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

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $75,120
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: General Canine Health
Donate to Support this Research Program Area


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.


Hare, E., Kelsey, K. M., Niedermeyer, G. M., & Otto, C. M. (2020). Long-Term Behavioral Resilience in Search-and-Rescue Dogs Responding to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 105173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2020.105173

Otto, C. M., Hare, E., Buchweitz, J. P., Kelsey, K. M., & Fitzgerald, S. D. (2020). Fifteen-year surveillance of pathological findings associated with death or euthanasia in search-and-rescue dogs deployed to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack sites. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 257(7), 734–743. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.257.7.734

Help Future Generations of Dogs

Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.

Learn How to Help

Get Canine Health News:
Please leave this field empty
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc

8051 Arco Corporate Dr.
Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27617

Tax ID# 13-3813813

   2020 GuideStar logo

© 2021 AKC Canine Health Foundation | Privacy Policy | Site Map

Site by Blackbaud, Inc.