No pet owner likes to find mysterious lumps or bumps on their cat's skin, but if it's a skin tag or mole, it's likely a part of aging. As a pet owner, you need to monitor your cat's skin and keep an eye out for any unusual or changing skin growths. Seek veterinary care if you see something out of the ordinary.
Understanding Skin Tags
Skin tags are small flat or fleshy growths on your cat's skin. They may have the appearance of small flaps or not look as if they are well attached to the rest of the skin. They can be flesh colored or black. Skin tags are typically not a cause for an immediate trip to the veterinarian. Keep an eye on the skin tag and monitor it for changes. Take your cat to the veterinarian if you notice that the skin tag has changed significantly in size, color, shape or is causing your cat any level of discomfort.
Your cat can be born with skin moles, similar to birthmarks, or they can develop over time as a type of skin growth. Moles generally are described as brown or black spots on the skin. It is important for you to keep an eye on moles or other growths that develop on your cat's skin. Any color changes, size changes or irritation could be a sign that the mole is cancerous.
Risk of Cancer
Any growth on your pet's skin can potentially be a sign that your cat has cancer, but not all skin growths are cancerous. Your veterinarian will perform diagnostic tests on your cat's suspicious growths to determine whether they are benign or malignant. Common tests include physical inspection of the growth, blood tests, performing a fine need aspiration on the growth and/or performing a biopsy on the tissue of the growth.
Treating Moles and Skin Tags
If the mole or skin tag is tested by your veterinarian and the tests show the growth is benign, your veterinarian most likely will choose to leave the growth alone. Treatment is not necessary for benign growths unless the location of the growth is causing medical problems for your cat and your veterinarian decides removal is necessary.
If the mole or skin tag is malignant, your veterinarian will help you choose an effective form of treatment. The type of growth, location and size will play a role in how your veterinarian decides to deal with it. Your veterinarian may choose to remove the growth by using a laser, freezing or cauterizing it. Your veterinarian also may choose to remove the growth and any surrounding tissue that could be cancerous. In cases where the cancer may have spread or cannot be completely removed, chemotherapy or radiation treatments may be used.