Georgie is a 15 year old ginger and white cat, who was brought in to see a vet after her owners noticed a red lump on one of her ears. The vet carried out a procedure called an FNA (Fine needle aspirate), a fairly non-invasive procedure where a needle and syringe is gently placed into the area of interest, so a sample of cells within it can be obtained for pathology.
Georgie’s FNA results were conclusive of a ‘squamous cell carcinoma’. Squamous cells form the surface of the skin and also the lining of hollow organs, respiratory and digestive tracts.
Carcinomas are caused by exposure of unpigmented skin to UV light (sunlight). Therefore white cats and dogs are more at risk of developing this cancer. Most commonly affecting the pinnae (ears), eyelids and nasal planum.
Symptoms of Squamous cell carcinomas:
- Red, crusted sores on the edges of the ears
- Redness may come and go
- Bleeding ulcers on the ears
- Ulcers on the ear that slowly get bigger
- As sores get larger, ear tips may disappear, ear may become malformed
- Sometimes, sores on the faceGeorgie underwent surgery to remove her whole pinnae, this is the most effective treatment for this type of tumour, and prognosis is good.
Georgie was a very brave star patient whilst in the hospital and has recovered really well.
Prevention of Squamous cell carcinomas:
Most people aren’t aware that you can use sun cream on pets – there are brands specifically for pets.
Also limiting their exposure to sunshine in the middle of the day (including sunbathing in a window!)