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Health Hazard to the Pets whose Owners Smoke

Update Date: Dec 31, 2015 09:26 AM EST

University of Glasgow scientists have found a link between pets who live in a smoking environment and their chances of developing diseases such as cancer, weight gain and cell damage. Cats are particularly susceptible and are at a higher risk from secondhand smoke. The dogs that have been neutered are also likely to gain a lot of weight than those who live in some smoke-free surroundings. Claire Knottenbelt, professor of small-animal medicine and oncology at the university's Small Animal Hospital, said: "Our findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets. It risks ongoing cell damage, increasing weight-gain after castration, and has previously been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers. We have already shown that dogs can take in significant amounts of smoke when living in a smoking household. Our current study in cats (funded by BSAVA Petsavers) shows that cats are even more affected. This may be due to the extensive self-grooming that cats do, as this would increase the amount of smoke taken into the body. As an incidental finding, we also observed that dogs living with a smoker-owner gained more weight after neutering than those in a non-smoking household," reports Irish Examiner.

Researchers also analyzed the male dog testicles after they underwent castration and found a gene that marks cell damage to be higher in dogs that lived in smoking homes than the ones who didn't. Victoria Smith, MRCVS, who is studying the connection between passive smoking and lymphoma, a cancer of the blood cells in cats, said: "Our work, so far, has shown that cats take in significant amounts of smoke, and even having outdoor access makes very little difference. Owners who consistently smoked away from the cat did not protect their cat from exposure, but did reduce the amount of smoke that was taken into the body," as reported by Irish Examiner

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