Did you know that our furry little friends are also affected by skin cancer?
Like humans, dogs are also affected by skin cancer. The skin is the most common site of cancer in dogs and most frequently occurs in those that are between 6 to 14 years of age. Estimates show that for every 100,000 dogs, 450 are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer.
The risk factors in dogs are also similar to that of humans – prolonged exposure to sunlight, light coloured skin or thin and/or light coloured fur puts them at a higher risk of sun damage.
Most skin cancers in dogs appear as a lump in or underneath the skin, or as a sore that does not heal. There may also be redness to the skin and a flaky appearance. Dogs may chew or scratch the area due to discomfort or itchiness as a result of the cancer.
Benign tumours are usually slow growing and painless, with well-defined boundaries and are freely movable. In contrast malignant tumours tend to be rapidly growing and often ulcerated with ill-defined boundaries.
As with humans, the ability to treat skin cancer successfully depends upon the type of cancer and how advanced it is at the time of diagnosis. Whether human or a furry little friend, the message remains the same: check your skin regularly for changes!