Were you aware that April is also Oral Cancer Awareness Month? We encourage you to spread the news about Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Today we will look at Squamous Cell Carcinoma in cats, which is the most common oral cat cancer. It’s a cancer of the oral cavity’s lining, including the gum, tongue, palate, and tonsils. Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma (FOSCC) accounts for 70-80% of all oral tumors in cats, which are locally invasive and can extend into the upper or lower jawbones. The chances that the tumors will metastasize during diagnosis are low. Lymph nodes of the lungs, neck, and head are the most common metastasis site. The biggest issue with cats that develop squamous cell carcinoma is the tumor affecting their ability to eat. Here is a look into the signs/symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
- Decreased Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Blood in the Saliva, Food or Water Bowl, or Your Cat’s Front Paws
- Decreased Grooming
- Foul Breath
- Swollen Face or Jaw
Usually, cats don’t start showing outward signs until the tumor is large. If your cat has foul breath, make sure to bring them in for a dental cleaning. A veterinarian will be able to take a thorough look into your cat’s mouth while they are under general anesthesia. A cat that’s awake will make it harder, if not impossible, to look into the mouth if they are experiencing a lot of pain.
One of our veterinarians will perform a complete oral exam. A needle aspirate of the mass is possible, but a biopsy will provide a more accurate diagnosis. An incisional biopsy refers to removing a small piece of the tissue mass. An excisional biopsy involves removing the entire mass. Naturally, pet owners want the veterinarian to remove the entire mass. However, given the location of these tumors, complete excision can be very difficult and sometimes impossible. As a result, there is a chance that the tumor won’t be removed entirely, and a recurrence will happen. Other diagnostics include blood tests, chest X-rays, and a veterinarian could palpate localized lymph nodes or examine them under a microscope.
- Radiation Therapy
- Chemotherapy (injectable drugs used to stabilize the tumor)
- Palliative Care (pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs with or without radiation therapy).
If you notice that your feline friend is experiencing discomfort, give us a call today. Like people, pets can develop different types of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For this reason, pet parents should strive to bring their pets to regularly scheduled wellness exams to ensure that their pets’ health is in top shape.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!