Pets: Study links use of lawn care products with a deadly type of cancer in dogs
flickr photo by John Loo
In my daily dog adventures, I'm mindful about the safety of my charges — and traffic and ensuring that each dog wears a secure harness aren't the only things on my mind.
I do worry about my canine client's exposure to pesticides and herbicides, too.
Those all-to-familiar white flags sticking out of the grass warning anyone who may come into contact with the treated property to use caution are helpful to signal me to change course if I can.
The disconcerting odor the minute that we round a corner usually gives which yards have been treated.
But, seeing the garb that the individual applying the chemicals (boots, and sometimes gloves and masks) and those little white flags is telling: Those are nothing to mess with.
You're probably thinking, "What's the fuss? After the application is dry, it says safe to tread on."
Not so fast, indicates a recent article in the Whole Dog Journal.
The piece talks about a study included in the January 2012 issue Environmental Research. The study concluded that exposure to professionally applied lawn pesticides seems to be connected with an increased risk of canine malignant lymphoma (CML) in dogs.
CML has been established as a model for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
The study was conducted between January 2000 and December 2006 at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and included a 10-page questionnaire that was mailed to dog owners who were having their pets treated at the Foster Hospital.
The information that was obtained came from the owners of 266 dogs with confirmed cases of CML and 478 dogs that did not have the disease (the control groups).
Aspects including including breed, weight, medical history, and the types of chemicals used in the home were documented. The characteristics of the CML cases did not vary much from those without it, with the exception of the weight of the pet — the dogs with CML tended to be 50 pounds or more.
Two factors stared researchers in the face: The dogs with CML were more likely to live in homes that reported professionally applied pesticides and herbicides, as well living in homes where owners applied lawn-care products containing insect growth regulators.
Breed did have some bearing on whether a dog was predisposed to being more sensitive to developing CML.
Read the study by clicking here.
There has also been an association between increased cases of CME of dogs living in industrial areas.
Previously, I've written about how researchers are finding that by studying canine genetics, they can learn a lot more about humans health.
In that regard, could studies like the one conducted at Tufts University tell us about how humans might be affected?