Pet Vet: Smoking around your pet

By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
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Everyone has heard the Surgeon General’s warning about cigarette smoking and its effects in people, but what about the effect on our pets?

Our Pet Vet, Dr. David Visser explains some of the risks associated with smoking around our pets.

Second-hand smoke exposure in pets can cause oral cancer and lymphoma in cats. It also leads to lung and nasal cancer in dogs as well as lung cancer in birds.

One study at Colorado State University showed that the increased incidence of nasal cancers was specifically found among the long nosed breed of dogs, whereas shorter or medium nosed dogs showed higher rates for lung cancer.

Nicotine poisoning is also a real concern. It can happen anytime pets eat tobacco or products containing nicotine.

Eating a pack of cigarettes or whole cigars may not seem logical, but dogs taste first and suffer consequences later. It can also be an exploring dog’s nose that leads him to eat cigarette butts or chewing tobacco. Nicotine gum or patches can attract dogs and cats equally due to flavor additives.

A single cigarette contains between nine and 30 milligrams of nicotine, and the butt of a used cigarette still has about 25% of the original amount of nicotine that the entire cigarette had before burning. Just as an example, a 40 pound dog can get sick from eating just one cigarette, but it may take 10 cigarettes to be fatal. Cigars have higher nicotine so it wouldn't take as many to show signs.

Mild exposures may not show very many signs, but toxic amounts of nicotine ingestion cause tremors, drooling, excitement, vomiting and diarrhea. High amounts can also lead to seizures.

Your veterinarian should be contacted right away if you have seen your pet eating these products, or showing these signs.

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