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Mesothelial tissue is the squamous-celled layer of the epithelium that covers the surface of serous membranes such as the peritoneum, pericardium, and pleura. Time from exposure to development of mesothelioma in humans is typically >25 years. In contrast, dogs with mesothelioma are typically 9 to 11 years of age, indicating much shorter latency.
Pet dogs with spontaneous mesothelioma were used to identify environmental exposures that might increase their owner’s risk of asbestos-related disease.* A case-control study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School from April 1977 to December 1981. Eighteen histologically confirmed canine mesotheliomas were diagnosed during this time period. Sixteen owners of mesothelioma cases and 32 owners of age, breed, and sex-matched controls were interviewed to determine their occupation and their dogs’ medical history, life style, diet, and exposure to asbestos.
* Glickman, LT et. al. Mesothelioma in pet dogs associated with exposure of their owners to asbestos. Environ Research 1983; 32:305-313.