Mesotheliomas are rare tumors derived from the cellular tissue that lines the cavities and interior structures of the body. These linings are called the epithelial linings, specifically the mesothelium. The mesothelial lining, specifically, is a membranous epithelial lining that is derived from the mesoderm cell layer, with its main functions being to line the body cavity, to cover and protect the internal organs, and to facilitate movement within the body cavity (coelom). Mesotheliomas are the result of abnormal division and replication of mesothelial cells, and their migration to other sites in the body. This cellular behavior can occur in the thoracic cavity, the abdominal cavity, the pericardial sac around the heart, and for male dogs, in the scrotum. The resultant tumors will often displace internal organs, causing gastrointestinal or cardiac symptoms. Mesotheliomas also produce a lot of fluid, making microscopic (cytologic) examination of fluid samples an extremely relevant diagnostic tool.
The German shepherd is the breed most commonly affected by mesotheliomas.
Symptoms and Types
- Trouble breathing
- Muffled heart, lung, and abdominal (ventral) sounds
- Abdominal enlargement/swelling with fluid build-up
- Large scrotum
- Exercise intolerance
Exposure to asbestos is one of the known causes for mesothelioma formation.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background health history, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. X-rays of the chest and abdominal cavities will be the most important diagnostic aid for confirming mesothelioma. Radiograph and ultrasound imaging can also be used to show effusion (escape of fluid from the vessels) or masses in the body’s cavities, and in the pericardial sac (the lining surrounding the heart).
Your doctor will also take a fluid sample for cytologic (microscopic) examination of the fluid. Exploratory surgery, or a laparoscopy (surgery of the abdomen), can be performed for removal of mesothelial masses for cellular examination in the laboratory.
All a bit of a surprise to read that
Ever wondered who was the first person who had the courage to stand up and speak against one of the world’s cheapest, most resistant and fireproof construction materials?
We did some digging and we found out that one of the first people who dared to incriminate asbestos as a source of dangerous and deadly diseases was Dr. Irving J. Selikoff.
For 30 years, from the 1960s to 1990s, America’s expert in asbestos, Dr. Selikoff, researched the dangers of this so called ‘miracle’ substance and found that as well as its many advantages it had one disadvantage that cancelled out all of the positives: it could kill.
A very controversial character, because of his claims, Dr. Selikoff is regarded both as a pioneer in asbestos epidemiology and as a demagogue who destroyed an entire industry, and who made exaggerated allegations about the dangers of the construction materials that contained asbestos. An article published in 2007, authors Jock McCulloch and Geoffrey Tweedale depicted a very thorough rendition of Dr. Selikoff reputation. When they gained access to the doctor’s personal letters and studies, they could paint a more realistic version of Dr. Selikoff’s personality.
“Nothing of any value had been written about Dr. Selikoff, despite his importance in changing public attitudes in the U.S. toward asbestos.”, Dr. McCulloch said. “Having read his letters we were both impressed by his integrity, his willingness to work with people with whom he disagreed, and his dedication to science as an open-ended enterprise”, he added.
Dr. Selikoff’s voice was heard for the first time in the ‘60s when his early researches linked asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma to asbestos exposure, after studying factory workers. This discovery was met with great opposition from both the media and the industry and it’s claims were said to be bogus and over exaggerated. It was only in the ‘80s, when a lot of factory workers credited asbestos with their lung diseases, that Dr. Selikoff was cleared of any accusation that came from the media and when the public opinion finally began to question the dangers associated with asbestos.