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Cat with large growth on whisker pad. Help!

My daughter’s cat (about 13 years old) has developed a large growth on his whisker pad, most whiskers are gone along with fur in the area of the growth.  He is okay other than the growth, eats/drinks and does not seem to be in pain.  She took him to the vet and they said it is not an abscess and they want to do a biopsy ($600) to find out what it is and if it is cancerous.  Do you know what this could be?  If she does do the biopsy and it is cancerous she will not be able to afford radiation, do you feel a biopsy is necessary?  They said if it is a non-cancerous growth/tumor they could not remove it because it would remove part of his face, plus I am sure that procedure would be expensive as well.

Do you have an advice????

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3 comments on “Cat with large growth on whisker pad. Help!

  1. Dr. Phil McHugh on said:

    Sounds like a problem. Sorry
    please get a second opinion. The biopsy sounds like what I would recommend, but it probably can be done for less tha $600.
    Good luck

  2. Doctor Rose on said:

    Hi

    I agree with Dr. McHugh – needs to be biopsied but the procedure and the histology should not come to anywhere near $600!

  3. Beth on said:

    Growths on cats are never a good sign, and it is important that it be addressed as quickly as possible. Occasionally, veterinarians can take an aspirate of the growth, meaning, they pull out several cells through a needle and examine it on a side under a microscope or send it to a pathologist to be evaluated. Unfortunately, aspirates can be inconclusive if an adequate sample is not collected. Also, cats are not always the best patients for such procedures, especially if the sample needs to be collected from the face and the cat may need to be sedated making biopsy a better option.

    When a biopsy is performed, a larger sample is cut from the growth and it is sent to the pathologist for evaluation. The total cost that was quoted may include a number of things such as pre-operative bloodwork, hospitalization, the procedure itself, anesthesia, sterile pack and surgical supplies, pain medication, antibiotics, and the pathologist evaluation and associated shipping charges. You may need to discuss with your veterinarian other options that may cut costs such as a smaller pre-operative blood panel if they are offering an extensive one, using sedation as opposed to anesthesia for the procedure, etc. $600 does sound like a large amount and it is important to understand what all you are getting for that price. Ensure that you receive an itemized estimate so you can identify what each part of the procedure costs and what services they are providing to you.

    You may also consider just having the growth removed and submitted to the pathologist. This will result in lower costs to you than placing the cat under anesthesia twice, once for a biopsy and then again to remove the growth. The concern is very real that the growth, if cancerous, may result in a large amount of the skin being removed and your cat not having a normal appearance after the procedure, but speak with your veterinarian and see what your options are. Even with an unusual looking face, it is better to remove the growth than leave the cat to suffer the side effects of cancer.

    One last thing, seek out payment options. Some veterinary hospitals have payment plans either through billing procedures or holding checks. Most take credit cards (which act as payment plans). Others work with CareCredit which is a third party payment option specific to pet care. Or consider pet insurance. All these options can help defray some of the associated costs of big procedures.

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