Saturday, March 19, 2011

UC Davis Vet: "No radiation risk to pets in California"

A UC Davis faculty veterinarian has stated that there is no current radiation risk to pets in the state of California from the recent nuclear accident in Japan, according to this report from the
"There is currently no radiation risk to pets in California due to the damaged nuclear power plants in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami last week, according to Michael Kent, DVM, a faculty veterinarian at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in radiation cancer therapy.
The university’s William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital has been receiving three to five calls per hour from clients inquiring about potential radiation risks to their pets should the radioactive material from Japan’s nuclear power plants cross the Pacific and reach California.
“At this point, there is no risk to pets in California stemming from radiation released from the tragedy that continues to unfold in Japan,” Kent said yesterday.
Clients are also asking whether they should give potassium iodide tablets to their pets as a preventive.
“While potassium iodide might help protect dogs, cats and other pets, as it would people, from the risks of radiation exposure in the unlikely event that radioactive iodine reaches here in appreciable levels, giving it ahead of time carries risks and would be ill-advised,” Kent said. “Side effects to pets taking potassium iodide, especially if they ingest too much, include severe and even life-threatening allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia), decreased normal thyroid function (hypothyroidism) and damage to the heart. At high enough levels, it can cause death.”

Read the full report here.

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