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Basal Cell Tumors in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Basal cell tumors are growths that originate from the epithelial layer of skin. This category of tumor includes both benign and malignant tumors.

There is no known cause of basal cell tumors. They are seen more commonly in cats than dogs. Middle-aged to older dogs are most commonly affected. Cocker spaniels and poodles are the most common breeds affected.

Basal cell tumors are most often benign, although occasionally, a malignant tumor may be diagnosed.

What to Watch For

  • A solitary, firm, well circumscribed, hairless growth
  • Affected areas on the head, neck, and shoulders

    Diagnosis

  • A complete blood cell count (CBC), biochemical profile, and urinalysis should be performed in all cases, and are most often within normal limits.

  • Screening chest X-rays, although often within normal limits, may be of benefit in older patients.

  • Fine needles aspirates to retrieve cells for analysis with a small needle and syringe

  • Biopsy of the mass is necessary for definitive diagnosis.

    Treatment

  • Treatment of choice is surgical removal of the tumor
  • Complete surgical excision is usually curative

    Home Care and Prevention

    Prognosis is generally good. Contact your veterinarian if there is recurrence or change at the surgical site. Return for follow up as directed by your veterinarian.

    There is no preventative care for basal cell tumors.

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