When summer approaches, or in some parts of Australia all year dogs will bespending more time outdoors. But while pet parents may be under the impressionthat dogs are protected from the sun by their fur, this is not the case. Justlike humans, dogs can suffer from skin cancer. Pet parents should know thesymptoms, treatments and prevention tactics for this scary health condition.
Skin tumors are the most common type of tumor found in dogs, according toWebMD Pet. While not all canine skin cancers are caused by sun exposure,damage caused by sunburns can still put them at a greater risk for thisdisease. Areas on a dog’s body that are not covered with fur, such as the noseand ears, are more likely to experience sun damage. Dogs with less fur andcoats that are thin and lighter in color are also less shielded from the sun.
Certain breeds are more susceptible to squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skincancer that often develops from sun damage. These breeds include Keeshonds,Standard Schnauzers, Basset Hounds, Collies, Dalmatians, Bull Terriers andBeagles. The age group most likely to develop this cancer is 6-10 years old.
Different types of skin cancer have different appearances. Malignant dogmelanomas are often dark in color and occur in the mouth, on the lips, intoenail beds and on foot pads—they are sometimes misdiagnosed as footinfections. Squamous cell carcinomas can look like warts—they are raised andfirm. They often appear on the abdomen and around the genitals. If they are onthe feet, they can cause a painful limp. Mast cell tumors can develop intoinflamed, open sores. They are usually found on a dog’s trunk.
There are skin cancer treatment options for canines that mirror those forhumans. Tumors can be removed surgically. Chemotherapy and/or radiationtreatment is often used in conjunction with surgery. There’s even a vaccinethat can be administered to cause a dog’s immune system to attack tumorcells—this method has been helpful for dogs with oral melanoma.
Pet parents should have their veterinarians check out any new growths on adog’s skin. They can also take precautions to prevent skin cancer in the firstplace. They can apply sunscreen specially formulated for dogs such asWarren London Dog Sunscreen. They should test any sunblock on a smallarea of the pet’s skin first to make sure there’s no bad reaction and focus onsun-sensitive areas such as the nose, around the lips, the tips of the ears,the groin and the stomach without getting any in the eyes.
Pet parents can also limit their dog’s time outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,which is the time for peak sun exposure. If dogs are spending the day outside,they can wear sun protection garments like EzyDog’s Rashies , which aremade from fast-drying, stretchable fabric that provides 50+ UV protection andprevents heat rash. With these methods in mind, pet parents can keep theirpooches safe during summer fun.
Source: Hannah Miller Pet Business
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