Although the radioactive material the dogs and cats were exposed to during the disaster should be cleared by the their bodies by now, the animals may have incurred permanent damage according to Timothy Mousseau, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, who has extensively studied animals exposed to radiation.
Mousseau's research has found significant genetic damage and breakages in chromosomes among animals exposed to radiation in and around Chernobyl, a situation similar to that of Fukushima. Developmental abnormalities, tumors, and species decline and extinction have also been attributed to radiation exposure in that area, and are likely to also occur in Japan.
To read the story and see photos of dogs and cats living near the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was published in PBS Newshour, the Rundown Blog, click this link.
For an overall update on the situation in Japan, click this link to view a podcast more about the persistent radiation readings around the Fukushima area on the PBS Newshour website.