9/11 Medical Surveillance

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, search and rescue personnel and canines from across the country responded to the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The hazards associated with the disaster response were not well appreciated, and only after the fact was it recognized that the contaminants in the environment posed potential health risk.

With funding from the AKC Canine Health Foundation, a study was launched to monitor the health and behavioral effects of the canine responders deployed to search. We enrolled 95 deployed dogs and 55 non-deployed control search and rescue dogs.

The data obtained from this study provides critical information that can be used to better prepare future teams. Our monitoring has allowed early detection of health problems in the dogs. These dogs also serve as sentinels for health problems that may occur in the human first responders.

The 9/11 canine responders gave so much that fateful day. They continue to contribute through their participation in this study.

Study Objectives

  1. To determine if dogs deployed to the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Staten Island Landfill have a higher incidence of long-term medical and behavioral problems compared to control non-deployed search and rescue dogs.
  2. To document the cause of death in deployed and control search and rescue dogs.
  3. To determine deployment period risk factors that may contribute to long-term health problems.
  4. To determine the amount and nature of particulate matter that the deployed search and rescue dogs have inhaled by identifying and quantifying specific fibrous and non-fibrous particulate materials in lung samples.


To the following collaborators for their contributions:

Scott Fitzgerald, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACPV
George E. Moore, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVPM, AcVIM
Melissa Hunt, PhD
Amanda Downend

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