HERE COMES THE SUN

CER­TAIN BREEDS ARE AT HIGHER RISK OF SKIN CAN­CER ... DOES YOUR PET NEED EX­TRA PRO­TEC­TION?

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - PETS - WORDS: DR KYRA CRAFT Dr Kyra Craft BVSc (Hons), Wet Noses Mo­bile Vet head vet­eri­nar­ian, wet­noses.com.au

The Gold Coast al­ready has that sum­mer feel ... and pre­dic­tions are that it’s go­ing to be a scorch­ing hot sea­son. Pet own­ers, please get your pets sum­mer ready!

The UV in­dex read­ing is par­tic­u­larly high over the next few months, so it’s su­per im­por­tant to Slip Slop Slap and that goes for our pets as well. Be sun smart and pro­tect your pet’s skin as much as pos­si­ble.

As Aussies, we are all very aware that skin can­cer is ex­tremely com­mon and can be deadly se­ri­ous.

Not sur­pris­ingly, an­i­mals have a sim­i­lar skin struc­ture to ours and as such can de­velop skin can­cer, too – it ac­counts for 5 per cent of all skin tu­mours in dogs.

A nasty can­cer known as a squa­mous cell car­ci­noma (SCC) is usu­ally seen in older pets with a his­tory of long-term UVA/UVB ex­po­sure. In other words, pets who have en­joyed play­ing and bask­ing in the sun through­out their life.

The UV ex­po­sure is even higher for pets liv­ing at higher al­ti­tudes.

A squa­mous cell car­ci­noma of the skin is char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally ma­lig­nant and can be very in­va­sive within sur­round­ing tis­sue.

If you notice an un­usual non-heal­ing scabby or dis­coloured le­sion on your pet, act quickly and seek vet ad­vice.

Also, be aware that your pet pal may be at a higher risk of de­vel­op­ing skin can­cer sim­ply be­cause of ge­net­ics.

Cer­tain breeds of dog carry a higher risk, in­clud­ing those with white skin and a shorter coat. White bull ter­ri­ers, box­ers, poo­dles, dal­ma­tians, whip­pets and bea­gles can be in this cat­e­gory.

As vets, we of­ten see gin­ger and white coloured cats de­velop skin can­cer – the tips of ears and the nose are com­mon ar­eas due to the lack of pig­men­ta­tion.

Pro­tec­tion against UV rays is the only way to pre­vent skin can­cer in our pets.

There are plenty of an­i­mal-friendly sun­screens on the mar­ket.

Ap­ply to the tips of ears and nose and other hair­less parts of the body, in­clud­ing on the belly. Avoid out­door ac­tiv­i­ties in the mid­dle of the day and, if pos­si­ble, re­strict sun­bathing for hours on end.

Get out and ac­tive with you pets this sum­mer – just be sun smart.

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