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