Cancer in My Cat's Nose

Updated November 21, 2016

Just like humans, cats can experience sneezing and runny noses. Sometimes this is caused by allergies or a cold. If the sneezing becomes constant and the nasal discharge does not stop, then these could be signs that there might be cancer growing within a cat's nose.

Cat Nasal Cancer

The cause of cancer is not known, although environmental factors and heredity can both play a part. A cat can develop cancer anywhere in or on its body, including within its nose. When a cat contracts cancer, abnormal cells in its body begin to divide and multiply far faster than normal. These cells can damage the tissue and bone around them. Sometimes the cells travel throughout a cat's body, leading to cancer growing in multiple areas, according to the ASPCA.


Nasal tumours are not usually visible. A cancerous growth within a cat's nose will irritate its nasal tissues. This leads to symptoms like nasal discharge, often out of only one nostril. This discharge could be bloody. The cat might experience prolonged sneezing fits on a regular basis and paw at its nose. The cat's appetite could decrease or it might gag occasionally while it is eating, according to the "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook."


Nasal tumours are often difficult to find. A veterinarian might see one performing a rhinoscopy with an otoscope. X-rays can reveal the location of cancer in a cat's nose. Sometimes flushing water through a cat's nasal passages will release cancerous cells that can be identified when the water is later examined. A veterinarian could need to anaesthetise a cat and surgically explore its nose in order to find the cancer.


If a veterinary surgeon is able to access the cancerous growths in a cat's nose, she can surgically remove it. Afterward, radiation therapy can eliminate any remaining cancer cells, according to "What Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You." If the cancer cannot be surgically removed, radiation therapy can help slow the growth of the inaccessible tumour, but it will not destroy the tumour completely.


Cancerous nasal tumours are most common in older cats. If a nasal tumour is left untreated and continues to grow, it can put pressure on a cat's brain, which can result in seizures or behavioural changes. Nasal tumours can also damage the bones in a cat's face, causing visible deformity of its features, according to Washington State University.

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