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Cats particularly susceptible to second-hand smoke

Wednesday December 30th 2015

Pets living in homes where someone smokes are more at risk of developing health problems, according to an academic study.

Research by the University of Glasgow shows that animals exposed to second-hand smoke have a higher chance of succumbing to cancer, cell damage and weight gain than those in non-smoking households.

Scientists say they have established a direct link between family pets living in a smoking environment and animal health issues.

Cats in particular are at risk from second-hand smoke, potentially due to extensive self-grooming, while dogs that have been castrated are more likely to gain weight than those in a smoke-free home.

Clare Knottenbelt, professor of small animal medicine and oncology at the university's Small Animal Hospital, says the findings show that exposure to smoke in the home is having a direct impact on pets.

The research has already shown that dogs can take in significant amounts of smoke when living in a smoking household, and the current study shows that cats are even more affected, she says.

Vet Victoria Smith, who is investigating the links between passive smoking and lymphoma, a cancer of the blood cells in cats, adds that the research shows that even having outdoor access makes very little difference to the effects of smoke on cats.

Copyright Press Association 2015