Mesothelioma in cats: the cause, symptoms, treatment

Mesothelioma in cats, a rare tumor in felines and mainly affects the elderly. Let’s see what the causes, symptoms and treatment are.

Their main functions are to line the body cavity, cover and protect the internal organs and facilitate movement within the body cavity (coelom).

It is a rare tumor that mainly affects men but in certain cases it does not even spare animals, including cats.

Cause of mesothelioma in cats

The main cause, the best known one for the formation of mesothelioma in cats is exposure to asbestos.

‘Asbestos is a set of natural fibrous minerals, compounds from substances called silicates (or silicon salts) in association with various metals (aluminum, iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium).

Over the years, it has been used for the construction of roofing and flooring materials; in railway carriages; as an insulation material; for furnace linings; for the production of containers and pipes for the storage or distribution of drinking water and also for the protective suits of the workers.

Finally, then starting from 1994 Italy, thanks to the law n. 257 of 1992, the extraction , import, marketing and production of asbestos and all products containing this mineral was prohibited .

But as it is easy to deduce, today it is still very present in Italy, so much so that it is still heavily toxic for humans and animals.


The cat who is affected by mesothelioma exhibits the following symptoms:

  • vomiting in cats
  • fatigue
  • abdominal enlargement / swelling with fluid accumulation
  • intolerance to exercise
  • trouble breathing
  • swollen scrotum
  • muffled heart, lung, and abdominal (ventral) sounds
  • weight loss, nausea in cats.

These signals, not being completely clear and specific of the pathology, make the necessary investigations necessary, but in any case the animal must be transported, as soon as possible, to the veterinarian or to the clinic for control.

Diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma in cats

In order to establish a diagnosis, the veterinarian will need to carry out a thorough physical examination on the animal, ask the owner questions about the basic health history and investigate the onset of symptoms and possible accidents that could have led to this condition.

Then the assessment will begin with the following exams:

  • complete blood profile
  • chemical blood profile
  • complete blood count
  • urine analysis
  • x-rays of the chest and abdominal cavities.

In addition, the doctor will also take a sample of fluid for cytological (microscopic) examination of the fluid.

Finally, for the cellular examination in the laboratory and for the removal of mesothelial masses, he will perform exploratory surgery, or a laparoscopy (surgery of the abdomen).

Once the diagnosis has been established , depending on the condition of the animal, the doctor will evaluate whether to treat it on an outpatient basis or to proceed with hospitalization.

Hospitalization occurs primarily if the cat has excess fluid in any of its body cavities due to mesothelioma, such as in the chest or abdomen.

In this case the animal will have to undergo drainage for a short period of time.

If fluid has collected in the pericardial sac instead of the chest or abdomen, surgery will be required to relieve the pressure.

Generally, the vet evaluates the possibility of surgery and then considers chemotherapy treatment for the cat.

Follow-up visits with the use of X-ray imaging will be frequent, to be sure that mesothelioma has not metastasized and to test the health of the animal’s kidneys.

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1 thought on “Mesothelioma in cats: the cause, symptoms, treatment”

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