Sadly our feline friends can be affected by a number of different types of cancer including skin cancer. In this post, our Springfield veterinarians share some information about skin cancer in cats such as the symptoms, and how it is diagnosed and treated.
The Causes of Skin Cancer in Cats
While it isn't something that we talk about often, our feline friends are also at risk of developing cancer just as we are. Sadly the cause of skin cancer is often sun exposure. When cats spend time in the sun they can get a sunburn which puts them at higher risk. The paler the fur the more at risk they are. Believe it or not, even indoor cats have the ability to develop skin cancer.
Symptoms of Cat Skin Cancer
Like humans, the common symptom of skin cancer is an anomaly on the skin such as scabs, ulcers, lesions, and strange bumps of the skin. These can range in color from black, brown, gray, pink, or red. If you see any of these issues do not panic cat's skin is not perfectly uniform so some variation will naturally exist but, do bring them up with your veterinarian during their wellness check.
What does cat skin cancer look like?
If you or your vet find a lump, bump, or other skin issue and the vet suspects it is not just the normal variation found in your cat's skin then they will proceed to the next step. A biopsy of the dermal tissue will be undertaken. The skin sample will be examined under the microscope to determine if the cells are cancerous. Other diagnostic tools used are X-rays and getting a sample of the fluid in the lymph nodes.
Treatment For Skin Cancer in Cats
Like most cancer, the best hope your pet has is early diagnostics. If the sore on the skin is not considered to be cancerous yet it can be possible to treat it with a topical medicine. If the pet cancer is a small tumor that has not spread to any of the organs it may be possible to use cryosurgery to remove the growth.
Larger tumors are more likely to require traditional surgery with the possibility of needing skin grafts. There is a chance that amputation may be required for the survival of the cat. This often means the removal of the outer ears.
In certain cases where surgery is not an option, your vet may recommend radiation or chemotherapy. Speak with your vet to learn more about which options are available for your cat.
There are a few main takeaway points when it comes to skin cancer in cats. These are:
- Cats. like humans and other animals, can develop skin cancer
- You should reach out to your vet at the first sign of skin issues
- The sooner your cat's condition is diagnosed the more likely that treatment will be successful
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.