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911 Rescue Dogs Show No Signs of Nasal Cancer

By: Courtesy of P&G Pet Care

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Advanced MRI Technology Utilized in Cancer Study of Canine First Responders Heralds Positive Results for Hero Dogs

A five-year risk assessment study of working dogs who assisted with the recovery efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been concluded. These heroic dogs underwent five MRI scans in the past five years as part of the study, and fortunately, they were found to be healthy and showed no signs of nasal cancer that can be directly linked to their work on or after the 9/11 attacks.

Through state-of-the-art MRI technology, veterinarians from Iams Pet Food, the University of Pennsylvania, and the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation have tracked the physical changes of 10 first responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for the past five years. At the conclusion of the study today, the canines were given a clean bill of health.

"The dogs who remain in the study appear to be healthy and free of any nasal conditions," said Dr. Amy Dicke, a technical services veterinarian for Iams Pet Food who has monitored the health of the study participants for the past five years. "While we have lost some of our hero dogs to old age and non-related health issues, the canine participants involved in our study have shown no signs of cancerous tumors that can be directly related to their work at 9/11 or other search and rescue missions."

With decades of combined experience, the study participants have traveled the world to participate in search and rescue missions following natural and manmade disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Columbia Space Shuttle explosion, train derailments, factory explosions and tornadoes. Like all search and rescue missions, the deployment after the 9/11 attacks required the dogs to utilize their keen sense of smell to identify the bodies of victims. It is this sense of smell that makes these specially trained dogs a crucial component of live-saving rescue missions, but it also makes it impossible for them to wear protective gear such as gas masks and clean air oxygen filtrates during missions, putting them at especially great risk of exposure to potentially hazardous carcinogens and fine particles of soot and debris.

"During our work at Ground Zero, the other handlers and I were given knee pads, elbow pads, face masks and other equipment to protect our safety in those horrible conditions," said Mary Flood, a FEMA handler whose dog "Jake," a 12-year-old Labrador retriever, participated in the study. "The dogs, however, wore no protective gear, so I'm thankful that "Jake" had the chance to participate in this study. It's just been terrific knowing that my partner is cared for."

The high-tech, detailed MRI scans enable researchers to peer into the dogs' brains, sinus cavities, nasal passages, glands and other soft tissue to detect disease that may have developed. Once available only to humans, MRI is now a valuable diagnostic tool used by veterinarians from coast to coast via Iams Pet Imaging Centers located in Redwood City, Calif., Vienna, Va., and Raleigh, N.C. The technology allows veterinarians to more accurately determine the cause and location of diseases such as cancer while avoiding invasive exploratory surgery in working dogs, like the ones participating in the study, as well as companion animals. Based on more than 10,000 case referrals, Iams Pet Imaging Centers are the world leader in pet MRI scans.

Profiles of Participating Dogs

  • Mary Flood and Jake, a 12-year-old Labrador retriever who has been called to help first-responders at Ground Zero (2001) and on some 25+ wilderness recovery operations

  • Officer Cari Guerrero and Felony, a 9-year-old German shepherd who assisted with the recovery efforts at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2001). Felony also participates in Precinct 131, a non-profit program that educates elementary students about the dangers of drugs, gangs and violence. Since 1998, Felony has visited numerous schools and has helped to educate more than 250,000 students about making smart choices.

  • Trish Cartino and Joey, a 10-year-old Aussie shepherd who was called to help first-responders at the Pentagon following the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2001) and the Summer Olympics (1996) as well as numerous wilderness searches for Alzheimer's patients, missing children and hikers.

  • Eileen Roemer and Bailey, an 11-year-old golden retriever who helped search for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon (2001) and also assisted the FBI with a mission in North Carolina (2000).


    To learn more about this study or for more information on Iams Pet Imaging Centers, visit http://www.iamspetimaging.com/ or call 1-866-4PETMRI.


    About P&G Pet Care

    For nearly 60 years, Procter & Gamble Pet Care (NYSE:PG), the maker of Iams and Eukanuba, has enhanced the well-being of dogs and cats by providing world-class quality foods and pet-care products. To learn more about Eukanuba® and Iams® Dog & Cat Foods and the Eukanuba Veterinary Diets® line of canine and feline therapeutic diets or general pet care and nutrition information, call the Iams Consumer Care Center at (800) 446-3075. You also can visit us on the Web at http://www.iams.com/, http://www.eukanuba.com/, or http://www.iamspetimaging.com/.

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