Thursday, November 19, 2009

AVMA Encourages Pet Owners to Quit Smoking... for Their Pets

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is letting smokers know there is another good reason to take part in the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 -- the health of their pets.

"We're all aware of the scientific research that shows that people who smoke are more likely to get certain types of cancer and other diseases, but a lot of people don't know that the same goes for the pets of smokers," said Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer, in a video encouraging pet owners to kick the habit.

Lung cancer and nasal cancer are particularly threatening to dogs while cats that live with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma -- fatal to three out of four cats within a year -- and are more likely to get mouth cancer.

Dr. John Reif, professor at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says that dogs with short noses have double the risk of lung cancer and long-nosed dogs such as collies have two and half times greater risk of nasal cancer from secondhand smoke.

"Smoking is a very dangerous exposure for many human diseases -- cancer, cardiovascular disease and others -- and anything we can do to encourage people to stop smoking would be helpful," Dr. Reif said in a podcast encouraging pet owners to kick the habit.

"I'm hoping that by publicizing this information that more people will get involved in the Great American Smokeout this year, and the love of their pets will inspire them to finally kick the habit," Dr. DeHaven said.

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