How Does Asbestos Exposure Affect Your Pets?
Nov 8, 2022
Human and animal healthcare providers have known about the toxic effects of asbestos for decades. However, the average pet owner might not know how harmful this substance can be. Since contractors stopped using the material in the late 20th century, pet parents don’t always consider asbestos exposure a concern.
The truth is that this dangerous material still lingers in buildings across the nation. You’ve likely heard commercials describing various human health symptoms, but how does asbestos exposure affect your pets? Read on to find out.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos was commonly used as a building material until the 1970s because this fiber-like substance retains heat and works well as insulation. Most contractors used asbestos as insulation and put it in ceilings, walls, and other areas of home and commercial building structures.
Signs of Asbestos Exposure in Pets
In the last few decades, healthcare professionals have linked asbestos to human health conditions like mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos exposure affects your pets in similar and different ways. Keep in mind that animals show signs of poisoning sooner than humans, so keep your eye out for these symptoms.
Asbestos exposure makes it difficult for your pets to take deep breaths. Usually, the material causes fluid to build up in the lungs. Asbestos can also cause mesothelioma, a devastating cancer that wreaks havoc on the respiratory system, in animals.
Mesothelioma isn’t just a lung disease; it can also manifest in the gastrointestinal tract. Asbestos exposure causes tumors to form in the stomach and large and small intestines. Watch for excess coughing, vomiting, bloody stools, and tenderness around and below your pet’s ribcage.
How Owners Can Protect Their Pets
So, what are pet owners supposed to do about asbestos? It’s not like you can see it with the naked eye and simply avoid it. If you suspect asbestos contamination in your own home, hire an inspection service—you should do this anyway if your home was built before the 1960s.
If your preferred boarding or grooming facility appears to be located in an older building, verify that the proper steps for asbestos removal have been taken. Seek veterinary attention as soon as your furry friend’s health or behavior changes; if you catch the problem quickly, you can reduce many painful symptoms.
Luckily, asbestos exposure is becoming less common as time passes. However, you can never be too careful. Knowing the signs of exposure will help you and your four-legged friends have a long and happy life together.
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.