Skin Cancer Average Cost

From 328 quotes ranging from $3,000 - 8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer will often begin subtly and then increase in seriousness, making early recognition and veterinary care a crucial part of your cat’s prognosis for long-term recovery.

Skin cancer in cats refers to a variety of types of malignant (cancerous) tumors that are found on your cat’s skin. Skin cancer is distinguished from other types of tumors, including non-malignant sebaceous cysts, as cancer can spread to surrounding bodily structures and cause damage to other cells and tissues. Skin cancer occurs more frequently in cats with shorter or thinner coats that have more exposure to the sun. Skin cancer can also have a hereditary component as cats with a relative with the condition have a greater chance of developing the disease.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer in Cats

Symptoms of skin cancer in your cat will often begin very subtly. As the disease progresses, the signs will become more noticeable. Examining your cat regularly while petting will help in early identification and better long term treatment options. Signs to watch for include:

  • Redness or red patches of skin
  • Flaky or dry patches of skin
  • Itchiness in specific isolated areas of skin
  • Ulcers or lesions on skin
  • Open wounds that do not have an apparent injurious cause
  • Open wounds or sores that will not heal
  • Lump on the skin
  • Swelling in isolated areas

Types

While skin cancer refers to any number of cancers that affect the epidermis of your cat, there are several common types of skin cancer to watch out for.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Affecting the top or basal layer of skin and appearing along the head, neck, legs and chest, basal cell carcinomas are malignant tumors that increase in size and can spread to neighboring skin.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in cats. Tumors often occur around body openings and in areas exposed to the sun and rarely metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body.

Mast Cell Tumors

Small tumors with a distinct appearance of ulcerated, damaged or dead skin, mast cell tumors tend to occur on the legs and abdomen and can often spread quickly to other parts of the body.

Melanomas

Melanomas can be distinguished from other types of cancers by their color. These black or brown tumors can be found in numerous locations around your cat’s body.

Causes of Skin Cancer in Cats

For some forms of skin cancer, the exact cause is unknown. However, there are several generally accepted causes for the most common types.

  • Long-term, repeated exposure to sun
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Hereditary predisposition

Diagnosis of Skin Cancer in Cats

Diagnosis of skin cancer in your cat will begin during a thorough physical examination of your cat’s body. In some cases, identification and diagnosis may be made during routine veterinary visits. If you have previously identified the symptoms, you should make a particular note of any changes in the appearance of the skin or tumors. Timing growth or changes in shapes can help identify the type of skin cancer in your cat, as well as provide initial clues as to the severity and best course of treatment.

You veterinarian will next take several samples from your cat. These will include skin scrapings or samples of any ulcerated tissue or mole-like structures. Your veterinarian will also run a full blood panel and, depending on the severity of the condition, may also take a tissue sample from nearby lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread. Finally, your veterinarian will want to perform imaging of your cat, such as chest x-rays or ultrasounds, to confirm that any cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment of Skin Cancer in Cats

The preferred method of treatment for skin cancer in your cat will almost always be removal of the tumor. In cases which the skin cancer is caught early, the tumors may be small and easily removed during a surgical procedure. Your cat will need to be admitted to the hospital and placed under anesthesia. Your vet will then carefully remove the affected tissue, being sure to obtain clean margins, or an area of uninfected, non-cancerous cells around the tumor, to ensure that cancer will not regrow.

In cases which the skin cancer has grown too large or has spread to other parts of the body and become inoperable, chemotherapy or radiation may be potential alternative treatment options. Chemotherapy will involve strong tumor fighting drugs being administered to your cat over several months. There may be side effects to chemotherapy, such as weight loss or loss of appetite. These side effects may be lessened by various medications prescribed by your vet.

Recovery of Skin Cancer in Cats

Depending on the severity of your cat’s skin cancer, prognosis is very good for recovery. If the skin cancer was of a type that does not rapidly spread, removal of the tumor will provide a cure and allow your cat to have a normal, long and healthy life. It will be important to follow up with regular veterinary exams to ensure the cancer does not recur. You should also speak with your vet about preventative measures that can be taken to decrease or avoid sun exposure to your cat’s skin.

Skin Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Cara
Mix breed
7 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Reoccurring in same area
Heals slowly
Scabs
Raw sores

Good day,
Our female cat started developing about a 2cm raw wound just above her eye (on the line between her eye and ear).It would form a scab, but she probably scratched it because the scab kept coming off. We took her to the Vet, which said that it could be an allergic reaction to a tick/flea bite. She received an injection and tick and flea treatment. The sore came back after about two weeks. It has since healed, but a new scab has formed just lateral to the first one. It is about 0.4mm and a perfect circle. The scab is dark and thick. We are not sure if she was in a fight or whether it's someting more serious. (She is a white cat with grey around her one eye and ear. The sores form on the grey part of her skin.)

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
876 Recommendations
Since I cannot see Cara or look at the area, it is difficult for me to comment on what might be going on with her. It would be best to follow up with your veterinarian for a recheck since the problem doesn't seem to be resolving. I hope that she is okay.

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Moo
Patch tabby
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bumps

My cat i’m pretty sure has skin cancer. She is constantly scratching and licking making herself sick. She has no flees. She has bumps everywhere on her head and by her tail on her back. She scratches herself so bad she bleeds. She will not stop. So, what do you think?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
876 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Moo is quite young to have developed skin cancer, although it is possible. Without seeing her, I can't diagnose what might be going on with her skin. Parasites other than fleas are possible, as are bacterial or fungal infections, or allergies, It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at her, diagnose what might be going on, and give her treatment for her skin.

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Esmeralda
domestic short hair
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Color change

My cat is approximately 9 years old. She has a flat, irregularly shaped “birthmark” on her forehead between her left eye and ear. I’ve noticed lately that the area has darkened fairly significantly. The size and shape has remained the same, and it has also remained flat. She is a strictly indoor cat. Should this be a concern?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2317 Recommendations
Generally if there has been a change in colour, shape or size you should consult your Veterinarian for a check to determine if the area is to be concerned about or not. Your Veterinarian may want to take a biopsy to send for histopathology to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Charlotte
Gray tiger striped
8 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of hair
Loss of hair, behavor change, a wet

Our 8 in a half month old kitten is starting to worry me more with each day, she does not pee in the cat box only goes poo, she has hair loss from the her neck all the way to the tail to the point u see skin, she bitting licking & scratching a lot, she is no longer active, when she is picked up she feels slimy, she has big sire area's all over her. Can you please help me figure out what might be wrong? She was found abandon at 10days old.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
876 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. She needs to be seen by a veterinarian, as she may have a parasite or a skin infection and need treatment. They will be able to examine her, get her treatment and make her healthier. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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Cat
Siberian
Less than a year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss

The area in front of my cat ears have less hair compared to everwhere else. And the skin is visible with brown spots on it. It's a Siberian cat btw. Shoild i be concerned. Is it cancer?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2317 Recommendations
It is possible that you are seeing dirt or debris which has come out of the ear which may be due to infections or ear mites; you should try to clean the ears gently with warm water and check the ear canals or any sign of infection. If you have concerns, you should visit your Veterinarian; cancer is uncommon at this age but best to have her checked over. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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