals safe truly safe for use, or are we putting ourselves at tremendous risk?