Smoking May Harm Pets' Health
There's a new incentive to get people to quit smoking. It looks like it also does damage to the health of pets, according to a study at the University of Glasgow in the U.K.
Researchers analyzed nicotine levels in pets' fur and looked at whether that could be associated with any health problems. They also assessed the testicles of dogs following castration in order to identify any signs of cell damage.
Compared with pets living in non-smoking households, the researchers found that those living in smoking households were at greater risk of cell damage, some cancers and weight gain.
Cats are most at risk because they ingest more smoke than dogs -- regardless of whether or not they have access to outdoors. The team speculates that this may be due to their self-grooming, causing them to ingest more tobacco toxins.
When analyzing the testicles of castrated dogs from smoking households, the researchers identified a gene that represents a sign of cell damage related to some cancers. They also found that dogs that lived in smoking households gained more weight after being neutered than dogs from non-smoking households.
The team suggests that pets may even be at greater risk of health problems from smoke exposure than children in smoking households, noting that because pets are lower in height, they are more likely to ingest third-hand smoke -- that is, tobacco chemicals present in carpets and other surfaces.
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