None other than Professor Noel Fitzpatrick of Supervet fame has issued a warning about the dangers of second-hand smoke to pets.
Professor Fitzpatrick is concerned that pet owners are not getting the message when it comes to the effect their habit may be having on their animals. The Professor is best known for giving pets bionic limbs but he has also established an oncology centre where he offers advanced cancer treatments for pets.
Dogs can get cancer in their noses and cats in their intestines because of their owners’ smoking habits.
One Health Lecture
The professor issued his warning in a lecture he was delivering at the Hay Festival of Arts and Literature. He explored the idea of “one health” – an approach to medicine which links human and animal health. Fitzpatrick believes that cancers in dogs are so similar to those in humans that they should be treated with the same drugs. Many of his bionic treatments for animals are not yet available for humans so in some way at least, he has already put animal medicine ahead of the game!
‘You think a lady from the 7/7 bombings deserves a new arm, you think they want this technology? You think we’re working together on this technology? Are we heck. We’re not even talking to each other. It’s nonsense.’
Professor Fitzpatrick’s frustrations at the lack of cooperation are evident.
Pets and Cancer
A recent study conducted by the University of Glasgow demonstrated that pets were at greater risk from passive smoking than humans because they spend more time in the home. They are also spending more time on or close to carpets where the carcinogenic particles can linger. Cats are particularly vulnerable to the impact of second-hand smoke because they contact the material and then lick themselves.
Miraculous though many of the treatments that Professor Fitzpatrick has evolved appear to be, they have not met with universal approval. Some people feel that they are unnatural and could be cruel. These criticisms deeply affect the professor and have made him cry. It would be difficult to imagine that anyone could feel that he doesn’t have the best interests of the animals at heart. He is clearly so passionate about his patients.
Whatever you think about the bionic limbs it is worth listening to the professor’s advice regarding cancer. If you smoke, don’t smoke in the house or in the car when your pets are with you. Shut your dog inside when you smoke outside the house and don’t take your pets to other people’s homes if this could result in them being exposed to second-hand smoke. There are many pathogens already in our homes which can harm our pets, don’t add to it by smoking around them!