My 7 year old boxer is all white and suffers from skin problems as noted in the test results. The summer months are the most difficult whereby the skin on his stomach becomes rough and very red. He has been on antibiotic therapy, which helps for a while, and is given the oral Vitamin A at 10,000 IU BID as recommended. For my part, I put aloe-vera on his stomach and sometimes spray SPF-75 on his ears and stomach.
The comments from his Veternarian indicate that he is at risk for skin cancer in the future. Are there any preventative treatments that I can pursue to help him?
You might consider buying a light weight cover up for your dog so the sun doesn't directly contact his skin. I also recommend an organic grain free diet or home made diet and distilled drinking water. This helps to eliminate allergens and chemicals from the food and water sources. Boosting his internal immunity with a balanced natural vitamin-mineral supplement would also be helpful. Supplementing your dog for example with Vitamin A as you are doing above is fine although I have had wonderful results providing a comprehensive vitamin supplement so that all the nutrients work can together synergistically inside your dogs body to boost internal immunity and promote overall health and wellness and combat allergies. I am glad to discuss this with you in detail if this would be helpful.
Dr Carol Osborne, DVM
The best treatment for solar dermatitis is sun avoidance, especially during the hot sun hours of 10am-5pm. Vit A can help reduce the appearance of sun damage on the skin, but does nothing to prevent ongoing sun damage if sunlight exposure is not prevented. There are dog sunsuits available (www.designerdogwear.com), and if sunscreen is applied it needs to be applied several times per day. With the prior skin damage indicated on biopsy, he is at risk for the development of skin cancer. Watch him closely for any non-healing crusts, scabs, ulcers or bumps and if lesions develop then they should be removed ASAP. When skin cancer is caught early, it can be cured with surgical removal. In dogs with many pre-cancerous skin lesions I have had success with some of the topical human products used for sun induced skin disease, and so if your dog develops many lesions you can talk to your veterinarian about these options or about referral to a veterinary dermatologist for further care (www.acvd.org).
Kimberly Coyner, DVM
Diplomate American College of Veterinary Dermatology
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