Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Tracks Health Of Rescue Dogs, Handlers Involved In Searches At World Trade Center And Pentagon

Date:
March 21, 2002
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania
Summary:
When the World Trade Center and sections of the Pentagon came crashing down Sept. 11, the rubble left for rescuers was laden with asbestos, diesel fuel, PCBs and countless other toxins. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now begun a three-year study of the search-and-rescue mission’s effects on rescue dogs and their handlers.

PHILADELPHIA – When the World Trade Center and sections of the Pentagon came crashing down Sept. 11, the rubble left for rescuers was laden with asbestos, diesel fuel, PCBs and countless other toxins. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now begun a three-year study of the search-and-rescue mission’s effects on rescue dogs and their handlers.

Related Articles


Comprised of veterinary researchers and psychologists, the team will focus on the physical and psychological toll, possibly sounding an early alert on ailments to watch for among those who have toiled to clear the wreckage.

"Few dogs at the World Trade Center and Pentagon suffered acute injuries, but during the next three years we expect them to serve as our sentinels on long-term consequences," said lead researcher Cynthia M. Otto, associate professor of critical care in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. "We may see health effects that will follow in humans 10 or 20 years from now."

Because the canine teams put in an average seven to 10 days at sites thick with potentially carcinogenic chemicals, Otto’s team will pay particular attention to the incidence of cancer.

"These dogs were exposed to huge amounts of known toxins and unthinkable amounts of unknown ones," Otto said.

Melissa Hunt, associate director of clinical training in Penn’s Department of Psychology, will lead the associated study of dog handlers. Patterns of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder among this small group of personnel, Hunt said, would likely be replicated among the thousands of others who have combed the ruins of the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

"We’re very concerned that many volunteers, particularly those with no formal training in search and rescue, may have difficulty putting their experiences behind them," said Hunt, who has studied depression and anxiety disorders. "Rescuers who helped clean up after the Oklahoma City bombing have experienced unusually high rates of divorce, sleep disorders and other trauma-related signs of stress."

Hunt will survey the dog handlers at regular intervals through 2004, focusing on emotional and behavioral health outcomes and factors contributing to risk and resilience, including personality traits and prior history of trauma; external factors such as social support and the stability of marriages; and hints of clinically significant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. For those showing signs of ongoing difficulties, Hunt’s team will offer assistance in the form of modified exposure therapy, which involves writing about one’s experiences to help put the trauma into context.

Otto’s study involves more than 200 search dogs and handlers from across the U.S. Some were part of trained rescue teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, while others arrived unannounced in New York and at the Pentagon as part of the nationwide outpouring of support.

The FEMA dogs will undergo intensive, periodic examinations by their local veterinarians. Dogs brought in by private individuals will be assessed through surveys of their handlers. The questionnaires will focus on behavioral disorders, such as aggression or fearfulness, that may have been induced by long hours of work without adequate play or the reward of finding live victims.

Support for the study comes from the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the American Kennel Club, Ralston Purina Co., Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The study also includes researchers at Michigan State University and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Otto is still seeking rescue dogs who worked at either the World Trade Center or Pentagon to participate in the study. Handlers of such dogs can contact her at cmotto@vet.upenn.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania. "Study Tracks Health Of Rescue Dogs, Handlers Involved In Searches At World Trade Center And Pentagon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020321071020.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania. (2002, March 21). Study Tracks Health Of Rescue Dogs, Handlers Involved In Searches At World Trade Center And Pentagon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020321071020.htm
University Of Pennsylvania. "Study Tracks Health Of Rescue Dogs, Handlers Involved In Searches At World Trade Center And Pentagon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020321071020.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins