Skin cancer is a sad reality that can affect our beloved feline friends. This post will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.
It's easy to forget that your fuzzy friend is not just a sweet ball of fur but has skin and therefore can get skin cancer just like the rest of us. 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. Even if your cat is an indoor cat they are not exempt from 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.
How to Diagnose a Cat
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.
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.
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