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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22616
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat Whiskey has a lump on his neck it seemed to appear overnight.

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My cat Whiskey has a lump on his neck it seemed to appear overnight. It does not seem to be painful to the touch. Please can you help.
Thanks June

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How old is Whiskey?

Where on his neck is the lump (ie just under his jaw, the middle of the neck, etc)?
Does he have one on the other side to match it?

If the mass firm, soft, hot, or fluidy to the touch?

Does Whiskey have any outside access? Could he have gotten into a fight?

If possible, could you take a photo of this? If you can do so and post them online, I am happy to have a look (since it will let me see what you are seeing). To post them, you can either use the wee paper clip on the tool bar (More Info). Or you can post them on a 3rd party site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web address here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Whisky is 7yrs old. the lump is on the back of his neck and is firm and does not move about. There is nothing to see except a raised lump under his fur no broken skin or anything. He does have access to go outside and play on woodland and with other cats.

thanks June

Thank you June,

Now when we see lumps of this nature, we do have a few concerns. Since this just arose so quickly, our most likely suspects would be allergic reactions to an insect sting, abscesses (from a wound or foreign body he's not told you about), cysts (fluid filled growths), and hematomas (akin to a blood blister). These could all potentially appear without warning and do not necessarily have to be sore to the touch.

That said, with the location, attachment and firmness of this mass, we do have to also be wary of other more sinister types of masses. Especially since we can see a specific firm fast growing tumor that can arise aroung the shoulder blades called an sarcoma. And while all tumors have the ability to grow very quickly, this one in particular is known to do so and would therefore be a wee worry in this situation at this stage.

With all this in mind, I do have to say that the best way to approach an abnormal mass like this is to have the vet evaluate the mass via fine needle aspiration (FNA). This is where the vet uses a needle to harvest cells from the mass. Animals do tend to be quite tolerant of this and often the sampling can be done in the consult room without sedation. If the vet performs the FNA and removes pus, then its a sign of an abscess/infection (which can be treated with antibiotics). If clear fluid is removed, then it is likely a cyst (which can be drained and often only removed for cosmetic reasons). Otherwise, if these are not the culprit, then the vet will stain the cells extracted to identify the nature of the mass. As well, at the same time, the vet will be able to examine your Whiskey for other lumps or bumps and can evaluate the local lymph nodes to make sure they are not also enlarged.

Finally, I would just note that while you are considering and arranging having him seen, you can consider warm compressing this lump. It won't help if we have a mass or an abscess but it can reduce our allergic reaction and hematoma concerns. Therefore, this would be something to try tonight for Whisky.
Just to note in case you don't have a warm compress on hand, you can make a microwaveable one by filling a sock 2/3rd full with rice and popping it in the microwave for a few minutes (of course, do give it a shake afterwards to distribute the heat and make sure its not too warm before use). If you try this and it settles, we can all breathe a wee sigh of relief. If it doesn't, then we'd want to have this checked for him.

Overall, with this being a firm mass on the back of the neck (and therefore a risk of something worrying), I must say that it would be prudent to have your vet check this lump sooner rather than later. If he is due for a booster soon, consider moving that appointment up to get him seen. Because the sooner you know the identity of this abnormal growth, the sooner you will know if it needs to be removed. (Or you can delay as long as it doesn't change in size while you monitor it). If it is found to be benign, then its no worry. But if is is found to be cancerous, then this will put you in the best position to address it and remove it for him. And as I am sure you can appreciate, early intervention means he is still young enough to be a good anesthetic candidate as well as early removal of a mass gives you the best chance of removing it all, preventing it getting to large to remove, preventing it spreading into the body, and giving you the best chance of settling this for him.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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