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Mast Cell Tumors in Cats


Feline Mast Cell Tumor Treatment from Your Veterinarian in Laguna Hills, CA

When the owner of a cat receives a diagnosis of a feline mast cell tumor at our Trinity Pet Hospital, it’s natural to immediately wonder whether this is a benign or malignant growth.  Since many owners have never heard of this disorder prior to a diagnosis from our Laguna Hills veterinarian, understanding what it is and the treatment options available for an animal can significantly reduce stress.

Feline Mast Cell Tumor Treatment

Overview of Mast Cell Tumors in Cats

A mast cell tumor is a tumor that arises in the mast cells of a cat.  These cells originate in the bone marrow of the animal but mature in peripheral tissues. 

While mast cells are present in all tissues, they occur in the greatest concentration in the cat’s skin, digestive tract, and respiratory tract.  One important responsibility is the production of a number of chemicals such as histamine and neutral proteases.  However, these structures have a number of additional roles, depending on where in the body they occur.

Around one of every five skin masses seen in cats in veterinary practices is a cutaneous mast cell tumor.  Of those growths, around 90 percent are benign.  They typically develop on the pet’s head, neck, or body, but might arise anywhere.  They are usually small, hairless, and raised and sometimes cause the cat to itch.

Our doctor notes that as many as 50 percent of feline mast cell tumors are visceral, typically affecting the spleen and sometimes the intestinal tract.  The cause of both the benign and the malignant types remains unknown.  Mast cell tumors are less common in cats than in dogs. 

Veterinary Treatment Options

Our veterinary practice diagnoses a mast cell tumor following a fine needle aspiration.  Sedation is usually unnecessary for skin masses.  However, getting a sample from an internal mass might require using ultrasound and sedation.

Surgery with a follow-on biopsy is the standard of care for both cutaneous and visceral mast cell tumors.  This typically means removing a skin mass or the spleen.  Whether the cat requires chemotherapy depends upon biopsy results.  The prognosis for a tumor that is malignant varies considerably, depending on the growth’s location and whether it has metastasized.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Laguna Hills Veterinarian

Trinity Pet Hospital offers a full range of veterinary services for the furry members of your family.  Our Laguna Hills veterinarian excels at a blend of compassionate care, professional proficiency, and expert counseling in the treatment of every animal we see in our practice.  Be sure to call us today at 949-232-1788 to schedule an appointment to discuss all your cat’s primary care needs.


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Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Wow! Thanks to all the staff at Anderson Vet Clinic. I feel like you all truly love what you do! My kitty, Lola and I always have such a pleasant experience when we come in. Fortunately, it’s usually just for a check-up, but I would not leave Lola in anyone else’s hands but yours. Thank you for your caring commitment!"
    Maya Smith / Los Angeles, CA
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