Hair Follicle Tumors in Cats


PetMD Editorial

Published Jul. 31, 2009

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


  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Flank
  • Tail
  • Limbs


  • Trunk/torso of the body


  • Unknown
  • Suspected genetic link


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.

Treatment and Care

Your veterinarian will most likely recommend excising the tumor, leaving wide surgical margins to ensure that the tumor has been removed entirely. If the histopathological results show a malignant tumor, your doctor may need to refer you to a veterinary oncologist for further treatment.

Living and Management

It is important to monitor your cat for recurrence of the hair follicle tumors. If you notice that your cat is developing more of these tumors, contact your veterinarian. Overall, the prognosis for this medical condition is generally excellent, as the majority of tumors are found to be benign.

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health