Mesothelioma in dogs

What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare tumor arising from the lining cells of the peritoneal, pleural, and pericardial cavities or the tunica vaginalis of the testis. The tumors are pink in colour and are firm. They are scattered in the body cavity and are nodular and multiple.
Microscopically, the mesothelial cells consist of diffuse collection of cell resembling epithelial cell and a core of fibrous tissue is present. Acidophilic granular cytoplasm and a big vesicular nucleus is seen. Numerous blood vessel traverse within the tumor mass and the tumor does not invade the blood or lymph vessels.

Which dogs are highly susceptible to mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is highly susceptible in older dogs and the average age of the onset is usually 8 years. Mesothelioma has however been recorded in puppies as young as 7 weeks and as old as 15 year old dogs. Mesotheliomas are more common in male than in female dogs. Several breeds of dogs like German Shepherd, Bouvier des Flandres, Irish Setter are at greater risk for tumor development.

What are the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma in dogs?
The signs and symptoms found in dogs suffering from mesothelioma are as follows
(a) Cough, abnormally rapid breathing
(b) Respiratory distress, difficulty in breathing,shortness of breath
(c) Difficulty in moving, exercise intolerance
(e) Abdominal discomfort, sleeping problem
(f) Lethargy, vomiting , weight loss, inability to eat
(g) Urinary abnormalities

How can dogs get mesothelioma?
Dogs may get mesothelioma from licking asbestos fibers off the ground. Dogs can inhale asbestos brought in by their owners, Dogs also encounter asbestos at old building that is being demolished, construction site in towns that are near an asbestos mine or a shipyard. Dogs exposed to pesticide powders may also develop mesotheliomas.

Diagnosis of mesothelioma:
For diagnosis of mesothelioma conventional X-rays is done and if some abnormalities are found in the dog's pleural area then a CT scan or ultrasound is done. Fluids around the lung, urinalysis, blood count and a biochemical tests are done. Biopsy is also done and in this a piece of the tissue from the pleural area is removed and examined.

Treatment of mesothelioma
Repeat thoracentesis is done to remove the fluid from around the lungs. Intracavitary chemotherapy is preferred over thoracentesis and in this a chemo drugs is implanted directly into the affect area. Intracavitary cisplatin is currently the treatment of choice for canine mesothelioma and is recommended by most veterinary oncologists. However mesothelioma in dogs usually are rapidly progressive and has a grave prognosis. Mesothelioma treatment for dogs is quite limited as many dog owners choose to euthanize the animal when they find out he/she has a fatal form of tumor.





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