178753 Ambient air pollution and respiratory illness in pet dogs

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:30 AM

Lisa P. Oakley, BA , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Jeni M. Gallagher, BA , College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Anna Harding, PhD , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Peter Lachenbruch, PhD , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
The presence of contaminants in ambient air is a global problem which poses significant health risks to humans, but chronic exposure is difficult to determine due to long latency periods and a paucity of appropriate epidemiologic studies. Pet dogs may be useful sentinels for potential environmental health exposures because they share our environment and exposure risks. Pet dogs have previously been used as sentinels for indoor air pollution studies. This study is a novel exploratory study using pet dogs for ambient air pollution.

This study investigates the relationship between ambient air pollution and rates of respiratory illness in pet dogs between Portland, Oregon and Seattle/Tacoma, Washington. These two cities have substantial differences in air quality. Average monthly air data from 2002-2006 were correlated with average rates of respiratory disease in each city.

Preliminary results show corresponding spikes in rates of respiratory illness following spikes in related ambient air pollutants. Results on the interactions between increased levels of PM10, SO2 and ozone and rates of allergic rhinitis, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia will be presented. We hope to later investigate the possible association between respiratory disease trends in pets with respiratory disease in humans.

This is a collaborative project between OSU's department of Public Health and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Bringing these two disciplines together has beneficial implications for both health fields and creates a model by which other interdisciplinary subjects may be studied. We gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of Drs. Elizabeth Lund and Hugh Lewis from Banfield, The Pet Hospital.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the rationale and benefits for using pet dogs as sentinel health indicators for environmental health hazards 2. Design and construct an observational ambient air pollution study using state air quality databases and a national animal health database 3. Identify three respiratory diseases in dogs that may be associated with ambient air pollution

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In combination of coursework and assistance from co-authors, we have developed the research questions, worked collaboratively between a School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine to analyze secondary data that will inform the literature on veterinary public health as well as human environmental health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.