Possible Arsenic Exposure
Three years ago we hired a local outfit to put up a wooden fence around our yard. Later we found evidence that they used wood treated with arsenic. Can this fence hurt my dog? Could it have played a part in my dog getting fibrosarcoma?
Arsenic can be a very potent toxin and has been used frequently on various woods and as a toxin for pests. It has always had a potential for accidental exposure to pet animals and livestock in this role as a pesticide. While using it for one of its properties (destruction of nuisance animals), we encounter an unwanted side effect (toxin/illness in other animals).
Generally, when substances are applied to an inanimate object or consumed by animal, then another animal is exposed to it (such as eating a poisoned animal or eating treated wood), there is less of a chance that the toxin will produce any unwanted side effects. Usually direct consumption of the toxin or poison is necessary to produce sickness or severe reaction.
It is very difficult to tie this exposure to the cause of a tumor like fibrosarcoma. We don’t know the direct cause of cancer and there is not a direct link between arsenic and this type of tumor. While direct links between some substances and cancer have been established, animals and people can be genetically predisposed or have other underlying causes to the presence of cancer. It would be very difficult to assign blame for this condition to a particular substance or exposure.