About udder tumours
An older cat that is unneutered or neutered later in life is at risk of developing udder tumours. This is a common type of cancer in cats and unfortunately they are often malignant. The tumour is located in the udder tissue where it can grow and multiply and spread to other organs. The sooner a cat with lumps in the udder gets to the vet the better. That's why it's important to make an appointment with your vet for an examination if you feel a lump on your cat.
You may find udders in your cat along the entire underside of the abdomen. The mammary gland, also called the udder, produces milk in case the female cat has kittens. Nodules in the udder tissue of a cat are almost always malignant and are already at risk of having spread to several parts of the udder when examined by a vet. It is almost always older females that are unneutered that are affected, but cats that are neutered later in life or have been on the contraceptive pill during their lifetime are also at some risk of being affected.
In the beginning there are almost no symptoms on the cat, other than the lump(s) at the udder. However, after a period of time, the nodules will grow in size with a high chance of spreading to several parts of the udder. As they get bigger the cat may also start to irritate them, it is not uncommon for them to start licking the area more than usual which can lead to them becoming irritated and sore.
If the tumours have spread to other parts of the body's organs, symptoms may begin to appear, depending on which organ or organs are affected. It is not uncommon for udder tumours to spread to the lymph nodes or the lungs. In the lungs, they can give rise to what are called metastases, which can cause severe breathing problems in cats. Tumours can also develop in the bones or other organs in the abdominal cavity. It is difficult to predict the future prognosis of a cat affected by udder tumours.
Make a habit of regularly feeling your cat's body to detect lumps and other changes as early as possible! If you find a lump or other change in your cat's udder or on any other part of the cat's body, make an appointment to see a vet.