Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats

Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
14 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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What is Fatty Tissue Tumor?

Fatty tissue tumors are defined as infiltrative or non-infiltrative. Non-infiltrative tumors remain only within fatty tissue. Infiltrative fatty tissue tumors can spread into connective tissue or muscle. They are usually not so well-defined as non-infiltrative tumors.

Fatty tissue tumors are called lipomas. They are typically benign, made of fat and grow slowly. They feel like soft, round masses below the skin, and can occur as single or multiple tumors. 

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Fatty Tissue Tumor Average Cost

From 508 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats

A lump on the smooth surface of the cat's skin is the most common symptom. The bump can be oval or rounded with a slight definition. The animal may not show any signs of discomfort, and the tumors are often found on the abdominal area.

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Causes of Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats

There are multiple causes of skin masses in cats, so it is necessary to determine the underlying origin of the tumor. 

Common causes of fatty tissue tumor include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Sun exposure
  • Aging
  • Viruses
  • Chemical exposure
  • Obesity
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Diagnosis of Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats

Even though most fatty tissue tumors are benign, a lipoma should always be biopsied. This is because other tumors, such as infiltrative lipoma, a more invasive tumor, may feel like a benign, fatty lump to the touch. A lipoma biopsy is made by inserting a thin needle into the tumor and aspirating a tiny sample of the tissue. The tissue is placed under a microscope to determine whether the sample is benign or malignant. The vet may perform a complete blood count, a chemical blood profile, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. The blood and urine analysis plus biopsy will predict treatment options.

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Treatment of Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats

Lipomas in fatty tissue often grow slowly. Some pet owners may opt not to do anything about the tumor if it is not large or bothersome. Sometimes the tumor will continue to grow and become troublesome because it may infiltrate other bodily structures and impede normal function. Even if fatty tissue tumors are benign, a veterinarian may suggest removal, because they are rare in cats and are not easily distinguished from infiltrative lipomas.

The pet must be given no food or water in preparation for the surgery. The surgeon will need to record what medications the animal is currently receiving. The cat will be given a sedative right before the surgery, intravenous medications, and anesthesia. The surgical site will be shaved. The surgeon will remove the fatty tissue of the tumor and some of the tissue around it to ensure the most beneficial outcome.

If a hollow place is left where the tumor originated, a drain may be placed to prevent fluid buildup in the space. 

When the surgery is completed the cat will be given medications to relieve pain. These will be a combination of anti-inflammatory anesthetics and narcotics. Fluids will be administered intravenously to promote proper hydration. 

If a more invasive surgery was performed for a larger tumor, the pet may be required to spend the night in the hospital to make sure pain is controlled.

It is rare for a simple lipoma to recur after surgical removal, but it does occur. Infiltrative lipoma is infrequently found in cats, but requires very aggressive removal. They are found within muscle groups and can return. Sometimes followup treatment with radiation will be recommended for infiltrative lipoma. Another variant of infiltrative lipoma may be cancerous and is caused by feline leukemia viral infection. These tumors are also capable of returning, so follow-up radiation treatment is necessary.

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Recovery of Fatty Tissue Tumor in Cats

At home, the cat should be monitored and the surgery site checked for infection. A collar can be placed around the animal's neck to prevent interference with the surgical site. If this is not done, the cat may open the sutures and cause an infection. Licking will impede the healing process because of bacteria transferred from the mouth.

The animal should be restricted from much exercise for three or four weeks after the surgery is performed. This may mean that food, water and litter box must be placed in an easily accessible area for recovery time.

Cats may not have much appetite after surgery, and refusing food for the first day or two after surgery is normal. Stomach upset after surgery may cause vomiting, as well. Make sure that plenty of water is available. If appetite continues to be low, smelly, canned foods may perk interest. Strained meats for babies can be inviting, also. If the cat still refuses to eat, a small amount of strained food administered into the mouth with a syringe may be effective. The food may be warmed a bit in a microwave to enhance the smell, but make sure it is not too hot. Petting and stroking may also stimulate the appetite.

If the cat attempts to hide or cries in pain, consult the vet for remedy. Do not give over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen to a cat, as these OTC medications are quite toxic to cats.

Completing follow-up visits to the veterinarian is very important after a surgical procedure to monitor healing and general health.

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Fatty Tissue Tumor Average Cost

From 508 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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Fatty Tissue Tumor Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Zeus

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

17 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hard Lump On Back
Hard Lump On Rib
Movable Lumps
Lump

My 17 year old cat was recently seen by the vet for a lump on his back by his spine. He is eating fine, drinking fine, still playing. He is 8 lbs due to old age and arthritis but there are no noted changes in behaviors. I told my vet about the side of his rib also feeling a lump starting. All he did was a complete blood which showed slightly decreased kidney function, no thyroid issues, and is otherwise fine for a 17 year old. Zeus's back lump is about the size of a nickel but round and movable. His rib is about the size of a dime but round and movable. He lets me touch and move both. I am worried because they seem to be growing (or he is getting skinnier) and the vet never did an aspiration and told us not to worry. I am worried that this is the end of his life... and the other vet we go to at the practice is out... what should I be looking for?!

July 9, 2018

Zeus' Owner

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0 Recommendations

If your Veterinarian suspects that they are lipomas, I would keep an eye on them as they are free moving masses; whilst they normally grow slowly they may appear to be growing fast due to weight loss. Without examining Zeus myself I cannot confirm whether I believe they are lipomas or due to another cause, if you’re not confident in the diagnosis I would recommend you return when the other Veterinarian is back or visit another practice. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 10, 2018

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Pandora

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On My Cats Belly

I took my cat to the vet, after I felt a lump on her belly. She is not in pain, and vet told that is not a hernia from her spaying surgery and it is probably a fat lump. She didn’t do a biopsy or any tests, told that she would monitor and if it grows will consider removing. Should I get a second opnion?

June 7, 2018

Pandora's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Depending on the location of the mass and the presentation, some lumps are easier than others to diagnose. If you are not sure of the diagnosis, it never hurts to get a second opinion, just to make sure.

June 7, 2018

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Fatty Tissue Tumor Average Cost

From 508 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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