How to Protect Your Dog From Skin Cancer
Did you know that dogs can get skin cancer? It isn’t something we might normally think about, but it can happen. Our very own dermatologist, Dr. Nancy Silverberg, found a melanoma on her Vizsla, Buddy, when he was six months old. “I saw a dark spot on his eyelid, so I took him to my vet, and he referred us to a veterinary ophthalmologist who removed it surgically,” she says. Just like humans, melanomas in dogs are caused by long-term exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays.
Dr. Silverberg gives similar advice for dogs as well as people – watch for any dark spots that change in color or size, as well as spots that bleed or don’t heal. Dogs with lighter fur are at a greater risk, and spots often show up in areas with less fur, such as the belly. Although Dr. Silverberg notes that melanomas in dogs are generally not aggressive, if you notice suspicious spots on your dog, it is a good idea to have them checked by a veterinary specialist.
If you have noticed irregular spots on your own skin, however, it is important to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist to determine whether or not the spot is cancerous or potentially cancerous. In order to protect your furry friends (and yourself!), Dr. Silverberg says to provide shady areas and use sunscreen, especially if your dog has light skin. “Since our dog was a Viszla and they have pink noses, we applied sunscreen to his nose.” She says Buddy went on to live a long, happy, healthy life with her and her family – melanoma free.
To learn more about how to protect your skin (or your pet’s skin) from developing melanomas, or if you need to have your skin evaluated by one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact Silverberg Surgical and Medical Group today.