After sniffing out hundreds of drug offenders, a British police dog has died of nasal cancer that may have been caused by his crime-fighting job, the U.K.'s Metro newspaper reported.
Max, a Springer spaniel, would be Britain’s first known casualty of cocaine-induced nasal cancer in canines. Both his veterinarian and his handler fear that sniffing the drugs contributed greatly to his death.
"It is ironic that the organ that made him successful in his work has been his demise," Insp. Anne Higgins told Metro. "Up until a couple of weeks ago he seemed fine and was doing really well, but it was an aggressive tumor."
Dr. Kate Fairclough, Max’s vet since 2006, added, "Sniffing drugs could well have been a factor — I certainly cannot rule it out. Nose cancer is not all that common, only about one or two percent of all cancers in dogs affect the nose."
Last November, Max retired from the Avon and Somerset Police Department after suffering a hip injury. But he kept on running after he was outfitted with a set of wheels to help him get around, Metro reported.
Max was put down at the Tiverton police station in Devon, England, on Sunday.
"It was very hard but we had to do it," Higgins told the paper.