hen packing a bag for the beach, most people consider a bottle or two of sunscreen an essential item to toss in with their summer reading and oversized towels. The sun is, after all, a major risk factor for the development of skin cancer, and even avid beachgoers know to avoid sunburns and overexposure to damaging rays. But what about our pets? Should you slather sunscreen on your dog before taking him out for a walk? Or pull the shade down on that sunbeam your cat loves to nap in? Like people, pets do get skin cancer. But our pets don’t suffer the same degree of risk from sun exposure that we do — with two notable exceptions. barks feature “We see a correlation between UV light exposure and the development of squamous cell carcinoma in cats with light skin pigmentation,” says Esther Chon, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), and Morris Animal Foundation Fellow and researcher. “This tumor type typically shows up as lesions on the top of the nose, tips of the ears or around the eyes. Sun exposure may play a similar role in dogs that develop cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas, or those on the skin.” Another skin tumor — cutaneous hemangiosarcoma — has been associated with UV light exposure in dogs and tends to be found in dogs with minimal pigmentation and thin hair coats. Fortunately, this tumor type accounts for a relatively small percentage of skin tumors in dogs, notes Dr. Chon.
Surf and Turf Issue
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