Sunburn in cats

Q: Do cats get sunburn? What are the symptoms?

A: Most animals have hair or fur that protect them from the sun, but they all have a few areas that have less or no hair that can get sunburn if it is exposed to the sun. Cats and dogs who have no pigmentation in their skin (white cats and dogs) are even more predisposed to getting sunburn. If you have a cat with pink skin on the nose, eyes and ears, she will be more likely to get sunburn on these areas. The areas will become red and ulcerated and the ear tips may start to curl. If these areas are not treated and kept out of the sun they can develop into cancer. To prevent this, all animals with ‘fair’ skin should have sunblock applied to the exposed areas regularly and they should be kept out of the sun as much as possible, especially during the hotter times of the day. You can get sunblock for animals from your vet or you can use sunblock that is made for babies that does not have an alcohol base.

Dr Vanessa Mcclure, veterinarian

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