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Cat Basal Cell Tumor

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Cat Basal Cell Tumor


Basal cell tumors are tumors that originate in the epithelial layer of skin. Some can be benign and others may be malignant. They are a very common type of tumor with a higher prevalence in cats. These are the same type of skin lesions that can appear on humans as well as cats. The treatment and prognosis are the same in all cases.

Usually, the tumors are benign. There are instances when they can be malignant. For this reason, it is important to watch for signs of basal cell tumors.

Signs and Symptoms

These tiny tumors are hairless, firm, solitary and distinct. They appear as circles on the skin of your cat. The areas of your cat’s body that are usually affected are the shoulders, neck and head.


Your veterinarian can easily diagnose a basal cell tumor. Initially there will be lab work performed. They will have a cell count, urinalysis and chemical profile. Although these tests are performed in all questionable cases, they are usually normal in cats with basal cell tumors.

After the lab tests are performed, chest x-rays are the next step in the diagnostic process. This is especially beneficial in older cats. Usually, basal cell tumors are found in middle aged to senior cats. These too are usually normal.

Using a very small needle and syringe, your veterinarian may choose to aspirate some of the fluid or part of the tissue for laboratory analysis. The final test will be a biopsy of the outlined mass to definitely diagnose the type of tumor that is present.

Treatment Options

The only treatment for basal cell tumors in cats is removal of the tumor. Surgical removal will totally remove the mass and free your cat of further issues most of the time. Depending on how severe the growth is, this can be minor to major surgery. Check into your vet’s history of success rates for this type of procedures and if you don’t feel comfortable, ask if they have any recommendations or if they know of anyone who specializes in this field.


Since these are basically localized tumors; surgical removal will afford a very positive prognosis. You will need to closely watch the surgical area when you get your cat home. It is important to observe the surgical area for redness or swelling in the area. Any signs of infection should be reported to your veterinarian.

Pain control is another issue. Your vet will most likely prescribe pain medication for your cat. Rather than wait until your cat becomes uncomfortable, administer the medication as prescribed by your veterinarian. A comfortable recovery leads to a hastened recovery.


There are no specific actions to prevent basal cell tumors. They can reappear and it is up to the caring owner of the cat to observe their skin and report any recurrence to their veterinarian. Although the initial basal cell tumors may have been malignant, it pays to be cautious and report changes in your cat’s condition to your veterinarian.

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