Nothing does justice to a patch of sunshine like a cat. We all know how much cats love to bask in the sun, but this is not always a good thing! Cats with light colored skin are unfortunately prone to developing a type of cat skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The areas that are most commonly affected are the nose and ears.
The first thing most people notice is redness, ulceration and scabbing of these areas. The lesions eventually progress and become thickened, lumpy and may start to bleed. The lesions can get infected and pus may be produced.
The good thing about squamous cell carcinoma in cats is, while they are locally destructive, they are extremely slow to spread and metastases is not often a problem.
Tiny lesions can be treated with electrocautery by your veterinarian, and this may slow the progression. Radiation therapy may help in mild to moderate cases. More advanced cases may require surgical removal. Removal of the ear flaps or pinnae is called pinnectomy, and is usually a fairly uncomplicated procedure. It may leave the cat looking less than fabulous, but the pinnae are not essential for survival. For severe lesions on the nose, a nosectomy may be needed, which involves removal of the tissues of the nose. This can be a trickier procedure, but often cats can have a fairly good quality of life sans nose. It is important to take your cat to the vet when you start to see lesions in these areas so that the problem can be addressed early.
Do you know of any cat that had skin cancer? Share the story with us in the comments section.