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What to Do If You Find a Lump on Your Cat

What should you do if you find a lump on your cat?

You're petting your cat like you do every day when, suddenly, your hand moves over something different; it's a lump. What should you do?

Causes of Lumps on Cats

Lumps and bumps on a cat's skin can be caused by numerous things. The most common include:

  • Abscesses or sores from wounds.
  • Cancerous tumors such as fibrosarcoma or melanoma.
  • Non-cancerous tumors such as warts, skin tags, and cysts.

Diagnosis of Feline Skin Lumps

In order to determine what a lump or bump is, you will need to visit the veterinarian. He or she will take a thorough history from you. Questions will include when you noticed the mass, if it's changed since you first noticed it, and whether there are any other signs of illness going on like decreased appetite or lethargy.

The veterinarian will do a full physical exam, looking at and feeling the lump as well as checking out all other parts of your pet's body and taking a temperature. Sometimes, the doctor will recommend a fine needle aspirate. This procedure involves placing a needle into the lump and drawing back to remove some of its cells, which are then stained and examined under the microscope. Sometimes the veterinarian can diagnose the lump with this test, also called an FNA.

A biopsy is sometimes necessary to definitely diagnose a cat's skin bump. The biopsy may be incisional, where just a small piece of the mass is removed, or excisional, where the entire thing is surgically taken out. The sample is then sent to the lab for examination and diagnosis.

Treatment of Skin Bumps on Cats

The treatment of a cat's lump will depend on what it is. Abscesses are drained, flushed, and the cat is given antibiotics. Warts and skin tags are sometimes left alone if they're not bothersome. Cancerous masses are usually removed surgically, and then chemotherapy or radiation may be recommended.

The important thing is not to panic if you feel an unusual bump on your cat, but don't ignore it. Have a veterinarian check it out so appropriate steps can be taken.

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