Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine has tackled the question of whether second hand smoke can give heart disease or cancer to your pets - and comes up with a profound maybe.
"Laboratory studies using dogs trained to smoke cigarettes have shown that they develop typical lung pathology similar to those in humans, specifically bronchopneumonia, emphysema, fibrosis of the lungs and tumors of the lungs and bronchi," says Dr. Heather Wilson, A&M oncology specialist in an interview for A&M's Pet Talk column.
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The A&M report quickly goes on to say these teaching-a-dog-to-smoke studies are not condoned by the university.
And although there's no hard evidence that second-hand smoke will cause cancer, Wilson says, vets do know the smoke will bother asthmatic cats. In addition to that, there are certain breeds of cats and dogs that are more susceptible to cancer, and don't need much help to develop tumors. These include: Siamese cats, and in the dog kingdom, golden retrievers, German shepherds, rottweilers, boxers and Bernese mountain dogs (huh).
The column comes to a rousing ending with the news that the smoke alone isn't the culprit.
"Carcinogens are carried on your fingers and around your mouth because of all the oily toxins that are deposited there," Wilson says. "The toxins stay in the furniture and carpets for a long time and are impossible to get rid of. These toxins are often the carcinogens of the cigarettes, so stopping smoking all together is the best way to protect yourself and your pet."