How Asbestos Affects Your Dog

Asbestos is a highly dangerous compound made up of multiple types of particles. It used to be common in home and building structures because it is strong, durable, and fire-resistant. Unfortunately, it has also been known to cause mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. While it is more commonly associated with humans, this type of cancer can also affect dogs. Here are some things to know about asbestos exposure to dogs and the consequences of that exposure. 

How do dogs get exposed to asbestos?

This is one of the bigger questions asked when a dog or other pet is exposed to asbestos. There are two different ways that a dog can become exposed to the dangerous particles of asbestos. The first way is directly, which occurs when the asbestos particles are released into the air. This is the most common way for humans to get it as well. For example, if you are pulling asbestos tiles from your roof, and some of the particles end up in the air low to the ground, the dog might run past and inhale those particles. The dog can also get it through what it known as secondary exposure, which occurs when the dog is around someone with asbestos on their skin or clothing, which are then transferred to the dog.

What are some symptoms to look for?

One thing to note is that the symptoms of asbestos exposure with dogs is similar to that of humans. The symptoms often begin with obvious breathing or lung problems, such as shortness of breath. If you notice that when you take your dog for its daily walk and suddenly can't make it the entire way without stopping to breathe properly, that can be a sign of lung problems associated with mesothelioma. The dog might also have spots on its body that are hard lumps. Some other symptoms include having abdominal discomfort and lower appetite, extreme weight loss, and frequent coughing. Even if these symptoms are not due to asbestos-related illnesses, they are still good reasons to visit your veterinarian. 

How do you prevent it?

If you believe you might have asbestos in your home, it is important that you get it tested right away. An asbestos removal company will do the testing for you and remove the materials if necessary. Asbestos is often found in materials like drywall, flooring tiles, plumbing, roofing materials, and insulation. Make sure you keep your family and pets away from the area when it is being tested. Having the materials removed is the best way to prevent exposure to your dog. Even if you don't have reason to believe there is asbestos in the home, testing an older home prior to purchasing it is always a good idea.