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Pet Watch.

The health dangers associated with smoking and passive smoking are all too well-known nowadays. But as well as affecting human health, the effects of passive smoking can also have a knock-on effect on the health of our pets too.

Research carried out by vets in the United States (published in the American Journal of Epidemiology) has found links between passive smoking and cancer in cats. Dr Antony Moore* studied 180 cats and discovered that, adjusting for age and other factors, cats exposed to second-hand smoke were twice as likely to develop feline lymphoma, a cancer of the blood and immune system which kills three out of four cats within a year of diagnosis. If both owners smoke, cats were four times more likely to be affected by the cancer.

But it's not just cigarette smoke that pet owners should be aware of, perfumes along with many household products such as furniture polish or air fresheners may also cause health problems in our pets.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: "As it was National No Smoking Day this week, it seems timely to advise people about the affects smoking can have on their pet's health. Pet owners should be aware that dogs, cats, and in particular small furries, can all become ill as a result of passive smoking.

"In addition to cigarette smoke, pet owners should take extra care when using household products and should ensure pets are kept well out of the way of lingering fumes and product residues. "

Some of the pet health problems associated with passive smoking and fumes from household products include:

NIn small furry pets, alopecia (hair loss) can have many causes, but cigarette smoke or allergic reactions to perfumes, polishes or bedding can all be factors.

NCancer - there is a higher proportion of cats with feline lymphoma in smoking households.

NRespiratory problems. One of the commonest respiratory allergies in cats is that to cigarette smoke which can cause sneezing, coughing, wheezing and runny eyes. Short nosed dogs are also very susceptible to respiratory problems as a result of smoke and fumes.

NNasal and sinus problems

To decrease these health risks, people should not smoke near pets, and owners should ensure rooms are kept well ventilated. It is better still to give up smoking!

Elaine Pendlebury adds: "Hopefully this advice will urge people to quit smoking, not only for the sake of their own well-being but for their pet's health as well."

NFor anyone wanting to quit smoking, free local help is available from the NHS. Contact details can be obtained from your local stop smoking service by calling 0800 169 0 169 or visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk for further information.

Founded in 1917, PDSA is Britain's leading veterinary charity, providing free veterinary care to the sick and injured pets of those unable to afford private veterinary fees, through a network of 46 PetAid hospitals and some 287 associated private practices (known as PetAid practices).

PDSA PetAid hospitals provide more than one million free treatments each year, equivalent to more than 4,500 sick and injured pets being treated by PDSA vets and nurses every working day.

This year, PDSA PetAid services will cost around pounds 33m. They are funded entirely by public support, mainly through donations and gifts in wills.

To be eligible for free PDSA treatment, a pet owner must live within the designated postcode area of a PetAid hospital or PetAid practice and be in receipt of either Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.

NMore information on PDSA PetAid services is available by calling freephone 0800 731 2502.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2004
Words:597
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