Daily Express

Should I worry about cat’s lump?

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QMY SEVEN-year-old domestic shorthair cat developed a lump on his head three months ago. My vet did some tests, then operated, sending a sample to a pathologis­t. It was a mast cell tumour and my vet thinks the outlook is very good. Should I be worried?

AMAST cells are part of the immune system and they occasional­ly multiply and become cancerous. Mast cell tumours are common in dogs but much less so in cats.Tumours in the skin in cats usually occur on the head and neck or on the limbs. Some appear in the intestines or spleen and these can cause a cat to be ill with vomiting, diarrhoea and lack of appetite. Intestinal and splenic mast cell tumours are also much more likely to be malignant and carry a more guarded prognosis.Your vet has establishe­d that the tumour was involving the skin only, that surgical excision was complete and also indicated the tumour was benign.

The vast majority of feline skin mast cell tumours are benign, mirroring my own experience with a series of cases.The only difficulty I had with a few tumours was when it was difficult to remove them due to their size or location.

I agree with your vet’s prognosis, particular­ly as there has been no recurrence.

QMY BOXER puppy Leo is five months old and has a biting habit. When he comes in after a walk he starts painful biting. Is this a dominance thing or could there be a medical problem?

AALL PUPPIES “mouth” to explore their environmen­t. They also play bite with their siblings, quickly learning not to bite too hard. Not causing pain to humans in the family has to be learnt as well.

Biting is not likely to be a medical problem, although normal teething might accentuate chewing of objects such as furniture. Now that Leo is five months, with his adult teeth coming through, any biting is painful and must be discourage­d, if necessary with help from a canine behaviouri­st as advised by your vet.

I don’t believe dominance is a factor. It is more likely that Leo’s behaviour started out as play, without him being taught not to bite hard. Biting is probably still a game, assuming he is not snarling and showing his teeth or being otherwise aggressive Shouting or scolding gets his attention, which is what he wants. Any punishment will make things worse, as it runs a risk of escalating aggression. When he bites say “no” while distractin­g him with a rubber toy. If he continues, leave the room for 30 seconds, which stops the game. Stopping the game by becoming unresponsi­ve or distractin­g him is important. Also teach him to sit and when he does or whenever he is good, reward him with a treat. Visit the RSPCA website, rspca.org.uk, for more advice.


David Grant MBE was a vet at the RSPCA Harmsworth Hospital for Animals. Email questions to him at pamperedpe­ts@express. co.uk. He is unable to enter into individual correspond­ence.

 ?? ?? FELINE FINE: Most mast cell tumours in cats are benign
FELINE FINE: Most mast cell tumours in cats are benign
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