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Mast Cell Tumours in Cats- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Best Treatment

Mast Cell Tumours in Cats- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Best Treatment

Also Called a mastocytoma, mast cell tumours (MCT’s) are skin tumours Which have arisen from mast cells, which are a sort of white blood cell formed in the bone marrow. Mast cells are found throughout the body but are concentrated at points of contact between the cat and the outside world, particularly the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and conjunctiva.

Mast cell tumours can develop in different areas such as the skin (dermal), or internally (like the spleen, liver or gastrointestinal tract), called visceral or disseminated. Cutaneous tumours can in some cases, spread to regional lymph nodes and on to the inner organs (most commonly the spleen or liver), or tumours can develop in the organs with no skin involvement. Highly aggressive tumours can enter bone marrow (which makes all of the blood cells) and turn up in the bloodstream.

Mast cell tumours are the second most common skin tumour in cats, the most Frequent splenic tumour and the third most frequent sort of intestinal tumour. Nearly all mast cell tumours are benign (non-spreading), but around 10 percent are cancerous (which could spread to other areas of the body).

Mast cells:

Mast cells are a part of the immune system and are involved in the Inflammatory process and are responsible for the allergic reactions many people (and creatures) experience. They do it by releasing granules, called degranulation. Granules have a variety of active compounds which perform these functions:

Histamine — Vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels), increase vascular permeability and stimulates the nerve end.
Heparin — Prevents the formation of blood clots.
If the cat (or individual) has undergone an accident or a pathogen, Degranulation is a fantastic thing, but sometimes mast cells respond to normally harmless substances, such as pollen, causing the allergy-related symptoms like hives and itchy skin.


The cause is unknown, but it believed There’s a genetic component due to A high prevalence in Siamese cats.


Single or multiple hairless nodules (lumps) on or underneath the skin. They can happen anywhere on the body including the head, neck, chest, limbs and anogenital area. Tumours vary in size from 1 to 4 cm and can wax and wane in size. They may be well defined or ill-defined. Ill-defined tumours are more aggressive.
From time to time nodules may become inflamed and itchy, as a result of a release of histamine in the tumour.
Up to 25 percent of tumours may possess some degree of ulceration due to self-trauma.


Systemic symptoms may present with cats that have visceral mast cell tumours, which may include:


Your vet will perform a physical examination and obtain a medical history from you. Tests will be required to diagnose mast cell tumour, these may include:

  1. Fine needle aspirate (insertion of a needle into a tumour and drawing out cells) and cytology (a study of the cells under a microscope). This applies to both cutaneous and visceral mast cell tumours, however, sedation and ultrasound guidance are expected to get a fine needle aspirate from an internal organ. Your vet may also take samples from local lymph nodes to ascertain whether a tumour has spread.
  2. X-rays and ultrasound of the chest and abdomen to search for visceral tumours and liver or spleen enlargement.
  3. Baseline tests including biochemical profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis to assess the general health of your cat.
  4. Biopsy and histopathology (microscopic examination of the biopsied tissue). The sample will be rated (or staged) at this moment. A biopsy is usually completed as both a diagnostic and treatment.
  5. Buffy coat evaluation. A sample of blood is spun at high speed to separate it into its elements, red blood cells in the base, a small band of white blood cells and lastly, the plasma. White blood cells are analyzed for the presence of abnormal mast cells.
  6. Antihistamines will be administered before fine needle aspirate, or biopsy as manipulation of masses may stimulate degranulation and cause mast cells to release considerable quantities of histamines causing inflammation, this is called Darier’s sign.

Staging is necessary to determine the extent of the disease; there are three grades.

  • Well-differentiated
  • Moderately differentiated
  • Poorly differentiated.


  • Surgery using a 2-3 cm margin to eliminate cutaneous tumours is the remedy of choice.
  • Visceral mast cell tumours can be more difficult to treat if the spleen is Affected, surgical removal may provide a cure.
  • Chemotherapy may be indicated as a follow-up treatment for grade 3 tumours, To shrink tumours which can’t be eliminated or target cancerous mast cells remaining in the blood.
  • Radiation therapy to treat tumours that Can’t be removed with broad enough Margins, like the limbs.
  • Antihistamines can be given to relieve symptoms related to increased levels of histamine from non-treatable tumours.

Home care:

Your cat will probably be discharged with an Elizabethan collar to prevent self-trauma Of the surgery website.

Antibiotics, painkillers, and antihistamines will be given to alleviate symptoms.

Keep a close eye on the operation site and if you notice any swelling, redness Or oozing, talk to your vet.

Lucy Patrick
Lucy Patrick
Hi Furiends! Welcome, and thank you for reading CatFoodStuff! To learn more about our story, come visit us on our about page. I am Lucy Patrick, I have been around with cats for around more than 12 years. I have done the catsitting for alot of clients in and around our area & have been pursuing the Veterinary Course from University. Catfoodstuff is my attempt to answer all the issues that comes around while raising cats at your places & I am highly delighted with the reviews I am getting. We would be happy to hear from you! We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that is what provides a means for CatFoodStuff to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The price remains the same for you & we receive a small commission contributing to the website development. Certain content that appears on this site comes from amazon services llc. this content is provided 'as is' and is subject to change or removal at any time.

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