Sadly, our feline friends face the risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetime. In this post, our Toledo vets discuss symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for skin cancer in cats.
Causes of Skin Cancer
It's easy to forget that our feline friends have skin under all that soft fur. Therefore, they can get skin cancer just like the rest of us. Sadly, sun exposure is often the culprit.
When cats spend time in the sun, they can get sunburnt, which leaves them at higher risk. The paler their fur, the more at risk they are. Even if your cat is an indoor cat, they are not exempt from skin cancer.
Like people, the common symptom of skin cancer for cats is an anomaly on the skin such as ulcers, lesions, strange bumps and scabs on the skin.
These may range in color from pink or red to brown, gray and black. If you see any of these issues, there's not reason to panic as cat's skin is not perfectly uniform, so some variation will naturally exist. However, do have these things checked by your veterinarian during your cat's wellness exam.
How Cats are Diagnosed with Skin Cancer
If you or your vet discover a lump, bump or other skin issue and the vet suspects it's not just a normal variation on your cat's skin, they'll take the next step of undertaking a biopsy of the dermal (skin) tissue. This sample will be examined under a microscope to determine whether the cells are cancerous. Other diagnostic tools used may include X-rays and taking a sample of the fluid in the lymph nodes.
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 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.
If the tumor cannot be safely or completely removed your vet may recommend chemotherapy or radiation.
- Cats can get skin cancer
- Ask your vet if you find anything unusual or new on your cat’s skin
- Early detection and treatment can lead to a high chance of survival and more years with your furry friend
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.