Pets Harmed by Secondhand Smoke

From the WebMD Archives

July 11, 2014 -- Secondhand smoke poses a serious threat to pets' health.

It can cause malignant lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and respiratory problems and allergies in both species, according to studies conducted at Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts and other schools, the Associated Press reported.

The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report warned that secondhand smoke puts animals at risk, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals urges pet owners to have smoke-free homes.

There are no statistics on how many pets die each year due to secondhand smoke, but veterinarians do know that secondhand smoke causes inflammation, allergic reactions, and nasal and pulmonary cancers in pets, Dr. Kerri Marshall, chief veterinary officer for Trupanion pet insurance, told the AP.

Even electronic cigarettes pose a threat to dogs, who will grab e-cigarette nicotine cartridges from the trash.

"You wouldn't think dogs would eat such things, but they do," Liz Rozanski, a Tufts researcher who specializes in respiratory function in small animals, told the AP.

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