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Study: 9/11 Dogs Suffered Few Health Effects

Thursday, July 3, 2008 General News J E 4
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SCHAUMBURG, Ill., July 2 A new study in the Journal of theAmerican Veterinary Medical Association reveals that New York PoliceDepartment dogs deployed to the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacksof September 11, 2001, have not experienced any long-term health effects.

The study focuses on 27 dogs that assisted in relief efforts at the site,many of which remained deployed throughout the 37-week cleanup operation.Both short-term and long-term health assessments were conducted.

According to the study, about 63 percent of the dogs had some type ofhealth disorder during the first week, including fatigue, eye irritation,respiratory tract problems, decreased appetite, dehydration and cuts. Whatsurprised the study's authors, however, was that only mild and infrequenthealth conditions were identified during a five-year follow-up period. None ofthe dogs, according to the study, was identified as having chronic respiratorytract disease or any type of blood disorder.

Nineteen of the 27 dogs were still alive and apparently healthy five yearslater. In fact, the five-year mortality rate for the 27 working dogs examinedin the study was similar to the rate for a control group of household pets andlaw enforcement dogs that had not been dispatched to the site.

"The general good health of the dogs studied was an unexpected result,"said Philip Fox, DVM, the study's lead author and director of The CasparyResearch Institute of The Animal Medical Center in New York City. "The dogsappeared to be unaffected in the long term by their exposure to the smoke,dust and toxins they encountered while working at the World Trade Centersite."

The findings are in contrast to some human emergency responders who workedat the site, as various studies have identified increases in the rates ofillness and the severity of various symptoms of respiratory tract disease.

The reason that the dogs appeared to suffer so few long-term healthconditions may be due to differences between human and animal airways anddifferences in lung defense mechanisms.

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in awide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art ofanimal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site athttp://www.avma.org for more information.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association
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