TCC, Scotties & Herbicides

Interesting to note that in our series “Your Stories” Steve mentioned herbicides and lawns – well as it so happens, this next article is all about the study carried out by Purdue University, in 2004

Herbicide exposure and the risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers.

Objective: To determine whether exposure to lawn or garden chemicals was associated with an increased risk of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers.


This bit is in green as its taken from another report* that followed on from this particular research project.

Results :  courtesy *Scottish Terrier Club America’s final report from Barbara Loudsbury PhD, and Marcia Dawson, DVM in 2005

Data were subjected to rigorous statistical analysis and the conclusions drawn are troubling indeed.

Scotties who had been exposed to lawn herbicides were between four and seven times more likely to develop bladder cancer than dogs that had not been exposed

Fifty-one percent of the diagnosed dogs had been exposed to herbicides on more than an occasional basis, compared to 18% of controls. The number of case and control dogs exposed to insecticides was equal, thereby suggesting that – in this study – exposure to insecticides alone does not appear to be a significant risk factor. However, exposure to herbicides alone resulted in a nearly four times greater risk of developing bladder cancer, and exposure to both insecticides and herbicides increased the likelihood to over seven times! In other words, a Scottie exposed to herbicides on a more-than-sporadic basis is four times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, and the odds skyrocket to seven times more likely when herbicides and insecticides are combined.

Researchers concluded that the data are consistent with a genetic-environmental interaction, meaning that Scotties with a genetic predisposition are at high risk for TCC when exposed to certain risk factors like phenoxy herbicides.


Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Results suggest that exposure to lawns or gardens treated with herbicides was associated with an increased risk of TCC in Scottish Terriers. Until additional studies are performed to prove or disprove a cause-and-effect relationship, owners of Scottish Terriers should minimize their dogs’ access to lawns or gardens treated with phenoxy herbicides.

You can read the condensed report by clicking here

Thankfully our gardens are now landscaped and don’t have any grassed areas, however, we live in a village, right next to the farmers field, so we’ll be making sure that our Scotties feets are washed after each walk from now on – and we thank Steve for that piece of advice too!


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