02235-A: Medical Surveillance of Dogs Deployed to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/01

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $11,340
Cynthia M. Otto, DVM, PhD; University of Pennsylvania
December 1, 2015 - December 31, 2018

Sponsor(s): American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: General Canine Health
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As the investigators wrap up the 14th year of the 9/11 Medical Surveillance Study, they continue to follow 2 surviving deployed dogs and 1 surviving control dog, each of them now 16 years of age. The initial study group consisted of 95 deployed and 55 non-deployed Search and Rescue dogs. Findings to date indicate that overall these dogs have demonstrated good longevity and quality of life. This final phase of the study will monitor the remaining dogs, placing emphasis on health issues occurring in later years of life and necropsy evaluations at time of death. This vital information will allow for a comprehensive understanding of the impact of the deployment and a life spent working Search and Rescue on long-term canine health. The rate of cancer in deceased deployed dogs to date is not different than in deceased control dogs. Of note, within the deployed dogs, the median age at death was significantly lower for dogs with cancer than the non-cancer group; however, this was not the case with the control group. As the final three dogs approach the end of their natural lives, the investigators will further define any effects of the 9/11 deployment in the full cohort of study dogs. As they analyze the data, a full picture of causes of death and types and incidences of cancer, and long-term impacts of the 9/11 deployment may become clear. The ability to see this study through to completion and publish the long term findings will provide critical information to canine health that may affect future tactics employed in Search and Rescue missions. The AKC Canine Health Foundation is proud to have funded Dr. Otto through all the years of this important work on behalf of Search and Rescue dogs from its inception in 2001.


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

Surveillance of Search Dogs | Breeding Better Dogs. (2019). Retrieved November 4, 2019, from https://breedingbetterdogs.com/article/surveillance-search-dogs

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