Pets could be at risk for skin cancer

- It's that time of the year. Temperatures are heating up in Arizona, and people are advised to protect their skin from the sun. While being exposed the summer heat can be unbearable for people at times, the same goes for our furry friends.

"The thing we have to remember is our pet love us so much, they are going to do what we ask them to do and they are going to do it without complaint until they can't do it anymore," said Dr. Leo Egar, Chief Veterinarian at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control.

A misconception some people may have is that a dog's fur can protect their skin from the sun, but along with heat-related illnesses, skin cancer is a disease that can also affect animals, and pets are more at risk in desert communities.

"Oftentimes, the lighter coated dogs, they love to sit out and sun bathe, they love the sun on their belly, but we got to moderate that, or we have to protect them with sunblock or cream, because we do see higher rates of skin cancer in those pups," said Dr. Egar.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can put our pets at higher risk

"The early symptoms are often very very subtle. If we think about that dog playing ball it may be as simple as they have a little less of a spring in their step," said Dr. Egar. He went on to say that diseases like skin cancer and heat-related illnesses could be increasing, due to the active outdoor lifestyle. 

"The emergency rooms, you see one or two heat injuries a day easily, and that's not taking into account all the ones that the family practitioners are seeing, and all the other heat exposures we have out there," said Dr. Egar

People should keep an eye on warning signs. It's good to often check on your dogs for any lumps on their bodies, and if you find something unusual, it's best to always consult with a doctor.

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