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9/11 dogs avoid health problems

743 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  brumwolf
I saw this article in our local paper this weekend. I haven't seen much of a discussion on the health of the dogs, but alot more on the health of the workers and first responders have been in the news alot these days. Also they did print a picture of a dog/handler working the scene and wouldn't you know it was a doberman. I'll try to find it again and see if I can post the picture.

9/11 dogs avoid health problems

Sunday, September 17, 2006BY JOAN LOWELL SMITH
For the Star-Ledger

The approximately 300 search and rescue dogs who served at the site of the World Trade Center disaster apparently have escaped the health problems that have affected many of the human workers at Ground Zero.
Although one dog died when he plunged from a girder, data compiled by the NYPD Canine Unit and in studies at Animal Medical Center in Manhattan and the University of Pennsylvania show that search and rescue dogs suffered little or no consequences from whatever they inhaled or touched.

"We just knew there would be bad things happening to the dogs, but we were wrong," said Cindy Otto, associate professor of critical care at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, who led a study of the dogs.
The study began with 97 search and rescue dogs that had spent time at the site and 55 control dogs. Otto said these were not first-responder dogs from the NYPD Canine Unit but the dogs that followed.
"We monitored them through veterinary blood work and x-rays by their own veterinarians, and we'd evaluate their findings here," she said.
Although researchers had heard many dire rumors about the health of the dogs, the study found no ill effects.
"We'd hear, 'All the dogs are dying.' It was not true," Otto said. "Dogs have died over the years of old age, but there have been no differences between deployed dogs and the control group."
And the first-responder dogs also fared well, according to Philip Fox, director of research and staff cardiologist at Animal Medical Center, who has been studying 28 of the 34 first-responder dogs.
"I was at the triage center six hours after the collapse of both towers, constantly checking the dogs," said Fox, a former Bergen County resident. "When you were there standing in the choking soot and ash, everyone was struggling to breathe. We figured we'd find crippling health hazards with the dogs as a result.
"It turned out, people who worked the site exhibited a wide range of afflictions, from chronic respiratory ailments to a host of other health concerns," he said. "But there was an absence of problems with the dogs who were there first with the highest exposure. I have not been able to detect any consistent pattern of disease or any unusual occurrences outside of normal aging conditions."
It was nine depressing months for us and our dogs," said Lt. Dan Donadio, former commanding officer of the NYPD Canine Unit.
Now retired after 21 years with NYPD, Donadio serves as a federal court security officer in Newark but has stayed in close touch with his buddies in the Canine Unit.

"I consider all 34 dogs in our unit were mine. Amazingly, none of them suffered any after-effects other than some shortness of breath at the site. We all did. Sure, some have died from natural causes since then, including my own Kong, but he never showed any ill effects (from 9/11).
"We were all depressed, especially at the 'pit,' where we searched for remains. Because dogs are in tune with their surroundings, they react, they whine. A dog is going to be depressed. They know when something is bad. I think they handle adversity well because they go home every night with their handlers. That gives stability."
Kong, his German shepherd, died of natural causes in his 10th year.
Martha O'Rourke, a veterinarian who practices at Small Animal Veterinary in Toms River, treated dogs who worked at Ground Zero.
"We'd work in two-week shifts, 12 hours a day," she said. "We saw little cuts on feet when they'd step on things they couldn't see at night, but they were insignificant and treated with tissue glue.
"I think the plumbers, engineers, firemen and construction workers suffered more health problems than the dogs because they had more long-range exposure."
The American Kennel Club Health Foundation will continue to fund the University of Pennsylvania study until every deployed dog -- 50 remain -- has died, Otto said.
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Very interesting article Kratty,and good to see that these dogs are well looked after.
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