Urinary biomarkers to assess exposure of cats to environmental tobacco smoke

Am J Vet Res. 2007 Apr;68(4):349-53. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.68.4.349.


Objective: To evaluate the use of urinary biomarkers to assess exposure of cats to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

Animals: 61 healthy client-owned cats (19 from households in which smoking was reported and 42 from households in which there was no smoking).

Procedures: Urine samples were obtained from each cat and assayed for total nicotine (nicotine plus nicotine glucuronide) and total cotinine (cotinine plus cotinine glucuronide) content by use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In addition, total urinary content of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL), a major metabolite of the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone, was measured by use of gas chromatography with nitrosamine-selective detection.

Results: Cats from households in which smoking was reported had significantly higher concentrations of total nicotine (70.4 ng/mL), total cotinine (8.53 ng/mL), and total NNAL (0.0562 pmol/mL) in urine, compared with concentrations for cats that lived in households in which there was no smoking (4.89 ng/mL, 0.74 ng/mL, and 0.0182 pmol/mL, respectively).

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Analysis of these data provided biochemical evidence of exposure to ETS and uptake of tobacco-specific carcinogens by cats that live in households with smokers. Biomarkers could facilitate investigation of the health effects of ETS in cats and other species.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Cats / urine*
  • Cotinine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cotinine / urine
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / veterinary
  • Glucuronates / urine
  • Nicotine / analogs & derivatives
  • Nicotine / urine
  • Nitrosamines / urine
  • Pyridines / urine
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis*


  • Biomarkers
  • Glucuronates
  • Nitrosamines
  • Pyridines
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • cotinine N-glucuronide
  • nicotine N-glucuronide
  • Nicotine
  • 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butan-1-ol
  • Cotinine