Mesothelioma is a type of cancer found in the lungs, heart, or abdomen. Exposure to building materials made with asbestos fibers causes this deadly disease. Not only does it affect humans, but pets can also experience a similar form of cancer for the same reason. While mesothelioma is rare in canines and felines, you should take steps to protect your dog or cat from this issue.
What Pet Owners Should Know About Asbestos
How are pets exposed?
Pets can encounter the dangerous material on your hair, skin, or clothing. If you’re in an affected environment such as a construction site or an old home, fibers can cling to you. Then your pet may inhale them, lick them off of you, or get them on their fur and later swallow them while grooming.
Pets can also be exposed when passing construction sites, or when they’re in a home that is being renovated without proper asbestos removal procedures.
Are some pets at greater risk?
Dogs are more at risk of mesothelioma than cats. Irish setters, Bouvier des Flandres, and German shepherds are at greater risk than other dogs. The largest risk factor for any animal is repeated exposure.
If you’re in an occupation where you are regularly exposed to home insulation, flooring, roof shingles, and ceiling tiles, or you live or work in an older building, your pet may be more likely to develop mesothelioma. Since the condition develops slowly, older pets are at greater risk, but even puppies and kittens can develop tumors.
What are the symptoms?
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell if a pet has been exposed to asbestos until the late stages of mesothelioma. Taking your pet to the vet regularly will give you the best understanding of their health.
In the late stages of the disease, symptoms include a cough, vomiting, changed sleeping patterns, lethargy, signs of abdominal discomfort such as avoiding touch, and difficulty breathing.
What’s the best way to protect your pet?
Avoid allowing your pet inside or near construction sites. If you think there may be dangerous materials in your home, schedule asbestos testing as soon as possible. If the test is positive, professionals can remove the material without releasing fibers into the air.
In the meantime, keep your pet away from any affected surfaces and avoid sweeping or vacuuming dust that might be contaminated. If the exposure is occurring in your work environment, talk to your employer. You may need to use protective gear and change clothing at your workplace to avoid contamination.
If you are worried about asbestos in Coastal Connecticut, including Fairfield and New Haven counties, call Astech. This full-service asbestos removal company is fully insured and licensed by the state. Their team is happy to answer questions about testing and refer you to a testing company. For questions or for a free estimate, call (203) 335-0502 or get in touch online.