What is Mammary Gland Enlargement?
While female cats are far more susceptible to these problems, nipple and breast swelling is sometimes seen in male cats as well. A female who is intact is more at risk than a female that is spayed. If unusual mammary gland swelling is noticed while a cat is nursing kittens, veterinary attention may be needed for the kittens along with the mother as the infection can easily spread between the two.
Nipple and breast swelling are the outside manifestations of mammary gland enlargement. Cats have eight nipples, and in the case of enlargement or inflammation, one or more nipples may be affected. Normal events in a female cat’s life can lead to the swelling of breast tissue, such as pregnancy and lactation. However, many infections and other conditions which can be life-threatening also create mammary gland enlargement.
Symptoms of Mammary Gland Enlargement in Cats
Generally, when the condition is abnormal and needs treatment, multiple symptoms will arise.
- Swelling of the nipples or breast tissue
- Painful nipples
- Discharge from nipples
- Ulceration of the nipples and breast
- Loss of appetite
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Edema of the skin on hind legs
- Refusal to nurse (if female with kittens)
- Sick kittens (if nursing)
Causes of Mammary Gland Enlargement in Cats
Besides the normal cause of pregnancy, enlarged mammary glands can be the sign of a bigger internal issue in the cat. A veterinarian is best at determining the exact cause of the swelling, which will lead to a faster diagnosis and treatment for the cat. Causes include:
- Mastitis (mammary gland infection while lactating)
- Galactostasis (milk collection in mammary gland while weaning)
- Feline Mammary Hypertrophy (benign masses)
- Mammary cancer
- Mammary Hyperplasia (from high levels of progesterone)
Diagnosis of Mammary Gland Enlargement in Cats
A veterinarian will need the cat’s full medical history upon arrival at the clinic. A physical exam will be performed in which the nipples and breast tissue will be closely examined for symptoms that match with mammary gland conditions. Certain issues are not serious and will resolve on their own, while other conditions can be life-threatening.
A range of diagnostic testing will be done, generally starting with blood work. This will include a complete blood count and a biochemical profile. If cancer is suspected, these blood tests can provide confirmation. A biopsy of the enlarged tissue may be taken for further microscopic evaluation (a histopathological examination). Chest and abdominal X-rays may be needed to check for tumor location and pinpoint any metastasizing (spreading). Urinalysis can be used to confirm and identify any bacteria present in the cat.
Treatment of Mammary Gland Enlargement in Cats
There are a variety of treatments available depending on the underlying cause of the enlargement and the severity of the condition present. If the cat is dealing with an infection (as in the cases of mastitis and mammary hyperplasia), this can be a medical emergency. Immediate attention is needed to stabilize the cat enough to receive treatment.
Treatment for mastitis includes an antibiotic prescription to clear up any infection and painkillers to help the cat endure the ulcerations associated with this condition. Your vet may also recommend that you apply a warm compress periodically to help with drainage.
This type of cancer is very common in cats, accounting for a third of all cancer cases. It is very aggressive and often spreads. It usually occurs in multiple nipples at once.The surgical removal of affected glands (mastectomy) is recommended, especially if the cancer is in its early stages. If the cat is not a good surgical candidate, chemotherapy may be the only treatment option.
Feline Mammary Hypertrophy
Advised treatment for this condition is a full spay (ovariohysterectomy). If only a few glands are affected, removal of the individual glands alone may be enough. While these surgeries are more routine, if the cat is suffering from poor overall health, the procedure can be very taxing.
To alleviate this issue, removal of the source of progesterone is needed. This generally leads to an ovariohysterectomy. If ulceration of the glands has occurred, glands may be removed if the cat is stable enough. Painkillers will be prescribed to help the cat get through the days after the surgery.
Pregnancy or Galactostasis
Both of these causes of mammary gland enlargement will resolve on their own with time.
Recovery of Mammary Gland Enlargement in Cats
If the underlying condition is mammary cancer, overall prognosis is guarded. This cancer has a high tendency to spread throughout the body, most commonly to the lymph nodes, liver, kidneys, lungs and adrenal glands. If the cancer is caught early and the tumor found is less than 2cm in diameter, surgical removal offers a much higher survival rate than in more advanced cases.
If the cat has received a mastectomy or an ovariohysterectomy, signs of infection need to be watched for. Abide by all recommended at-home care from your vet. A post-surgical clinic visit is often required to allow the veterinarian to check that the healing process is happening successfully. With many of these conditions, spontaneous remissions can occur.
Mammary Gland Enlargement Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My cat is 14. Asymptomatic. Noticed lumps on her belly when I picked her up off counter. Grape size on one but several small up the entire left side and 1/3 way up the right side. Bloodwork clear. Chest X-ray clear. Suspected possible psedupregnancy due to total clingyness for two months prior so suggested mastitis. Treated with convenia injection and something else. Did aspiration only came back blood on the slide. 2 weeks later follow up and was suspected mammary cancer with no further testing due to her licking im assuming where they did the aspirations and she made it bleed. Sent home with prenisone every other day now for 5 weeks. Gave veraflox for where she was chewing the sore. Now it's spreading more as far as the swelling and some small pea slide bumps under the surface of the skin throughout her hind legs. The initial lumps are not getting bigger but the mammary glands itself are more raised and prominent as she's now licking and making several of the small lumps bleed. Followed up vet says definitely mammary cancer just keep comfortable. She herself is not changing. Total behavior is normal. I am not comfortable with the diagnosis of mammarycancer as I feel this could be acute mastitis. She's on prednisone which is an immunosuppressant so how if this is mastitis she's only going to get wore instead of better. She was spayed at 6 years old. Never a pregnancy had her since 8 weeks. Felv negative.
Spaying at six years old is very late and according to some studies will leave cats at the same risk of mammary cancer as an intact cat which is why Veterinarians recommend spaying at an earlier age. It seems that Oreo has received quite a bit of antibiotic therapy (convenia and veraflox). Whilst prednisone is an immunosuppressant, it wouldn’t interfere with the antibiotics function, just the immune system. It is difficult for me to say the exact cause, I would recommend taking another aspiration from a new lump that has appeared or even to ultrasound a lump to see the contents etc… Given Oreo’s age, treatment will be hard and if it is cancer, surgery wouldn’t be an option. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
PENIS ENLARGEMENT, WEAK ERECTION FEEL LIKE A KING IN BED POWERFUL LOVER MAKER WITH COMPLETE CONTROL IN BED YOU CAN FUCK ANY WOMAN TO ORGASM AND IT,S EASY CONTACT [email protected] WHATSAPP NUMBER +2348158568638
My name is frank harry from UK am here today to testify about my true life story many men all over the world today are suffering of small joystick (PENIS) and weak erection of the penis. I am 40 and have lived a very lonely life because of it. I can,t even look at women in the eye because of it. It has caused me great torment through-out my life. I had sex with a lot of girls but also had a lot of rejections and a lot of girls mock on my size. For me the thoughest part is not that girls mock on my size but when my wife packed out of the house and started seeing another man. Let’s me say that 75% of men & youth all over the world are really suffering of small joystick (PENIS) and weak erection of the penis. Some men today no longer enjoying their spouse any more, due to the size and weak erection of the penis, because of this act their ladies went out to have sex with those men that their penis is bigger still strong and stand erect. This act broke marriages or relationship. My condition have changed today after contacting DR.DADA the great herbalist, If you,re in the same condition please contact him via his email [[email protected]] OR WHATSAPP +2348158568638
for more infor you can contact me on ([email protected])
Add a comment to Oreo's experience
Was this experience helpful?