Mast Cell Tumor Average Cost

From 526 quotes ranging from $3,000 - 8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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What is Mast Cell Tumor?

Mast cells are present in most tissues and can form an important part of your cat’s immune system. In the case of a mast cell tumor, the healthy cell begins to mutate and take on an abnormal shape and can grow and reproduce, invading other nearby tissue. Mast cell tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) and have varying degrees or ratings. Mast cell tumors have a tendency to affect older cats over 10 years of age and are especially prevalent in Siamese cat breeds. Mast cell tumors are also sometimes referred to as mastocytomas.

Symptoms of Mast Cell Tumor in Cats

Like many tumors, mast cell tumors will begin with raised bumps or growths with an escalation of symptoms depending on the severity of the condition and whether the tumor is cancerous. Symptoms include:

  • Raised growth or bump
  • Loss of hair in area of bump
  • Redness or irritation of bump
  • Can be located on or below the skin
  • Typically located on the trunk or body but can occur in other areas
  • Ulceration may occur if your cat irritates the mass or in severe cases of cancerous tumor
  • If a tumor metastasizes, or spreads, systemic symptoms such as lethargy, general sickness, or loss of appetite may occur.

Causes of Mast Cell Tumor in Cats

The cause of mast cell tumors, as is the case with most types of tumors and cancers, is unknown. Mast cell tumors form and spread when an unnatural mutation occurs within the healthy mast cell. 

Diagnosis of Mast Cell Tumor in Cats

Diagnosis of mast cell tumor in your cat will begin with a thorough physical exam. Your vet will examine the suspected tumor and will search your cat for any additional tumors located on other parts of the body. You should provide a thorough medical and physical history of your cat to your veterinarian. It will be especially important to note the approximate date of first appearance of the tumor and the amount of growth since that time. If the tumor has changed in size rapidly, including reduction, this will be especially important for helping your vet determine how aggressive the tumor is.

Your vet will next conduct a biopsy of the tumor. This will often be done using a technique called fine needle aspiration. During this procedure, a needle is inserted into the tumor and is used to withdraw a small number of cells. Your vet will then view those cells under a microscope to determine if there are any cellular changes in appearance, also called differentiation, that could indicate the tumor is cancerous.

If your vet determines the tumor is malignant, he or she may order additional tests to determine whether or not the cancer has spread to any other organs. These tests may include a complete blood panel, fine needle aspiration of the lymph nodes closest to the tumor, and x-rays of the head and chest.

Treatment of Mast Cell Tumor in Cats

The preferred treatment for mast cell tumors in cats is surgical removal of the tumor. Prior to any surgery, your veterinarian will order a full blood panel in order to ensure there are no additional conditions that would make surgery extra risky for your cat. In preparation of surgery, your cat will be placed under anesthesia. Your veterinarian will attempt to remove as much of the tumor as possible. In the case of cancerous mass cell tumors, your vet will attempt to gain clean margins. This means they may have to remove extra tissue around the edges of the tumor to ensure that all of the cancerous cells have been removed.

In cases which cancer has spread, your veterinarian may opt to treat your cat with chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, strong drugs are administered to your cat. These drugs attack the cancer cells, causing them to shrink or disappear. Chemotherapy is usually administered in several treatments over a number of months and can have serious side effects. These side effects may be lessened by additional medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

In the case of benign mast cell tumors that have become inflamed, your vet may choose an alternative form of treatment involving anti-inflammatory drugs. Anti-inflammatory drugs will reduce the size and slow the spread of the tumor. This will be the treatment of choice for older cats who may be high-risk surgical candidates.

Recovery of Mast Cell Tumor in Cats

While they may appear frightening, mast cell tumors actually have a good prognosis for recovery. With surgical removal of the tumor, most cats will recover and lead normal healthy lives. As with any surgical procedure, you will need to carefully follow your vet’s post-operative instructions for wound care. You will also need to keep your cat quiet for several days following surgery.

While they can spread, cancerous mast cell tumors do not have a tendency to metastasize or move to other parts of the body. Your cat will need routine follow-up appointments with your veterinarian and careful monitoring on the owner’s part to ensure that tumors do not return or appear in other areas.

Mast Cell Tumor Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Little One
Ragdoll mix
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My cat has opened up her mtumor by licking it.Benadryl makes her throw up so is there another allergy medicine I can give her to stop the itching?
She's currently on Prednisolone but it's no longer helping.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2478 Recommendations
Benadryl is normally the best when dealing with mast cell tumours, although cetirizine may be used but you should consult with your Veterinarian about any changes which you are making to the treatment. Cetirizine is usually dosed at 5mg per day in cats not per lb or kg so take note. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Divi
Domestic shorthair
16 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Lower appetite
Higher energy level

Medication Used

Azodyl
Famotidine
Kidney Function Supplement
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan , Dasequin, Standard
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan , Dasequin,
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan ,

My 16 year old cat, Divi, has had a tiny tumor on his rear flank for about 2 years. It was so tiny we couldn't reliably find it until it grew enough for us to find it each time we looked and at his bi-annual vet appt this week it was aspirated and the results show it is a mast cell tumor. The tests also show hyperthyroidism for the first time. Our vet wants to wait until the thyroid values are under control before removing the tumor, which is now about 2cm across. I am concerned that if we wait, now that it has been aspirated, it will grow quickly and spread. What is your opinion on waiting until the thyroid is under control before operating (at least 1 month)? Since it is so close to the surface, could a local be given (our cat is VERY calm at the vet's) to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue now, without waiting for the thyroid to be under control? He is acting more energized lately because of the hyperthyroid, but although he eats, his appetite is lower than normal. How does this factor in?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2478 Recommendations
Given Divi’s age, I would follow your Veterinarian’s advice and wait for the thyroid to get under control; no Veterinarian is going to perform surgery on a cat under local anaesthetic under these circumstances, although I understand your intentions. Whilst one month seems a long time, it is a short period of time in relation to how long the tumour has been present. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Soot
Black shorthair
15 Years
Serious condition
2 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lump
Mass In Abdomen
tumor

My cat was diagnosed with an aggressive malignant mast cell tumor in October, 2017. It was promptly removed, but it has returned with a few friends (there are now four tumor sites, one of which is an open-sore cluster). We are opting out of surgery this time due to cost, his age (age 15), and the fact that the tumor came back so quickly. My questions are: without any sort of chemo or treatment, can you estimate his life expectancy? What signs will he be showing when he is ready for that "last trip" to the vet? Thank you.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1054 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that this is happening to Soot. Every cancer behaves differently, but malignant mast cells tend to develop and progress rapidly. If he is in discomfort from the tumors, seems painful, doesn't want to walk or eat, or just seems unhappy, those may be signs that it is time to make a humane decision. I'm sorry, again, that you are going through this with him.

Thanks for posting. I too am experiencing the same thing with my 14 year old cat. He had a mass removed from his hock area six months ago and it had come back. He was depressed after surgery and it took him a long time to heal. I now live in a remote location and feel that another surgery, treatment, and car rides will be too much for him. So far the tumor doesn’t seem to bother him. Quality of life is my main concern for my much love companion.

This is helpful thanks for sharing, my cat Coco is going through same thing-had surgery then new growths came back 6 months after removal. (She's also 15) On back of her neck-now more and much bigger and some are starting to ooze and get infected, she just got an antibiotic shot and we were instructed to keep it clean etc. The vet wanted to do surgery again, but I don't think i want to put her through that plus she has heart and thyroid issues, and the area that is effected is much larger than last time. How will I know when it's her "time"?

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Little One
Ragdoll
6 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Itchy
Redness
Puffy

Medication Used

Prednisolone

I have a 6 year old Ragdoll mix, Little One. She has a mast cell tumor on her right leg, sort of her "wrist" area. We tried a round or Prednisolone which shrinked it for a few months, but now it has started to grow again. It does not bother her, although she does lick it quite a bit causing redness. My questions are, if they go in to remove it, is it possible that once opened, it may spread? And what would the recovery time be?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1054 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Mast cell tumors don't typically resolve without surgical removal. Her front leg is going to be a tough area to removed it due to the amount of skin available to close the wound, so your veterinarian may want to put her back on steroids to try and make it smaller again, but it will need to be removed. The recovery time depends on how the surgery goes, and your veterinarian will be able to give you a better idea as to that . I hope that all goes well for her.

Is there a chance of it spreading once it's opened up? What are the chances of it coming back? She is scheduled for surgery Monday but I'm not sure if that's what I want to do based on my first question.

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Theo
Domestic shorthair
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

tumor

hi there,
my cat recently went in for a dental cleaning and they found a mass on his right side while he was under. They removed it a biopsied it and it turned out to be a mast cell tumor. It was not very large and the vet was very confident she got all of it. There were no signs of additional growths and i will continue to monitor him. My question is what is the best next step. Would you recommend an x-ray or ultrasound to see if it has spread beyond cutaneous or just ride it out and only treat if other symptoms appear? If I notice another cutaneous growth, does this mean there is a higher chance of him also having disseminated tumors inside? or are cutaneous and disseminated not necessarily correlated at all? Obviously I would like to get ahead of the curve if possible. Thanks in advance.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2478 Recommendations
Metastasis of mast cell tumours in cats is uncommon, however it may occur; but if there is a single tumour present on the skin and it was removed with an adequate margin the prognosis is overall favourable. If there was a visceral tumour which spread to the skin, we would expect to see more than one tumour on skin (typically). Chemotherapy is normally unrewarding with this type of tumour and normally isn’t worth the side effects; however this should be discussed with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Patches
Unsure
15 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Tumor, less strength in paws, odor
Tumor, less strength in paws,

Hi there, unfortunately, my 15 year old cat was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor about 4 months ago. I have no idea if it is cancerous or not - that is something I chose not to know, simply due to his age. Therefore, we didn't go ahead with any surgery so we are letting the tumor take its course. He seems to be doing fine (eating and drinking), but the tumor has grown to the point where it drags down (it is on his belly). He has lost strength in his legs, so he can't necessarily clean himself the way he used to. Because of this, his paws look like he's in rough shape and he desperately needs to be bathed. My concern is whether or not it's okay to get the tumor wet. Since he hasn't been able to utilize his paws effectively there's a large buildup of litter and dirt and I just want to clean him up (he also smells... I think it is because of the odor coming from the tumor). So essentially I'm wondering if it would be okay for me to bathe him to try to clean him up a bit? Or is the tumor something that should definitely not get wet? Thank you.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2478 Recommendations
You should be able to bathe Patches without any issues unless there are other issues with the tumour (ulcerated, bleeding etc…); if you prefer you could just clean the paws with cat friendly wet wipes and wipe around the tumour with a chlorhexidine wipe. If you have concerns, consult with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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taiguinha
short hair
11 Years
Fair condition
-1 found helpful
Fair condition

because, the bumps show in my cat, her not have interest to eat can food; her eat some dry food, and drink water little bit, now the question is, what can I give to her to open her appetite and eat some real food. thanks

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2478 Recommendations
There are various causes of a loss of appetite and there are some medicines which may cause an increase in appetite but it is important to understand why a cat has lost their appetite which may be due to dental disorders, tumours, infections, foreign objects, other obstructions, parasites, hairballs among other problems. I would try to feed a different food (wet) and to heat it up a little so the smell may entice her to eat; if you have no success visit your Veterinarian for an examination to determine the underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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