The dangers associated with exposure to second-hand smoke are well-documented in the scientific literature. While many people would never smoke around their kids, some will still smoke in the homes that they share with their pets. Indoor cats are at especially high risk for developing lymphoma of the intestinal tract caused by exposure to second-hand smoke. What’s the connection? Read on…
Back in 2002, an important article was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology summarizing results of a study that found cats who live with smokers are twice as likely to acquire malignant lymphoma as cats in non-smoking households. Lymphoma is the most common cancer in cats. The prognosis for cats diagnosed with lymphoma is not generally good.
What’s the reason cats exposed to smoking in the home are at such a high risk for lymphoma? An indoor cat is exposed to all of the environmental contaminants associated with second-hand smoke in the home. Besides inhaling it, cats are put at higher risk for lymphoma of the digestive system because they ingest harmful particulate matter by licking it off of their fur while grooming.
Cats exposed to smoking are at double the risk for developing lymphoma than cats with no exposure. A cat exposed for 5 years or longer is at triple the risk. If a cat lives with two or more smokers who smoke in the house, the risk for lymphoma jumps to four times as high as cats in non-smoking households.
The bottom line for smokers who are also pet owners is simple…please don’t smoke around your pets, it could save their lives.
For more on the groundbreaking study, click HERE.