Mesothelioma is an unusual health condition insofar as it affects humans as well as other mammals. Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer caused by airborne asbestos exposure. Although mesothelioma in pets is uncommon, it does occur. There is no cure for malignant mesothelioma (in pets or in humans), and due to the nature of the cancer, surgical excision is rarely performed.
However, there are steps you can take to protect your pets. The most common way pets are exposed to asbestos is through secondhand exposure. Pet owners that have been exposed to asbestos can carry the fibers on their clothing or skin, causing their pets to inhale the microscopic fibers or ingest them by licking their owner’s skin. Also, home renovations or do-it-yourself projects can disturb asbestos fibers built into an older construction, releasing the fibers into the air to be inhaled or ingested. Insulation, fireproofing and drywall in many older homes will contain asbestos fibers. If you allow your pets to wander outdoors, they may be exposed while passing through construction sites or properties undergoing asbestos abatement. However, mesothelioma most often affects those who have been exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period of time. Pet owners who work in an asbestos-related field, such as abatement or construction, are more likely to expose their animals to asbestos fibers.
Although all mammals can suffer from mesothelioma, dogs are more likely to be affected than cats. Irish Setters, Bouvier des Flandres and German Shepherds are the most vulnerable breeds. The older a dog is, the more likely it is to contract mesothelioma. The average age for the onset of mesothelioma in dogs is eight years old, but cases have been confirmed in dogs between the ages of seven weeks and 15 years.
Symptoms of mesothelioma are generally not noticeable until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. The most common symptoms include:
Limiting your pet’s risk for exposure to asbestos is the best way to prevent mesothelioma. However, if you suspect that your pet has been exposed to asbestos or is suffering from mesothelioma, your veterinarian can perform an X-ray or a biopsy to make a diagnosis. Treatment options include surgery and chemotherapy.
The experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler understand that victims of asbestos-related diseases are suffering as a direct result of a lack of safety precautions by their employers. The harm from asbestos is far reaching, and can even affect other members of a victim’s household, including their pets. We fight to get you the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. Call us at 800-369-0899 or 215-569-4000, or submit an online contact form today. With offices conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the Delaware Valley, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.