This May Come As a Surprise to You, But Smoking is Bad For Pets

Years ago I had a client who’s cute little young wiener dog developed these crazy lung lesions that were determined to be cancer.  The owner was a truck driver and using my keen powers of deduction (the guy had green teeth,  a noticeable smoky scent, and he couldn’t make it through an office visit without a trip outside) I determined he was a smoker.  The dog was his best friend in the whole wide world.

I asked him if he smoked in the cab of his truck.  “Of course”, he exclaimed incredulously.  The client was Russian and very blunt.  “With the dog?” I asked.  “Of course”.  “Well, you might consider not doing that in light of your dogs respiratory condition”, says me.  (In my mind I picture this big guy getting all misty-eyed and giving up smoking forever for his precious friend. Thus, I would not only save the dog’s life, but the clients too).

After my sage proclamation, the clients eyes opened in astonishment.  “Well, he have to run behind cab!” my Russian client proclaimed.

Not the response I was expecting.

Since my patients don’t actually smoke, I’m not particularly cognizant of their exposure to its effects. I should. Particularly in respiratory cases and certain types of cancer.

Sometimes it’s obvious the clients smoke, the odor, the husky voice, the yellow tinge to the pets fur.

So, in case anyone is wondering, pets are just as susceptible to the effects of second-hand smoke as humans.  I imagine people smoke around their kids, without any regard to the effect on them so this news about pets may not help.  However, maybe it will.

I did a quick VIN search and found multiple articles denoting the effects of passive smoke on pets:  malignant lung tumors, nasal cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma (remember dogs and particularly cats groom themselves, thereby receiving oral exposure to the smokey carcinogens deposited on their fur), excretion of smoke toxins in pet urine, in exacerbation of chronic cough (due to bronchitis, tracheal collapse, feline asthma), etc.

Bottom line, there is enough carcinogenic crap in the environment that our pets (and kids for that matter) can’t avoid.  Why on Earth would you willingly expose them to additional ones!

On an unrelated note, our hearts go out to the folks on the East Coast affected by Hurricaine Sandy.  East Rockaway Animal Hosptial in Long Island links to this blog.  You guys are in our thoughts.


One thought on “This May Come As a Surprise to You, But Smoking is Bad For Pets

  1. I have to admit that every time I see or hear something about smoking being the evil to end all evils, I think about losing my mom. She passed away from ARDS (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome) because they never could figure out what was wrong. She was tested for everything, including Legionnaire’s Disease. They tried every antibiotic they could find to no avail.

    At one point the doctor exclaimed, “Well (he said with satisfaction in his voice), she’s a smoker, isn’t she!” The entire family replied that she wasn’t. The doctor tried again with, “Well, she lives with a smoker, doesn’t she!” Again, the answer was “no”. Not to be deterred, the doctor asked, “She used to be a smoker.” Nope. “She used to live with a smoker.” Nope. Heck, she never even hung out in smoky bowling alleys or bars.

    My mother had about 2 puffs on a cigarette back in about 1944. She didn’t like it so that was the end of that.

    The doctor tried everything he knew to blame her problems on cigarettes and then had the NERVE to look disappointed when he couldn’t.

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