Understanding Pleural Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare disease that affects the lining of the lungs. It is caused by asbestos exposure. When tiny asbestos fibers are inhaled by someone, they can get stuck in the lining of the lungs and cause inflammation. This inflammation leads to the growth of tumors.
Mesothelioma Strikes California Sea Lion Population
Most research on this rare cancer is done on humans, but mesothelioma has been seen in some domestic animals like dogs and cattle.
A 25-year-old California sea lion in an aquarium was sent to the veterinarian after showing signs of not eating, being tired, having abnormal skin bulges, and breathing through her mouth. This sea lion ended up passing away.
During the autopsy, the veterinarian found several small, yellowish-white lumps in her chest and lungs. When they looked at the lumps closely, they saw unusual cells that were growing in an abnormal way. Based on these findings, the veterinarian diagnosed the sea lion with pleural mesothelioma.
California sea lions are predisposed to growing tumors in different organs. There have been cases of this animal developing urogenital, hepatic, and mammary gland carcinomas. But this is the first time a California sea lion has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
Takami Y, Tanaka M, Morita M, et al. Pleural mesothelioma in a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) [published online ahead of print, 2023 Aug 3]. J Vet Med Sci. 2023;10.1292/jvms.22-0457. doi:10.1292/jvms.22-0457. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jvms/advpub/0/advpub_22-0457/_article