Bladder Cancer in Dogs - causes found in research

Dr. Lauren Trepanier, DVM, PHD, DACVIM (SAIM), DACVCP has been working on the interaction between genetics and environmental chemicals as related to the risk of cancer in dogs and people.  She is currently studying the connection of environmental chemicals and Lymphoma in Boxers.

In the study that the National Canine Cancer Foundation funded on environmental factors related to dogs it was found that there is a link between yard chemicals and bladder cancer in dogs. Dr. Trepanier recommends avoiding weed killers on your own lawn. One solution would be to plan perennial gardens and make sure you are pulling up dandelions with a dandelion tool.  However, if your HOA treats front lawns and public spaces with weed killer, restrict your dog to your backyard and only walk your dog on grass that is not treated.


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In a follow up study Dr. Trepanier and team found a link to insecticides that contribute to cancer. As they have evaluated their questionnaire, they realized the next step would be to evaluate direct exposure to certain chemicals. They have chosen chemicals that have been associated with bladder cancer either in human epidemiologic studies or in experimental animals, and which could reasonably be present in a household environment. This study is ongoing, and results are not yet available.

An association between bladder cancer and municipal drinking water containing higher levels of trihalomethanes (breakdown products from chlorine) was found. It was also found with dogs swimming in chlorinated pools however this risk may be minor.  Dr. Trepanier’s recommendation here is that you consider a water filtration unit that filters out “trihalomethanes.  Also, if you have a breed of dog that is at high risk for bladder cancer, try to avoid chlorinated swimming pools.

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