390: Extended Medical Surveillance of Dogs Deployed to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $75,120
Dr. Cynthia M. Otto, DVM PhD, University of Pennsylvania
January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2008
Sponsor(s): AKC CAR, German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Golden Retriever Foundation
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Prevention

Abstract

We have been monitoring the health and behavior of the search and rescue dogs deployed on 9/11/01 to the World Trade Center and Pentagon disasters since shortly after those events took place. During the first year of surveillance, significant changes were identified in the blood work of the deployed dogs versus the control dogs. These changes proved temporary however, and in year two of the study, blood work values mostly returned to normal. These initial changes suggest that deployed dogs were exposed to more hazardous substances during deployment and ultimately these substances are likely to cause long-term health changes. Additionally, ten deployed dogs and two control dogs have died since surveillance began. This rate of mortality, while not completely unexpected in this size population, is important considering the major cause of death in deployed dogs was cancer. Another four deployed dogs have been diagnosed and are currently living with cancer. It is essential that we evaluate these dogs throughout their lifespan to determine whether the 9/11 deployment is a factor in the rate and onset of cancer in these dogs.

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