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Mast Cell Tumors in Cats

Mast Cell Tumors in Cats and Treatment At Jane Animal Hospital


Mast cell tumors are one of the most common skin cancers in cats. They are typically more common in dogs, but they account for approximately 20 percent of tumors in cats. Fortunately, 90 percent of these tumors are benign and treatable with soft tissue repairs. If your cat has a small lump, it’s important to get it checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible. The Jane Animal Hospital in Toronto can diagnose and care for your cat.

Mast Cell Tumors in Cats

What are Mast Cell Tumors?

Mast cells are part of a healthy immune system. They are a type of white blood cell that can sometimes become a tumor. There are two types of mast cell tumors: cutaneous and visceral. Cutaneous tumors affect the skin, while visceral tumors affect the internal organs.

Symptoms of Mast Cell Tumors

The types of symptoms your cat experiences depend on the location of the tumor. Lymph nodes surrounding the tumor may be inflamed and enlarged. Your pet may run a low-grade fever, and the tumor may be slightly itchy due to the higher levels of histamines. Wide-spread mast cell cancer can cause an enlarged liver and spleen, and your pet may experience vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea depending on the stage of the disease.

Diagnosing Mast Cell Tumors

Your veterinarian will likely test the tumor by removing cells using a fine needle biopsy. These cells are examined in a special laboratory by a veterinary pathologist under a microscope to help identify their type. The pathologist submits a report that indicates whether the tumor is benign or cancerous. Upon discovery, your veterinarian can help you determine the best course of action for your pet.

Available Treatment

Surgery is the treatment of choice for mast cell tumors whether they are benign or cancerous. Chemotherapy and radiation are used when cells are cancerous. Both of these treatments can have uncertain outcomes, so they are used with careful consideration, especially if your pet is extremely sick or elderly. Some mast cell tumors are temporary overgrowths that may go away on their own, especially is they are present in lymph nodes. In this case, your veterinarian may keep a close watch for a few months to see if the tumor shrinks or starts to grow.

Contact Jane Animal Hospital in Toronto, ON!

If you suspect your pet has a tumor and is in need of soft tissue repairs by a veterinarian, contact the Jane Animal Hospital in Toronto at 416-762-5558 to schedule an appointment or to find out more about our treatment options. 



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