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Mesothelioma in Dogs

Updated on July 20, 2012

Mesothelioma in Dogs Pictures

Courtesy for this Image goes to Pennstan
Courtesy for this Image goes to Pennstan | Source

What is Mesothelioma in dogs?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is seen in dog’s mesotherial cells that are common in lining a number of body organs and cavities. This tumor is commonly seen in the pleural, pericardial and peritoneal cavities. Mesothelioma in dogs may in certain cases be identified in the tunica vaginalis that is a lining found in the testis.

Physical appearance of Mesothelioma in dogs

If you are examining the some cancerous tissues and you suppose that you are dealing with Mesothelioma case in a dog, the tumor should be pinkish in color and may be diffuse within the cavity. These tumors are firm in consistency and present in the form of nodular like masses.

Microscopic appearance of Mesothelioma in Dogs

On microscopic the Mesothelial cells contain fibrous tissues and many blood vessels are seen to cross in a transverse pattern within the tissue mass. This type of tumor is not identified within blood vessels or lymphatic vessels. A microscopic examination also reveals a very prominent vesicular nucleus that is found in the granular cytoplasm that can also be vividly described as Acidophilic. The several blood vessels are present to provide the nutrients to the rapidly dividing cancerous cells.

Dogs Predisposed to Mesothelioma

  • Age of the Dog

Some dogs are more predisposed to Mesothelioma than other dogs and most dogs that are affected are dogs that are aged and an approximate age of 8 years as the period that Mesothelioma in dogs commences. Unlike bone cancer in dogs that is seen in dogs of all ages with 8 years age being the median age, Mesothelioma in dogs is a condition for older dogs. There are exceptional cases of Mesothelioma in dogs that have been identified in puppies and younger dogs. These cases can be attributed to increased predisposing factors in the environment that these puppies live in. If the causative factors are more prevalent in the environment Mesothelioma could affect younger dogs

  • Sex of the Dog

It is a common observation that male dogs are more predisposed to development of Mesothelioma than the female dogs.

  • Breed of the Dog

It is arguable that certain dog breeds are more predisposed to tumors, in this context there are breeds that have been seen to have high incidence of Mesothelioma. Generally breeds that are commonly seen with other tumors are more predisposed to development of Mesothelioma.

Causes of Mesothelioma in Dogs

Mesothelioma in dogs is thought to be caused by a prolonged exposure to asbestos. This exposure leads to mutation of the cells involved causing them to change their cell division pattern and consequently turn cancerous.

Risk Factors of Mesothelioma in Dogs

Mesothelioma in Dogs can therefore have the following risk factors:

  • Dog breed that is predisposed to development of cancer
  • Exposure to asbestos that may be in the environment and other products like the fungicides, herbicides and a good number of aerosols
  • Male dogs are more predisposed
  • Aging dog that is in an environment that has the causative agents of Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma in Dogs Signs and Symptoms

The following are signs and symptoms that may be indicative of Mesothelioma in dogs. This signs may be suggestive of this condition but further examination by a Veterinary Oncologist may be imperative to diagnose this condition in your dog.

Respiratory Signs and Symptoms seen in Mesothelioma in Dogs

The early signs of Mesothelioma in dogs may be confuses with respiratory signs like

  • Dog Coughing with increase rapid breathing
  • Respiratory difficulty that may be manifested as apnea
  • Dog refusing to walk and exercise intolerance
  • Your dog is no longer interest in walks and when you insist they sit or pull back the leash

Other Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma in Dogs

  • The abdomen is distended and causes the dog to strain when sleeping due to discomfort
  • General Body weakness characterized by weight loss eminent emesis and gradual mass wasting
  • Urinary system is also affected if the cancer cells spread to this area.

Mesothelioma in Dogs Diagnosis

Mesothelioma in dogs may be a difficult condition to diagnose especially when there are limited sign observed. It may be confused with other conditions that are known to show similar cardiovascular and respiratory signs. The most effective way to arrive at a definitive diagnosis of Mesothelioma in dogs is using the following technologies:

  • X-ray of the Thoracic area should reveal abnormalities with the pericardial and pleural cavities
  • Computer Tomography and Ultrasound should also be very useful for confirming the tentative diagnosis of Mesothelioma in dogs.
  • Observation, collection and analysis of fluid in the lung through microscopic cytology
  • Biochemistry and urine analysis should be effective for accessing on the spread of Mesothelioma in the dog’s body.
  • Biopsy of pleural tissues to identify presence of cancerous cells can be another reliable way of diagnosing Mesothelioma in dogs.

Mesothelioma in Dogs Treatment

If your dog is suffering from Mesothelioma it’s important you seek veterinary help in treating and management of this condition. Your vet will advice you on the best course of action, but the following are the most common approaches of treating Mesothelioma in dogs.

Thoracenteisis is a procedure that is carried out to help your dog get relief by draining the fluid that has accumulated in the lungs

Chemotherapy is another approach that is done by implanting the chemotherapeutic drugs to the cancerous area.

Intracavitary Cisplatin- This is the best approach of treating Mesothelioma in dogs and many specialists will recommend this method


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    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 

      6 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Thanks for helping us care for our dogs. Two things would be helpful - images to illustrate the visual signs, and a list of dog breeds most likely to be affected. I hope you can add those to this great article.


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