Second Biopsy May Tell All

Is the growth on a cat's nose an allergic reaction or something more?

Q. My cat has a growth on her nose and in order to rule out cancer our vet recently performed a biopsy. Fortunately, the results came back negative. We replaced her food and water dishes with stainless steel bowls, and we switched her over to skin-sensitive food. However, the affected area keeps scabbing over and continues to grow larger. It appears that the affected area itches, but she doesn’t seem to be in any pain.

She is mainly white with some black spots. In her early years she was an outdoor cat, but now lives strictly indoors. Several years ago she had a lump removed from her ear, but we never had it tested today the ear appears fine. We can’t understand why she has this growth on her nose. What can we do? Please help.

A. I cannot possibly tell you what to do to stop this growth from enlarging without knowing more specifics. You indicated that the biopsy was negative for cancer, but you did not indicate the full results of the biopsy. It is important to know exactly what you are dealing with in order to have proper treatment instituted. Was the biopsy indicative of some type of hypersensitivity (allergy)? In that case, switching dishes is a good idea, but using the sensitive-skin formula might not be enough. You may need to try a truly hypoallergenic diet, which your veterinarian should be able to recommend. Also, if you and your veterinarian do decide that a hypoallergenic diet trial for eight weeks is a prudent option, then your cat must eat that diet all the time and nothing else for the testing to be accurate. If the previous biopsy does not indicate a reliable diagnosis for this growth, I would suggest having another biopsy performed.

Remember, a biopsy is merely a sample of tissue and sometimes the sample will not tell what is really going on at a particular area or site. Re-biopsies are not uncommon and often laboratories will not charge extra reading fees.

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