Apply sunscreen, stay out of the sun… these are easy solutions to prevent sun damage in humans. But in pets it is not that easy, and preventing sun damage if you have a pet with no melanin pigment in their eyelids, is even more crucial.
Pets with normal pigmented eyelids have melanin-containing cells which helps in filtering UV rays of the sun, and they have a naturally lower risk of skin damage and skin cancers brought on by the sun.
However, the sun’s UV rays can can cause intense damage to pets with no or reduced melanin pigment in their eyelids, putting them at at an increased risk for skin cancers, skin inflammation/sunburn and skin infections and irritations.
A few examples of pets at higher risk are:
- Jack Russels
- Bull terriers
- Staffodshire Bull Terriers
- Border Collies
- Crested dogs
Studies have shown that tattooing around the eye with black ink could assist in reducing the chance of skin cancer in those areas. Van Wijk Street Vet and professional tatoo artist Serah Cue have partenered to offer this groundbreaking procedure to our local pale skinned pets in Nelspruit.
Sarah uses a very low PAH (low-polycyclic aromatic hydocarbon) carbon based pigment and uses state-of-the-art equipment that is soundless and portable to prevent unnecessary wires when performing the procedure alongside the vet.
Animal tattooing is done at our animal hospital and the dog is put under anesthesia for the duration of the procedure. We provide the pup with an aftercare beeswax ointment – free of chemicals – to prevent the skin from drying out and to keep the skin soft, healthy and clean. We will also prescribe an anti-inflammatory. The dog is fitted with a buster collar and will not be allowed to swim or be washed for a few days afterwards. A check-up appointment will be made if deemed necessary.
Please note: This procedure cannot be performed if there are already cancer lesions on the eyelids. Thus, tattooing should be done sooner rather than later, and we suggest that the pet undergoes tattooing with his planned castration/sterilization.