With nearly $500,000 of financial support from the AKC Canine Health Foundation, recent research discovered that while many human rescuers are showing respiratory health problems a decade later after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, their canine colleagues have had minimal setbacks, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine 9/11 Medical Surveillance study.
“The most striking thing is that many of the humans that responded have developed reactive airway diseases, such as asthma, sinusitis or other chronic infections in their nasal sinuses. The dogs on the other hand have fared extremely well,” said Dr. Cynthia Otto of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “They’re not developing any problems with their lungs or sinuses. That is a real surprise.”
Researchers also compared their health to a control group of non-deployed search-and-rescue dogs. The study also found that the average lifespan of deployed dogs was 12.5 years, while non-deployed search-and-rescue dogs lived an average 11.8 years. Today, at least 13 deployed search-and-rescue dogs that were part of the study are still alive. For more information about the AKC Canine Health Foundation go to www.akcchf.org.
“The findings may open our eyes to the difference between dogs and people that makes them so resilient,” Otto said. “If we could tap into that, we might actually help move human health forward.”