Indoor pesticides cause cancer in dogs?

The enviro war against pesticides targets pet owners.

Despite the 10-page questionnaire, the researchers still have no idea how much of what chemicals the dogs were exposed to. Combined with the weak statistical results, and lack of biological plausibility, this is a dog of a study.

The abstract is below.


Household chemical exposures and the risk of canine malignant lymphoma, a model for human non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Biki B. Takashima-Uebelhoera, , Lisa G. Barberb, , Sofija E. Zagarinsc, , Elizabeth Procter-Grayd, , Audra L. Gollenberge, , Antony S. Mooreb, f, , Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnsona, b, ,
a Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Arnold House, University of Massachusetts, 715 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003-9304, USA
b Department of Clinical Sciences Oncology, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA
c Department of Behavioral Medicine Research, Baystate Health Systems, 140 High Street, Room 223, Springfield, MA 01105, USA
d Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA
e Shenandoah University, 1460 University Drive, Wincester, VA 22601, USA
f Veterinary Oncology Consultants, 379 Lake Innes Drive, Wauchope, New South Wales 2446, Australia
Received 22 April 2011. Revised 20 September 2011. Accepted 6 December 2011. Available online 4 January 2012., How to Cite or Link Using DOI



Epidemiologic studies of companion animals offer an important opportunity to identify risk factors for cancers in animals and humans. Canine malignant lymphoma (CML) has been established as a model for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Previous studies have suggested that exposure to environmental chemicals may relate to development of CML.


We assessed the relation of exposure to flea and tick control products and lawn-care products and risk of CML in a case–control study of dogs presented to a tertiary-care veterinary hospital (2000–2006). Cases were 263 dogs with biopsy-confirmed CML. Controls included 240 dogs with benign tumors and 230 dogs undergoing surgeries unrelated to cancer. Dog owners completed a 10-page questionnaire measuring demographic, environmental, and medical factors.


After adjustment for age, weight, and other factors, use of specific lawn care products was associated with greater risk of CML. Specifically, the use of professionally applied pesticides was associated with a significant 70% higher risk of CML (odds ratio(OR)=1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.1–2.7). Risk was also higher in those reporting use of self-applied insect growth regulators (OR=2.7; 95% CI=1.1–6.8). The use of flea and tick control products was unrelated to risk of CML.


Results suggest that use of some lawn care chemicals may increase the risk of CML. Additional analyses are needed to evaluate whether specific chemicals in these products may be related to risk of CML, and perhaps to human NHL as well.


Case–control study of household environmental chemicals and risk of canine lymphoma. Two types of household environmental chemicals: flea/tick control and lawn care. Professionally applied pesticide significantly increased CML risk. Use of owner applied insect growth regulators significantly increased CML risk. Certain lawn care chemicals may increase risk of CML and potentially human NHL.

Lymphoma; Non-Hodgkin; Dogs; Epidemiology; Case–control studies; Specialty uses of chemicals

One thought on “Indoor pesticides cause cancer in dogs?”

  1. “Risk Factors”?
    That is junk science double-speak for “we have no idea what may really be causing this phenomenon, but we *think* we see a chance association between the observations and some conveniently measurable variable, so we went data-mining and came up with this shiny rock.”

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