Our pets need to be 'sun-smart' too!

We all know the importance of protecting ourselves from the harmful effects of UV radiation, but do you know that we need to protect our pets from the sun too? Noobs is a nine year old Jack Russell Terrier who was presented to us after his owner had noticed a lump on his belly. A fine needle aspirate of the mass was consistent with infection and Noobs was started on a two week course of antibiotics. At the end of the course, the lump appeared less red and swollen but had not resolved.

The following week Noobs had a general anaesthetic to remove the lump. The lump was sent to the laboratory for histopathology to determine the nature of the lump. The report was returned and it was determined that the lump was a cutaneous haemangiosarcoma.

Cutaneous haemangiosarcomas may appear as lumps or spots on the skin. They are considered as skin cancers as there is a strong correlation between UV radiation and the development of these skin lesions. Cutaneous haemangiosarcomas do not tend to spread throughout the body and can be cured if the lump is removed completely.

Noobs recovered well from his general anaesthetic and lump removal. The histopathology report confirmed the lump has been removed completely. Noob's owner is now aware of the importance of protecting him from the sun and will continue to monitor for any further lumps in the future.  

Tips for a sun-smart pet:

  1. Keep your pet inside or in the shade at times of peak UV exposure (10am -3pm).
  2. Do not allow your pet to lie in the sun - either outdoors or inside beside the window.
  3. Apply pet-safe sunscreen to hairless or pale coloured skin (especially on the ear tips, nose and belly).
  4. Regularly check your pets and have any lumps assessed by your vet.