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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 33251
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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my cat has nail like growths on her body sometimes they go

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my cat has nail like growths on her body sometimes they go on their own or she bites them of they grow again my prt is roughly 18 mnths old
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
You've described cutaneous horns which are growing on Bonnie. This describes a circumscribed, conical or cylindrical mass of keratin that may originate from underlying actinic keratosis (a pre-cancerous lesion), squamous cell carcinoma, papilloma, a dilated pore, or infundibular keratinizing acanthoma. Bonnie's would need to biopsy one of these to clarify which of the above is occurring.

Most important, however, is the fact that these horns may be seen as a unique entity on the footpads of cats infected with the feline leukemia (FeLV) virus. Any feral cat with cutaneous horns should be tested for that virus. The treatment of choice is complete surgical excision. The horns themselves are benign but the prognosis is variable depending on the underlying cause. FeLV, for example, would entail a very guarded prognosis because too many cats are lost within months to a few years if carrying this virus.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So sorry for delay in reply computer problems Dr Salkin,. Bonnie has these growth's on or near her neck none on her footpads, she will be booked in at our local vets, Thank you so much for your response,,, I feel a great sadness that I will probably lose her,I got her from a rescue centre to give her a better life and now ..... thanks Cath

Perhaps her prognosis isn't so dire. Can you upload a close up photo(s) of these growths to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or you can use an external app such as or

I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Dr Salkin I will try to get a photo of her she's not fond of camera's lol asap ...Cath

Camera shy, is she? Do your best, Cath.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Apologies yet again Dr Salkin, Bonnie is booked in at the vets for Tuesday of next week Monday is a Bank Hoiday, couldnt get it any sooner, the boney bits have gone sores almost healed photo not possible she doesnt like to be held, oh and she is forever washiing herself and strips her fur she' almost bald she is also an indoor cat I think thats it

It sounds as if she's improving in spite of me. I never argue with success. I am concerend, however, that she's grooming to the point of baldness. Here's a synopsis of the notes I use to lecture about cats such as Bonnie:

Pruritic (itchy) cats are suffering from an allergic dermatitis the great majority of the time. Allergies to flea saliva, environmentals such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, and foods should be considered. In rare instances the mange mite Demodex might be responsible.

Our dermatologists tell us to apply an effective over the counter flea spot-on such as Advocate or a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline, FiproGuard and PetArmor even if fleas aren't seen. Cats can be such effective groomers so as to eliminate all evidence of flea infestation. Indoor cats can contract fleas because we walk them in on us and flea eggs and larva can remain viable in your home for months. As the weather warms at this time of year then hatches the eggs. In severe cases, an anti-allergenic prescription corticosteroid such as prednisolone will work wonders for cats allergic to the saliva of the flea. Your other pets may not be allergic to the saliva of the flea.

Environmental allergies are usually addressed with prednisolone as well. In some cats an over the counter antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine dosed at 2mg/cat daily may be effective.

Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Bonnie's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. There are many prescription novel protein diets and the prototypical hydrolyzed protein diet is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra. We usually see a positive response to these foods within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. A food intolerance can appear at any age and even if our cats have been eating the same food for quite some time.

We used to diagnose these cats with psychogenic alopecia - a neurotic over-grooming - but have come to realize that most of these cats truly are allergic cats. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.