Santa Barbara, California (PressExposure) December 16, 2006 -- Lymphoma, a deadly cancer of the lymphatic drainage system, is the most common cancer seen in cats and the common occurrence of lymphoma has been mainly linked to widespread infection with feline leukaemia virus (FeLV). However, many studies over the last few years have suggested that few cases of feline lymphoma are directly associated with FeLV infection (due to greater control of this virus through both testing and vaccination of cats).
Veterinary researchers have recently discovered the key factors linking the effects of second hand cigarette smoke to cats developing feline lymphoma.
Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology on August 1st 2006, the study included 180 cats who were treated at Tufts Veterinary School's Foster Hospital from the years 1993 and 2000. The results of this university study indicated clearly that cats exposed to second hand smoke were at a significantly higher risk of developing lymphoma cancer.
It was shown that cats living in peoples homes where humans smoked at least a packet of cigarettes a day had more than three times the risk of developing lymphoma than cats in nonsmoking houses. It was also shown that an increased risk of developing lymphoma existed when higher numbers of smokers lived in the home. Cats living with one household smoker had almost twice the risk, whilst cats living with two or more smokers in a household had nearly four times the risk of developing lymphoma cancer.
Ingestion of cigarettes is dangerous too and can even be deadly. Signs of ingestion and nicotine poisoning generally occur within 15-45 minutes of ingestion and include salivation, excitation, panting, vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of more serious intoxication include increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, muscle weakness, twitching, depression, collapse and coma.
Recommendations are, therefore, to go outside the house to smoke especially if you have cats indoors. Keep cigarettes, cigars, nicotine patches and nicotine gum out of reach from your pet. Please ensure ashtrays are clean at all times as the cigarette butts contain about 25% of the total nicotine content of a cigarette.