Mesothelioma is mostly associated with humans, but unfortunately, our furry friends, although rare, can also develop the disease. A recent study confirmed that pets can indeed develop asbestos-related illnesses just as people can.
According to the study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Italian researchers studied two dogs and one cat, all of which were diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. One of the purposes of the study was to see if animals could be cured after developing an asbestos-related diseases, but similar to humans, scientists determined there is no cure. The pets were treated with a combination of platinum compounds and piroxicam, as surgery isn’t generally isn’t an option on animals.
Although the pets tolerated the medications relatively well, the study states that,
“As with humans, pets cannot be cured of malignant mesothelioma. As with humans with down-staged malignant mesothelioma at the time of diagnosis, surgical excision can only be rarely performed in pets.”
How Are Pets Exposed to Asbestos?
Although pets can be exposed to asbestos while living in a home that’s undergoing repair or renovation (homes that were constructed with asbestos-containing products), most pets develop asbestos illnesses via second-hand exposure. Even though it’s not as common today as in the past, when pet owners return home with asbestos in their hair, clothing, and skin, animals can easily ingest the tiny, odorless fibers just as people can.
The dormancy period for mesothelioma is shorter in animals when compared to humans. While it may take anywhere from 20 to 50 years for the first mesothelioma symptoms to appear in humans, it usually takes around eight years for animals. However, studies indicate that some puppies have developed mesothelioma as young as six weeks and others as old as 12 to 15 years.
Which Pets Are at the Highest Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?
Cats and dogs can both develop mesothelioma, but research shows that it’s dog that are more likely to develop the disease, although evidence hasn’t determined exactly why yet. Certain breeds of dogs are also more likely to develop mesothelioma, which include German Shepherds and Irish Setters. PetMD states the German Shepherds develop mesothelioma more than any other dog breed.
Signs to Watch Out For in Your Pet
Just as people develop mesothelioma symptoms, so do pets. PetMD reports that the most common pet mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Difficulties with breathing
- Muffled sounds in the heart, abdominal, or lung area
- Feeling uncomfortable
- Lack of movement and exercise
- Large scrotum
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, take him/her to the veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian will run series of tests to rule any other illnesses, but if you think your pet has been exposed to asbestos, be sure to let the veterinarian know.
Keeping Your Pet Safe From Asbestos
Pets should be treated as humans when it comes to asbestos exposure. Never allow your pet to play or wander into any area where asbestos exposure may occur, and never leave a pet in a home where renovations or repairs are going on, if the home has any asbestos-containing products and materials in it.
Help and Resources for Mesothelioma Victims
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool to find a top mesothelioma attorney in your area. With over $30 billion currently in asbestos trust funds, now is the right time to take the first step in determining what you may qualify for.