Medical Surveillance of Search Dogs Deployed to the World Trade Center and Pentagon: 2001–2006

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In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, almost 50,000 rescue workers and approximately 300 search and rescue dogs participated in rescue and recovery operations. The dogs were exposed to the same hazards as the human workers, but did not have any of the personal protective gear. This prospective double cohort observational study compared annual medical history, blood biochemical and hematologic results, and thoracic radiographic findings in 95 search and rescue dogs that responded to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, to a control group of 55 search and rescue dogs that were not involved in the 9/11 response. Compared to controls, the deployed search dogs demonstrated mild changes in blood work and a higher incidence of radiographic cardiac abnormalities. Species differences may explain the lack of pulmonary findings in the dogs. These dogs may provide early evidence of nonpulmonary complications of the 9/11 response. Continued surveillance of all responders is warranted.

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