Sun damage in dogs

Meet Snow, a 10-year-old Greyhound who was named after his beautiful snow-coloured fur. Unfortunately for Snow, his lovely colour also increases his risk of skin damage caused by the sun. Snow has been diagnosed with “solar-induced cutaneous haemangiosarcomas”, which are tumours of the blood vessels in the skin, most often caused by sun damage.

This cancer appears as a red or purple bump on the surface of the skin and is most commonly found on the belly and hindlimbs. For Snow, as his tumours were large and bleeding, they were required to be surgically removed.

Sun avoidance is the best way to prevent this cancer from occurring. It is important to restrict the amount of time spent outside or dress them in bodysuits to protect their skin. Dog-specific sunscreens are also available. Keep an eye on all skin lumps, bumps and spots – and have these assessed by a veterinarian, especially if they appear suddenly or grow in size.

Written by Sarah Thorton – Final Year Veterinary Student, The University of Sydney.

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