Dogs Can Get Skin Cancer Too – What All Owners Should Know

Vet charity PDSA is urging pet owners to keep their animals safe in the sun after revealing its vets treated nearly 30 cases of skin cancer last year (2015).

With temperatures set to soar to as high as 25°C (77°F) this weekend, the charity’s vets are warning that it’s not just humans who need protecting from the sun’s harmful rays.

PDSA pet hospitals saw 29 cases of skin cancer between summer 2014 and 2015, the overwhelming majority of which were cats. The charity also treated dozens of cats and dogs for sunburn.

PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones has stressed the dangers of sun exposure to pets.

She said: “Most people are aware of the risks of sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer to people but most owners are unaware that our pets face the same dangers.

“Our statistics show we treat a number of pets each year suffering from these conditions. Light coloured pets and those with thin coats, such as whippets and cats with white ears and noses are at highest risk as they have less natural protection against UV radiation from the sun.

“With a little more awareness and some basic precautions, we can keep our pets safer in sunny weather. And thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery we’re able to reach more pet owners with this potentially life-saving advice.”

How To Keep Dogs Safe in the Sun

  • Limit their exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day
  • Use pet sun cream on white or thin fur, on the nose, ears and other vulnerable areas
  • See a vet urgently if you notice ulcers or sores on your pet’s skin. Early diagnosis and treatment may save your pet’s life.

If a pet is diagnosed with skin cancer, the most common form of treatment is removal of the tumour. Some forms of the disease may be treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy which may be used alone or in combination with surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment may increase a pet’s chances of survival.



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