Author(s): Glickman LT, Domanski LM, Maguire TG, Dubielzig RR, Churg A. Mesothelioma in pet dogs associated with exposure of their owners to asbestos. Environ Res. 1983 Dec;32(2):305-13.
Journal: Environmental Research, Volume 32, Issue 2, Dec 1983
Pet dogs with spontaneous mesothelioma were used to identify environmental exposures that might increase their owner’s risk of asbestos-related disease. These animals share man’s domicile environment, yet do not indulge in activities (e.g., smoking, working) which confound interpretation of epidemiologic studies. Eighteen histologically confirmed canine mesotheliomas were diagnosed at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, from April 1977 to December 1981. Sixteen owners of cases and 32 owners of age, breed, and sex-matched controls were interviewed to determine their occupation and medical history and their dog’s medical history, life style, diet, and exposure to asbestos. An asbestos-related occupation or hobby of a household member and use of flea repellents on the dog were significantly associated with mesothelioma. In addition, there was a trend indicating an increased risk of mesothelioma with an urban residence. Lung tissue from three dogs with mesothelioma and one dog with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung had higher levels of chrysotile asbestos fibers than lung tissue from control dogs. These findings indicate that well-designed epidemiological studies of spontaneous tumors in pet animals may provide insight into the role of environmental factors in human cancers and serve as a valuable sentinel model to identify environmental health hazards for humans.