Asbestos Disease in Pets and Animals

Pets & Animals

Pets are a part of the family and most pet owners do everything possible to protect those precious cats, dogs, or other animals they treasure so very much. Pet lovers always make certain their dogs or cats are safe and that they're healthy and fit. Unfortunately, however, pets are susceptible to some of the same diseases that afflict humans. Mesothelioma, which is sometimes also referred to as asbestos cancer, is no exception.

Of course, malignant mesothelioma is not a contagious disease, so pets that are exposed to an individual who has mesothelioma or some other asbestos-related disease cannot "catch" the illness from their owner. However, animals can be victims of second-hand asbestos exposure. Second-hand exposure occurs when an individual who works with asbestos brings toxic asbestos dust into their home via their clothes or body, causing it to be inhaled by others in the household. During the past few decades, the incidence of secondary cases of asbestos has increased, including in animals - primarily dogs.

Dogs can also be victims of direct asbestos exposure. It is not unusual for a dog to carry home dangerous fibers on their feet or fur if they have been in a location where asbestos is present, including at a demolition site that might be contaminated with the toxic mineral.

Mesothelioma develops differently in dogs and humans. Generally, the mesothelioma latency period can take up to 50 years for adult mesothelioma to manifest in a human being. Most dogs that have been diagnosed with the disease are approximately 8 years old, though the age can indeed vary. And while smoking and mesothelioma are sometimes related in humans, who have been exposed to asbestos, studies show that other substances, including pentachlorophenol, often used as an herbicide, algaecide, defoliant, wood preservative, germicide, or fungicide, can increase the likelihood of mesothelioma symptoms or diagnosis presenting in dogs.

Like humans, dogs most often develop pleural mesothelioma, with only an occasional case of pericardial mesothelioma or peritoneal mesothelioma being reported. Animals also exhibit similar symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, pain, and fluid in the lungs.

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog


August 28, 2015

What Survival Rates in Women with Mesothelioma Can Teach Us

“Because mesothelioma takes decades to develop and commonly affects men who worked heavily around asbestos, it is relatively rare for young individuals, particularly women, to get it.”