Thursday, August 8, 2013
7 News Investigations: Pet Threat
Just like humans, our dogs and cats can get cancer and doctors say the number of pet deaths caused by cancer are increasing. Could pet owners be doing things that are killing the animals they love? 7's Craig Stevens has tonight's special report, Pet Threat.
Natalie Lucia: "I'm looking forward to more time. I try to make every day the best day for her."
A few months ago Natalie discovered a strange lump in Gaisha's chest. The vet would give Natalie devastating news.
Natalie Lucia: "He just looked at me and he said it was cancer. He said he had to do the surgery immediately."
Marcelo Moino also noticed something was wrong with his Golden Retriever Sonny.
Marcelo Moino-Sonny's owner: "On either side of his neck, I noticed there was nodules, swelling."
A biopsy confirmed the worst.
Marcelo Moino-Sonny's owner: "It came back positive as lymphosarcoma. This is not something we were expecting at all. He's not an old dog."
Dr. Stephanie Correa from the Animal Cancer Care Clinic in Fort Lauderdale says an alarming number of pets are being diagnosed with cancer.
Dr. Stephanie Correa-Vet Oncologist, Animal Cancer Care Clinic: "We do seem to be seeing many more cases of cancers in our pets."
While vets say it's difficult to pinpoint one specific cause, they warn pet owners could actually be doing things that make their animals sick.
Dr. Stephanie Correa: "The worst habit that we have is cigarette smoke. It's not just that they are inhaling that secondhand smoke, they are grooming themselves so they are ingesting the cigarette smoke."
Just as harmful spraying pesticides on baseboards or near your pet's water bow, and animals get a double dose of the chemicals we use to keep the house clean or smelling good.
Dr. Stephanie Correa: "Air fresheners that you spray in your house. When we are cleaning our floors we want to think about what we're applying to the floor, and a really safe cleaner is vinegar."
Even painting the house can be dangerous to your pet.
Stephanie Correa: "Paints and solvents have been shown to put dogs at an increased risk of developing lymphoma."
But one of the biggest dangers lurks where we walk our dogs.
Stephanie Correa: "We want to be really careful about applying herbicides and pesticides to our lawn. There are studies that suggest that dogs that live in a household where 24-D is applied to the lawn four times a year, are at an increased chance of developing lymphosarcoma."
Dale Ledbetter is still mourning the loss of his dog Albert to lymphoma.
Dale Ledbetter: "He just had that ability to do things that were unusual. He climbed trees"
Dale has now lost two young dogs to cancer after talking to his neighbors on the golf course where he lived. Sadly he discovered many of the dog owners there have suffered the same loss.
Dale Ledbetter: "Incredibly high percentage of those dogs died at early ages of lymphoma, and there had to be a connection."
Dale suspects the culprit could be all the spraying done to keep the course looking perfect.
Dale Ledbetter: "The dogs that go on the golf course, they lick the grass, eat the grass."
With his dogs gone he can now only warn other owners about the threats to our pets.
Dale Ledbetter: "What we as dogs owners need to do then is to recognize and protect our animals because they don't know how to protect themselves."
Vets say to examine your dog or cat often, and if you feel anything strange take them to the doctor immediately.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Animal Cancer Care Center
1122 NE 4th Ave Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304