Dogs Can Get Sunburn Too
Excessive exposure to sunlight not only causes painful sunburn, it also increases the risk of skin cancer. Cutaneous Lymphosarcoma is a type of skin cancer. Lymposarcoma is the third most common cancer in dogs. Breeds most prone include Boxers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Scotties, and Westies. Most are six to nine years old. Males and females are at equal risk. The dog’s skin gets flaky, scaly, red, and itchy. Painful skin lumps may develop and ulcerate. The footpads and gums can also be involved. The cancer can spread to the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
In high mountain areas where ultraviolet (UV) is especially strong, Pointers, Bull Terriers, Pit Bulls and Dalmatians are often affected with skin cancer.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
* Diagnostics include blood and urine tests as well as a biopsy of the affected tissues. Blood and urine help provide information as to the effects of the cancer on other body functions, as well as the dog’s ability to undergo chemotherapy. An ultrasound helps to detect spread of the cancer to other areas (i.e. liver, spleen, bone marrow). Chest x-rays help to rule out lung involvement. Withdrawing a few cells from the bone marrow (called a bone marrow aspirate) detects cancer spread to the bone marrow. The most appropriate treatment depends on several factors, but for most dogs chemotherapy is best. Eighty percent of dogs treated go into remission at 8-10 months with an average survival time of one year.
* Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight. Stay indoors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is hottest. Use sunblock with 30 plus protection for areas with thin and light colored hair.
Herbal lotions made of jojoba, aloe vera or hypericum help moisturize dry, sunburned skin.
Use Cantharis if sores are present from sunburn. Silica 6c – one pellet every other day for three days is useful with Lymphosarcoma. Phosphorus 6c – same dose as for Silica, 6c is useful if skin tumors bleed.