Hello, my name is Max and I have an important story to share with you. It is important for you to know that I died on Wednesday, January 6, 2010. I died from Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC) just a month short of my seventh birthday.
After I died, my person (Toni) started doing research in an effort to understand why this cancer took my life. I was a very healthy and vibrant dog throughout my life until my cancer diagnosis in September 2009. Toni had a conversation with my Veterinarian Oncologist who described my TCC as a mostly spontaneous disease and he also explained that my breed (West Highland White Terrier) was more susceptible to this disease than most other breeds of dogs. Also, thre are some links between exposure to herbicides and pesticides and TCC indicating that some breeds of dogs are up to seven times more likely to develop cancer when regularly exposed (i.e. routine lawn and shrub treatments).
Toni began doing research in regard to TCC, susceptible breeds, and the association with chemically treated lawns. It was very difficult for her to learn that her efforts to provide me with a luscious green yard may have cost me my life. Toni had my yard treated by a national yard care company throughout my entire life. The company told Toni that their chemicals were safe and as a precaution she should keep me off of the treated yard for an hour or so after application. Through her research; however, she found that I was predisposed to cancer of the bladder and that exposure to these chemicals in excess of four times per year could drastically increase my chances of contracting this disease.
Toni had purchased me from a reputable breeder in the spring of 2003. She was provided a little “puppy packet” from the breeder’s veterinarian that discussed the shots I had, my general health, and recommendations for feeding me. Toni then took me to my new veterinarian in my new home town to get a complete puppy check up. Wouldn’t it have been a wonderful thing if any of these professionals had mentioned to Toni the dangers of exposing me to chemically treated lawns?
A suggestion ws made, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers published in the April 15, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, that veterinarians discuss with owners routine (i.e., every 6 months) cytologic examination of the urine in Scottish Terriers less than 6 years old and in other terriers.
Between the breeder, the breeder’s veterinarian, and my veterinarians (I had two different veterinarians and neither of them mentioned a thing) don’t you think someone should have discussed the link between lawn and shrub chemicals and TCC with Toni?
Therefore, my request is that all veterinarian associations and breeder associations work together to better inform new dog owners (especially those in the predisposed breed classes of Shetland Sheepdog, Beagle, West Highland White Terrier, and Scottish Terrier) of the dangers regarding the predisposition of TCC and the increased risk of exposure to chemically treated lawns (even those lawns treated by company’s who claim their products are safe for pets). Consider a simple pamphlet or brochure that can be handed out by the breeder and/or veterinarians who treat these breeds.
If just on person would have taken a moment to inform Toni – I might still be alive today.
In closing, I appreciate your time and look forward to your action making a real difference in the lives of many families and their beloved pets. Hopefully, by educating and working together we can extend the lives of many of my dog friends!