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Hair Follicle Tumors in Cats

Trichoepitheliomas and Pilomatricomas in Cats

 

There are two types of hair follicle tumors, which arise from cystic hair follicles (follicles that have closed over, like a sac), and, which arise from the cells that produce the hair follicles. Hair follicle tumors are generally benign tumors that originate in the hair follicles in the skin.

 

Trichoepitheliomas are small benign tumors, often found along a cat's back, shoulders, flank, tail or limbs. Pilomatricomas are rare skin tumors that develop from the hair matrix, where the cells which grow the hair follicles develop and are contained.

 

Hair follicle tumors should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian. The prognosis for these hair follicle tumors is generally positive, as the majority of the tumors are found to be benign. Amongst breeds, Persian cats appear to have a predisposition to hair follicle tumors.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Trichoepitheliomas

  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Flank
  • Tail
  • Limbs

 

Pilomatricomas

  • Trunk/torso of the body

 

Causes

 

  • Unknown
  • Suspected genetic link

 

Diagnosis

 

You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health and onset of symptoms. Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam on your cat, including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis.

 

Samples of the tumor will need to be taken for a close examination of the structure of the tumor. Samples will be taken for histopathologic laboratory analysis, both by fine needle aspirate (fluid sample) and by tissue biopsy. Such an analysis will determine exactly which type of hair follicle tumor is present and whether it is benign or malignant. Although this type of tumor is often found to be benign, it is possible that your veterinarian will find that it is a tumor of a different kind.

 

 
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