Mast Cell Tumors in Cats
If you are petting your cat and you hit a little bump, this might be something you need to talk to your veterinarian about. In some cases, these bumps could be mast cell tumors, which could lead to a lot more difficult times ahead if it is not treated. The good news is that many of these masses aren't actually something to worry about a lot, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Mast cells are a type of white blood cells that cats have, and they can turn into a tumor on the skin (a cutaneous tumor) or they could be inside your cat affecting his internal organs, (visceral tumor). Many people hear the word "tumor" and immediately worry that their pet might have cancer. Fortunately, most tumors do exist on the surface, and the vast majority of those are non-cancerous. You can maintain your cat’s health by continuing their regular visits to their Oakland Park veterinarian.
How Mast Cell Tumors Affect Your Cat
In most instances, cutaneous mast cell tumors are diagnosed in cats using a fine needle in order to gather cells to study under a microscope. Diagnosing visceral mast cell tumors can be harder to define. Because these are internal, diagnosis is often dependent on the cat owner and their vet noticing changes and behavior and other symptoms. Internal organs may seem enlarged, and your cat may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. In many cases, both internal and external tumors may be present and their development can come in several stages.
- Stage 1 - A single, noncancerous tumor
- Stage 2- A single cancerous tumor that has begun spreading to surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage 3 - Multiple skin tumors, or a large tumor that has begun to grow under the skin
- Stage 4 - When the tumor has caused cancer to spread into internal organs or the blood.
Defending Against Mast Cell Tumors
Depending on when they are caught, mast cell tumors in cats can be anything from annoying to devastating. In the earliest stage, they may be removed quickly, and the cat can be monitored. Later on, cats may need more surgery or chemotherapy in order to decrease any discomfort from the disease. In advanced stages, you and your veterinarian may need to make end of life choices for your pet. Pet parents can help by staying on top of monitoring for early signs of the condition. When tumors are found, about half occur on the cat's trunk or around their genital area, another 40% occur on the legs or paws, and the remaining 10% are on the head or neck. Even if your cat is not displaying other symptoms, it is important to alert your veterinarian of any odd growths on your cat so proper diagnosis and treatment can begin.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
At Oakland Park Animal Hospital we are committed to keeping your cat, and all your pets happy and healthy. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact Oakland Park Animal Hospital in Oakland Park, FL at (954) 731-4228.