Canine mesothelioma usually strikes older dogs. The average age at the onset of the cancer is eight years. However, canine mesothelioma has been confirmed in puppies as young as seven weeks, and in 15-year-old (elderly) dogs. There are also several breeds that are more likely to develop canine mesothelioma:
- Irish Setter
- Bouvier des Flandres
- German Shepherd
The suspected cause of canine mesothelioma is the same as the cause of mesothelioma cancer in humans: asbestos exposure. In dogs as in humans, the mesothelium is the tissue lining of the chest cavity, and this is where the cancer is usually located. Asbestos fibers become lodged internally and initiate a tumor in the mesothelium, lungs, pericardium, or elsewhere.
Symptoms of Canine Mesothelioma Cancer
Sometimes when an individual’s mesothelioma is diagnosed, the family remembers a pet from years past that had respiratory symptoms and then died. Symptoms suggesting mesothelioma cancer is present in a dog include:
- abdominal discomfort
- respiratory distress – painful, difficult breathing or shortness of breath
- abnormally rapid breathing
- exercise intolerance
- difficulty moving
If your pet has these symptoms, the problem may be something relatively insignificant, or it may signal a disease such as mesothelioma. Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma cancer at this time, for humans or for pets.
How Do Dogs Get Mesothelioma Cancer?
It may seem odd for a dog to get a rare cancer that isn’t even very well known among humans, but the suspected cause of canine mesothelioma is the same as for humans: the inhalation or ingestion of carcinogenic asbestos fibers. In contrast to humans, though, dogs may get mesothelioma from licking asbestos fibers off the ground or even off their human companions, who may have brought the asbestos home from their worksites.
Dogs can also be exposed to toxic asbestos fibers when their home is in the middle of a renovation. Millions of older residences in the U.S. have asbestos-containing components such as drywall, insulation, and bricks, and when the asbestos is disturbed during a renovation (or simply deteriorating from age), a dog may inhale or ingest the loose, airborne fibers.
Dogs that roam a neighborhood freely may also encounter asbestos at a construction site, or even simply in the air in towns that are near an asbestos mine or a shipyard.
What Can You Do for Your Dog?
If you think that your dog might have canine mesothelioma, take your pet to a veterinarian for testing and to learn more about the options for treatment of mesothelioma. You can also contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers for assistance in locating a veterinarian who is familiar with mesothelioma treatment for dogs.
Human beings who have never worked with asbestos products can develop mesothelioma cancer, and animals can too. When pets get mesothelioma cancer, it’s probably because they inhaled or licked asbestos fibers that were present on someone’s clothing, or they walked in asbestos fibers at a building site or at home. Often, mesothelioma surgery is arranged to help reduce the pain.
Mesothelioma cancer can affect any pet that’s been exposed to asbestos but tends to occur more often in dogs than in cats, in males than females, and more commonly in certain breeds (German Shepherds, Irish Setters, and Bouvier des Flandres). If your pet has mesothelioma, their life expectancy will be severely shortened, as will their quality of life. For this reason, it is important for you, as the owner, to find the right treatment of mesothelioma for your pet.
Have Your Pet Tested for Mesothelioma Cancer
Take your pet to a veterinarian for testing if you suspect that it has mesothelioma. Be sure to tell the vet about anyone in your home who has mesothelioma, and about any possible asbestos exposure that your pet may have suffered. The vet can use ultrasound, x-ray imaging, or CT scanning to try to determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms and to ascertain if mesothelioma surgery might be an option.
Learn More About Mesothelioma and Treatment for Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer
If mesothelioma in your pet or someone else in your home is suspected or already diagnosed, you should be aware of the resources available to you. Contact a lawyer at Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today to learn more about cancer resources in your area, as well as the steps you can take to fight the disease with treatments for mesothelioma. A qualified attorney will explain the many options available for treatment. Mesothelioma in dogs and other pets is a sad situation. Find the right help for your loving pet today!