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Nasal Solar Dermatitis in Dogs

Collie dog scratching in a field


As the irritation continues hair falls out and the skin begins to ooze and crust. With continued exposure, the skin breaks down. In advanced cases the entire surface of the nose becomes ulcerated and the tip itself may disappear, leaving unsightly tissue that bleeds easily. Skin cancer may develop.


Symptoms include a lack of black pigment on the nose. With exposure to sunlight, the skin at the border between the muzzle and nose becomes irritated.

Affected Breeds

Nasal solar dermatitis commonly affects Collies, Australian Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and other related breeds. It is caused by lack of pigment on the nose and prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Lack of pigment is hereditary in some dogs, but it can be acquired through skin diseases and scarring.


Treatment and prevention includes keeping your dog indoors when it’s sunny outside and/or applying sunscreen or medicated ointment in order to reduce discomfort.

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