When your cat starts to get on in years, you might find he or she starts to develop cysts in odd places. While these type of tumours are common, it’s difficult to tell whether the cyst is benign or malignant just by looking at it. It’s best to get a biopsy done by your veterinarian to find out, or simply to have the tumour removed if possible. Pet laser surgery is ideal for this purpose, and the tumour can then be sent for testing to see whether any further treatment is necessary. Dr. Issam Kadri explains:
Types of Surface Tumours
Cats can get any of the following types of surface tumours:
- Sebaceous cysts: this type of cyst is also called an epidermal inclusion cyst and it is caused by an accumulation of sebum from the glands beneath the cat’s skin. If the cysts are not removed they might become infected and need draining.
- Warts and papillomas: this type of growth is less common in cats and usually only occurs in older cats. They aren’t dangerous but should be removed if they show signs of irritation or bleeding. They look like pieces of chewing gum stuck to the skin, or grow on the end of a tiny stalk.
- Lipomas: these are essentially lumps of fat cells and feel as if they are separate or loose from the cat’s body. Your veterinarian might decide to remove a lipoma if there is a risk of a malignant growth within it, otherwise they are no risk to the cat.
- Hematomas: this is a collection of blood under the skin, usually caused by a hard knock or bump. Hematomas generally only need to be drained, if they don’t disappear on their own.
- Abscesses: these are infected lumps typically caused by a foreign body such as an ingrown hair, thorn, or splinter. They are usually painful and swollen and might feel warm to the touch. Your veterinarian is likely to drain the abscess and give your cat antibiotics to kill the infection.
- Tender knots: after a vaccination or other injection your cat might develop a small lump at the site. This usually disappears after a few days, but if the area remains firm a vaccine-associated sarcoma could have developed, which may need to be removed.
Removal of Cysts and Surface Tumours
Many of these cysts and tumours are either completely benign and don’t require any form of treatment, or disappear on their own as long as the cat doesn’t lick or bite them and cause an open wound. In cases where a surface tumour needs to be removed either for biopsy purposes or because it has tested positive for malignancy, pet laser surgery offers an updated method of doing this.
Benefits of Pet Laser Surgery
There are multiple benefits to using pet laser surgery to remove your cat’s surface tumours:
- Laser surgery uses a beam of light directed by an articulated arm to cut through the flesh where the tumour needs to be removed, instead of a steel scalpel. This makes it possible for the veterinarian to be much more precise than is possible using a manually-guided scalpel.
- As the laser beam passes through the flesh it seals off the blood vessels, resulting in minimal bleeding or potential for blood loss.
- It also seals off the nerve endings, reducing the pain your cat will feel after it wakes up.
Dr. Kadri believes that pet laser surgery is a radical improvement in veterinary technology, and has recently added the capability to perform this kind of operation at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital. For more information on surface tumours or laser surgery for your cat, give us a call or pop in and visit.