Okay, here is some interesting and helpful information for cat owners. Have you ever petted your cat and noticed a lump underneath the chin that was not there before? If you are like most pet owners, you probably were alarmed by the occurrence. You are probably wondering how serious is it and what is the next step that you can take. First of all, don’t panic. While it could be serious, there is a good just that it is simply a benign cyst. The only way to know for certain is to take your cat into the veterinarian for an examination.
In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to evaluate the lump in an attempt to distinguish whether it is benign or potentially dangerous. Anything written here is not meant to be medical advice but simply a guide to help you work through the beginning stages of examining the cat and easing your mind during the process.
Following is a list of several types of lumps that can appear on your cat.
An abscess is formed when a pocket of pus forms underneath the skin. This type of lump is normally the result of a localized infection that typically develops during the healing process of an existing wound. If the wound heals before the pus has the opportunity to drain, the cat will likely end up with an abscess. Generally speaking, abscesses are painful and can cause high fevers. In some instances, the abscess will rupture, releasing the pus and a foul odor.
Some common treatments for abscesses include lancing, surgery, and antibiotics.
A cyst is a lump that is considered hollow, although it will be filled with soft tissue or fluid. A cyst is not caused by an infection as with the abscess; however, they can become secondarily infected. Cats sometimes develop a single cyst, but it is not unheard of to develop multiple cysts simultaneously. These types of lumps can occur at any time throughout the lifespan of a cat.
The shape of most cysts vary from oval to round, and they are firm when touched, but you should also be able to detect a center that is less firm. One of the most common treatments for cysts is to drain it of the material on the inside — making the lump less obvious. Even with lancing, the cysts will normally reform with time. The best option is to have the cyst completely removed through surgery.
Granulomas are the result of chronic infections and inflammation. The type of lump is comprised of a solid mass within the cat’s skin and the mass will be made up of inflammatory cells, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When cats develop granulomas, they are at an increased risk of contracting a condition known as eosinophilic granuloma complex — referring to three types of skin growths, with all being directed associated with bacterial infections, allergies or genetic influences.
Fortunately, eosinophilic granuloma complex usually responds well to treatment with corticosteroids, but in the case of more severe cases, there may be a need for additional immunosuppressive drugs or maybe even surgery.
Once a tumor has reached a certain size it can usually be easily detected. Tumors can be either benign or malignant (having a tendency to spread and cause further damage). Tumors tend to appear in cats that are older, but there are exceptions, especially with certain types of cancers. When a tumor is detected, it will be necessary to have a biopsy done to determine if the tumor is benign or malignant. A biopsy is a procedure where a small portion of the tumor is taken and sent to the lab for testing.
If a tumor is benign, there is a chance that the cat can live with it and still have a high quality of life. If it is too large, it will likely have to be removed. For malignant tumors, the veterinarian will work with you to determine the best options for treatment.
Regardless to what type of lump you are feeling under your cat’s chin or any other part of their body, it is important to remain calm and contact your vet to determine what type of lump it is and the best method for treating it. In most cases, the lumps are treatable and quality of life is not interrupted.