If you are the owner of a pet then you will want to do everything that you can to protect it from harm. Pets are members of the family as well and most pets spend a great deal of time inside the home. This means that they are vulnerable to any dangers that lurk in your home which certainly includes radon gas.
Radon is a natural gas that is radioactive and inert. When radium decays in soil and rocks it creates radon gas. You cannot see, taste or smell radon gas and neither can your pets. This means that it can collect in certain areas of your home without detection and pose a real potential health risk for you and your family and your beloved pets.
Most people own a dog or a cat as a pet and radon gas at higher than safe levels can be really harmful to both of these animals. It can affect other animals too such as birds and reptiles. So checking the radon levels in your home is a very important task that you must not overlook because the health of your family and your pets could depend on this.
The Symptoms Of Radon Poisoning In Pets
The Effects of Radon Gas on Dogs
When your dog inhales the air in your home that contains dangerously high levels of radon gas it can seriously affect their respiratory system. There are heavy radioactive byproducts associated with radon gas such as polonium, lead and bismuth.
These byproducts are present in the air and the levels can build up over time. When your dog breathes in these harmful byproducts they will tend to stick to any cells that are in the air passage to your pet’s lungs.
The worst thing about radon gas poisoning for your dog is the risk of cancer. A number of tests on animals prove that radon gas and its associated isotopes can certainly have carcinogenic effects. Your dog is not immune to this.
The mutation of the genes in your dog’s cells is usually the most common reason for cancer. This mutation is usually the result of exposure to toxins or specific harmful chemicals. Your dog can end up with a malignant tumour, skin masses and epidermal carcinomas.
If your dog has cancer from radon poisoning then they will normally have the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulties
- Abnormal swelling
The problem is that your dog may not show any of these signs until it is too late. If the diagnosis comes too late then it is unlikely that you can save your dog. But with early diagnosis through a combination of an x-ray/ultrasound, a blood test, a physical examination and a biopsy then there is a lot more hope.
Your dog can be offered a range of treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy and radiation therapy. Consulting with your vet is the best option here. There are special oncologists that will perform further tests on your dog.
The Effects of Radon Gas on Cats
Cats are smaller than most dog breeds and are therefore closer to the ground which puts them even more at risk to radon poisoning. If your cat has been affected by radon then they are likely to show a number of behavioural and health problems.
We already know that radon gas can severely affect the health of humans and it is likely that your cat will be at even more risk. There is a definite link between radon gas poisoning and lung cancer in human beings so it is not too much of a stretch to believe that your cat could get lung cancer from radon as well.
It is a sad fact that quite a number of cats contract lung cancer. The causes will vary but radon gas poisoning is definitely going to feature prominently on the list. On average a cat will get lung cancer between the ages of 10 or 11 years old. The reality is that your cat can get lung cancer from radon poisoning at any age.
The symptoms of lung cancer in cats are not always clear cut. It is quite a common occurrence for the wrong diagnosis of a cat with lung cancer diagnosed as suffering from asthma. Usually, if your cat has lung cancer they will cough and not produce any phlegm.
Here are some other symptoms of cat lung cancer:
- Losing weight
- Coughing blood
- Breathing difficulties
- Cough without phlegm
- Appetite loss
- Tiredness and lethargy
Again if you believe that your cat may have the early stages of lung cancer then get them to the vet quickly for diagnosis. Maybe you have tested for radon in your home and the levels were above the safe threshold. Take your cat for a test immediately as there will be some treatment options for early-stage cancer.
Why Pets can be more Vulnerable to Radon Poisoning
Look, please don’t dismiss the fact that your dogs and cats are lower to the ground than we are to make them more susceptible to radon poisoning. The harmful gas and its isotopes will concentrate more at lower levels in your home.
Most pets are curious and will spend time looking around your basement if you have one. This is the most dangerous area for radon poisoning in your home. It is a good idea if you keep your pets away from your basement.
Another thing to consider is that your pets have a much faster respiratory rate than humans do. Their lungs are also a lot smaller so it will take a much lower dose of radon poisoning to affect them.
A lot of families are away from home for many hours every day and as a result, pets will be at home alone. Even if your pets can go outside they will still spend a lot of time indoors. When they spend most of their time at the lowest level of your home they will be at the highest risk of the effects that radon gas can have on them.
The bottom line is that exposure to radon gas and the decaying elements can be a lot more deadly for your pets than it can be for you and your family. Your pets can get into small areas such as crawl spaces where the concentration of radon gas is likely to be at its highest.
Get a Radon Gas Tester to Protect your Pets
To protect your pets from the harmful effects of radon gas you need to test the levels in your home. If the levels are high then there are things that you can do to mitigate these levels and make them safe. You can never completely eradicate radon gas from your home though.
There are different ways to test for radon gas in your home. You can call in a professional company who will perform a one-off test. They use the highest quality equipment which provides very accurate readings but this can be expensive.
You can also use a radon home test kit yourself. What you do here is to place the testing device in the right area and then after the specified testing period send the tester to a laboratory for testing. These test kits are easy to use and usually accurate and are a lot less expensive than hiring a company to test for radon.
The problem with using a professional radon gas testing company or a home test kit is they are just short term tests. Usually testing only lasts for a few days but radon levels can change over time.
An electronic active radon gas tester is a very good investment. This tester will monitor radon gas levels all of the time and provide average readings. Most of these devices have alarms that will alert you to dangerous levels of radon gas.
You really need to take the threat of radon gas poisoning seriously for your family and your pets. The first step is to test your home for this dangerous gas. For a few dollars, you can see if high levels of radon exist and if you can invest in an active tester to continuously monitor radon levels then go for it.
Always remember that your pets are far more vulnerable to the effects of radon gas poisoning than humans are. There is no way of knowing if your home has safe levels of radon gas or not without performing a test.