Archive for August, 2010

23Aug

Malignant Melanoma is a very dangerous form of skin cancer and it’s one that cats can contract under myriad circumstances, many of which you have a great deal of control over. Malignant Melanoma in cats is rare because there’s not much skin exposed to the sunlight or anything else that causes the problem. However Malignant Melanoma can be found in the ears or in the eyelids where the skin of even the furriest cats is exposed. Cats with this form of skin cancer have tiny black bumps on the skin where the cancer is set to spread from.

Although Malignant Melanoma can be both benign and malignant, in cats, it tends towards malignancy, so it’s very important to have it diagnosed and taken care of as quickly as possible. Malignant Melanoma will spread very quickly through the body of a cat and will kill it if it’s not taken care of in a swift and decisive manner. Although Malignant Melanoma is rare in cats, there are some instances where it’s more common. For example, Malignant Melanoma is more common in cats of middle age (six to fourteen years of age). If you have a white cat, there is an increased chance of your pet contracting Malignant Melanoma.

There is a very simple reason why white cats have a higher chance of contracting Malignant Melanoma; they reflect the sunlight and leave the skin exposed to the UV rays that cause the cancer. This does not mean that you should stay away from white cats altogether, but you should be careful about letting your cat outside in bright sunlight and make sure to check up on vulnerable areas periodically. However, any cat can find themselves struck down with this disease, so don’t think that if you adopt a black cat, you’ll never have to worry about it again.

Malignant Melanoma in cats has to first be diagnosed as either malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous). This is best done by taking your cat to the vet; only a vet will be able to correctly diagnose the problem. You can self diagnose up to a certain point: if your cat has a skin lump, bleeding sores, bleeding ulcers, loss of fur, and itchiness and redness, these may all be signs of cancer. However, since these are the symptoms of many skin problems, you’ll need to talk to a vet and order blood work or a biopsy done to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.

Malignant Melanoma is most commonly seen as a skin cancer, but it can also be found as a kind of optic cancer in older cats. It can be seen as a change in eye color and redness in the eye.

Malignant Melanoma in any cat is serious, regardless which form it takes; it can spread very quickly and can be fatal if not dealt with quickly. Although it’s rare, in some cats it’s more common, especially in white cats who don’t even have much in the way of fur to protect them. By this token, hairless cats are also more susceptible to this disease, given that they lack the second and third layers of fur that the majority of cats are born with. An advantage to having a hairless cat, such as a Devon or Cornish Rex, you’ll be able to see the skin problem a little faster, than in those with lots of fur.

If your cat is diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma, then there are some treatment options available to you. Surgery is the most common one; your cat will have the tumor or tumors removed surgically. Some people have opted to treat cancer, both in humans and animals, homeopathically. This is, as you can imagine, quite controversial and although an option, it’s best to do your research first to determine its efficacy. Something as serious as cancer deserves an educated and well-informed decision.

Remember, as with anything, it can’t be stressed enough that if you suspect any abnormality with you furry friend, having your vet look at it, if only to reassure you that all is well, is recommended.