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– AKC CHF and AKC CAR Grant Nearly $125,000 For Continued Monitoring –

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKC CHF) and AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR) announce their continued funding of studies to determine long-term health impact on dogs deployed to the search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Nearly $125,000 is being contributed, including $62,000 from AKC CAR via the AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund which is dedicated to providing resources, support, funds, and other assistance to nonprofit canine search and rescue organizations. AKC CHF and supporters are contributing the remaining costs.

Following 9/11, the American Kennel Club, the AKC CHF and AKC CAR supported evaluating the health of search and rescue dogs deployed to the sites. For six years, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, headed by Dr. Cynthia Otto, have been monitoring the health and behavior of 97 such dogs. The results have been illuminated by an additional control group of 55 non-deployed search and rescue dogs. Remarkably, there have been no clinically obvious differences between the deployed and control dogs.

According to Tom Sharp, Vice President and CEO of AKC CAR, “The large deployments of search and rescue dogs at both the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites raised significant questions about the effects on the dogs' health, so it is vital that we continue funding for these important studies. We are pleased to be able to make funds available via our Support and Relief Fund.”

“The AKC Canine Health Foundation thanks AKC Companion Animal Recovery for their continued support of this ground-breaking research,” adds Cindy Vogels, president of the Canine Health Foundation. “It is imperative to continue this research that will no doubt add valuable insight into the potential impact of search and rescue work on both human and canines for years to come.”

A veterinary epidemiologist is currently completing the analysis of the first 5 years of health survey data and Dr. James A. Serpell, the Director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals & Society at University of Pennslyvania, is analyzing the data from his validated behavior survey to identify any subtle but significant differences over time and determine any correlation to their deployment. To date, 35 deployed dogs and 15 control dogs enrolled in the study have died. The proportion of deceased deployed dogs is not significantly different than the control group nor is the rate of cancer. In order to further evaluate the effect of deployment on rate and onset of health and behavior problems, it is essential to continue to monitor these dogs and the controls throughout their natural lifespan.