The secretion of milk is one of the most important processes. Unfortunately, the mammary glands do not always remain healthy. Some of their diseases are extremely dangerous for the health and life of cats. These include mastopathy.
What is mastopathy: basic information about the disease
In cats, mastopathy is quite common. This is the name for a specific type of benign tumor, sometimes growing in the thickness of the glandular tissue of the mammary glands. Pathology is accompanied by a change in the shape and consistency of both the nipples themselves and the entire milk ridge (i.e., a number of packages of the mammary gland).
Contrary to popular belief, mastopathy is not cancer. But many experts not unreasonably consider it a precancerous condition, noting that neglected cases of this disease in almost all cases end in the development of malignant neoplasms. And therefore, it is impossible to start mastopathy in any case, when the first symptoms appear, you must immediately seek the help of a veterinarian.
Differences of mastopathy from mastitis
To distinguish mastopathy from mastitis is quite simple:
- Mastopathy - A benign tumor, while mastitis is a purely inflammatory disease of the breast.
- Mastopathy (especially in cases where no one has treated the cat) is very often the cause of mastitis. The reverse phenomenon is also possible, but this happens extremely rarely.
- The formation of a tumor is not the fastest process. Often, mastopathy develops during the first pregnancy, but it begins to manifest itself clearly closer to the third.
- Mastitis develops immediately and its symptoms are already visible on the second or third day.
Forms of mastopathy in cats
Veterinarians distinguish the following forms of mastopathy in cats:
- Fibrocystic. In this case, multiple “vesicles” (ie cysts) filled with fluid appear in the thickness of the mammary gland. Subsequently, they merge and additionally germinate with connective tissue.
- Diffuse. In this case, a lot of small seals are formed in the thickness of the gland, uniformly distributed throughout the body (usually within one milk packet, i.e. one share). Very often, this form goes into fibrocystic and there are often no clear gradations between them.
- Juvenile. In general, this is not a separate form of mastopathy, but the age of its manifestation. This is the name of the pathology identified in a young cat before or shortly after puberty (first estrus). Its shape can be any, but in young pets, the diffuse type is most often revealed.
- Purulent. As a rule, such mastopathy is a consequence of advanced mastitis. Multiple abscesses form in the thickness of the mammary glands, which subsequently become overgrown with connective tissue. Many veterinarians deny the existence of this form of the disease, considering it to be ordinary purulent mastitis. This is often true: cytological examination of tissue samples does not reveal traces of the tumor.
Stages of mastopathy
The following stages of mastopathy are distinguished:
- First one. Small, multiple seals appear in the thickness of the organ. At the first stage, mastopathy, as a rule, proceeds according to the diffuse type.
- The second one. Soreness appears, with pressure on the affected portion, discharge from the nipple is possible, the "granules" inside the gland increase, some merge. The general condition of the cat worsens; an increase in local and general body temperature is possible.
- The third. Pathological foci merge, diseased gland is sharply increased in size, very dense, soreness at this time is already falling. Exudate is often secreted from the nipples when pressed.
Causes of the disease
It is difficult to identify the exact causes of the development of the disease, but most often the following factors provoke pathology:
- Mastitis. One of the most common and typical reasons.
- All types of hormonal pathologies and hormonal "shocks" which, for example, include the first sexual hunt, pregnancy and feeding of cubs.
- Mechanical injuries of the mammary glands.
- Parasites. In the mammary glands, the nematode larvae often "sleep".
- Frequent and prolonged stress (moving, repairing, etc.).
- In recent years, the theory of alimentary mastopathy has been put forward, arising, according to experts, against the background of feeding with cheap forages based on cereals. In nature, such food for cats is categorically uncharacteristic, and therefore it is difficult to predict the response of the animal organism.
Risk groups: which cats get sick most often
There are certain risk groups for mastopathy. Animals related to them are sick much more often:
- Nurseries during the first estrus, first pregnancy, first feeding. As mentioned above, all these periods of the animal’s life are characterized by a sharp change in the hormonal background of their body.
- False pregnancy. In this condition, the hormonal background of the body also "goes crazy", which is fraught with many problems.
- Intrauterine fetal death or the death of kittens in infancy. In these situations, mastitis and subsequent mastopathy are very likely.
- Mastopathy sometimes develops in cases of frostbite or severe hypothermia of the breast (especially in nursing cats).
- Siamese cat breed and crossbreeds based on it.
Important! Extremely rare, but mastopathy is found in ... cats. Provided that the animal has been treated with hormonal drugs for a long time or under the condition of their uncontrolled and unjustified supply. By the way, most of all the same Siamese suffer from this (the treatment is simple - castration).
Mastopathy in sterilized cats: why it develops
Many breeders know that with sterilization, the risk of cancer and the same mastopathy is significantly reduced. This is true, but only on condition that the operation was carried out before the first estrus. The sense of sterilizing a cat for this purpose is before the second or third hunt, after which the animals are sterilized solely for medical reasons. But in these cases the procedure does not save from mastopathy.
In addition, mastopathy in sterilized cats is a consequence of an improperly performed procedure when, for some reason, the ovaries or the uterus itself were not removed. You can’t do this! Full sterilization always involves the removal of these organs. Otherwise, hormonal disruptions are inevitable.
Symptoms and first signs of disease in cats
In order not to miss the moment, you need to carefully monitor the cat and, if the first signs of the disease are detected, immediately take the cat to the clinic.
Symptoms of mastopathy:
- Redness of the skin around the nipples.
- The mammary glands can significantly increase in size.
- On palpation, strange seals, "peas" and other swelling are easily detected, which should not be normal.
- If the disease has already started in order, when you click on the affected lobes (usually 4 or 5 are affected), something remotely resembles milk (up to purulent exudate) is secreted from the nipples.
- In addition, soreness is possible.
- Animals, starting from the second stage of mastopathy, partially lose their appetite, their body temperature may increase, the mammary glands can also swell, swell and heat up.
- In extremely severe and advanced cases, ulceration is possible.
Diagnosis of mastopathy
In most cases, the diagnosis of mastopathy is as follows:
- A medical history is collected, including the presence / absence of the above clinical signs.
- A comprehensive study is underway:
- Complete and biochemical blood tests. Firstly, one can see signs of inflammation (an increase in the number of leukocytes), and secondly, specific markers indicating oncology can be found in the blood.
- Ultrasound and abdominal and thoracic radiography in order to confirm / exclude cancer.
- Histological examination tissue samples taken from the affected lobe. Often this study is carried out after the operation to excise foci of mastopathy. This is done in order to confirm or refute a possible oncology.
We’ll immediately warn you: treatment at home is possible only in mild cases of mastopathy, with its diffuse form and in the first stage. If the disease is started, or the condition of the animal causes serious concern, you should always seek the help of a veterinarian!
In some cases, homeopathic remedies help:
- Injury gel for external use. Relieves puffiness.
- Phytoelitis-Cytostat. A drug specially designed to treat and slow the growth of malignant and benign tumors.
- Mastodinon and Masto-Gran. These drugs are specifically designed to treat inflammatory pathologies of the breast.
Important! Such therapy helps only in the most mild cases.
In clinical conditions, the following drugs are used to treat mastopathy:
- Mastometrine. Used to suppress inflammatory processes, accelerates the regeneration of damaged tissues.
- Dufaston and Morning. These are purely medical means, but in veterinary medicine (for lack of analogues) they are also actively used. In fact, it is synthetic progesterone. This hormone inhibits the further growth of a benign tumor and promotes its resorption.
- Anti-inflammatory corticosteroidsbut only after oncology is completely ruled out! These agents can stimulate the growth of cancerous tumors.
Compresses for mastopathy
On many resources you can find the opinion that compresses can be used for mastopathy. But this is not so. More precisely, not quite so. Indeed, in the first stage, you can apply their cool varieties for 20 minutes with a frequency of once every two hours.
But warming poultices and generally warmly applying to the affected lobes is strictly prohibited! Such "treatment" only contributes to inflammation and can provoke the transformation of mastopathy into a malignant tumor.
Veterinarians believe that folk remedies should be used very carefully. In addition, they are inclined to believe about their low efficiency and, in some cases, the danger to the health of the cat.
- Camphor oil. Strongly advise against using. It has a warming effect, and therefore with its help you can easily aggravate the course of the disease.
- Ichthyol ointment. On the contrary, it is quite an effective tool. If you apply it up to three times a day, you can relieve swelling, relieve pain and stop inflammatory processes.
- Cabbage leaf. Apply in the same way as cold compresses. Some breeders advise lubricating it with honey (for better fixation and strengthening anti-inflammatory properties).
- Coarsely grated carrots or beets. All the same folk analogue of cool compresses, they are also applied for 20 minutes every two hours. Fix with a bandage or adhesive.
Tumor removal surgery as the most effective treatment
The experience of veterinarians around the world says that the most effective and effective method of treatment is always the operation to remove the tumor. It is almost useless to treat this pathology medically, starting from the second stage, and from the third stage such therapy is a waste of time and money.
If the case is not too neglected, it is possible to do only by removing the affected lobe (s). But! Before this, a thorough ultrasound and x-ray examination must be carried out in order to make sure that there are no tumors in neighboring lobes. But in advanced situations, it is often necessary to remove the entire affected ridge (i.e., the entire row of lobes), or even all the mammary glands.
The recovery period reaches 4 months (in old animals). In addition, six months after surgery, at least once a month, veterinary control is required.
If the cat is not sterilized, six months after the removal of the tumor (especially with complete excision of the glands), this operation must also be performed. All the same, the pet will not be able to feed the kittens, so any pregnancy is extremely undesirable and dangerous.
Possible complications and their consequences
We have already described all the possible complications and their consequences, but to summarize:
- Very rarely, but it is mastopathy that leads to severe mastitis (but usually the opposite is true).
- The most dangerous consequence is oncology. Although tumors with mastopathy are benign, there is no guarantee that they will not degenerate into cancerous.
- Cicatricial screeds on the mammary glands. Even if there are no tumors in the remaining lobes, the cat will most likely not be able to feed the cubs.
The only true and 100% effective prevention of mastopathy is cat sterilization until the first sexual hunt. The remaining recommendations allow not only to reduce the risk of the disease, but to detect it in time:
- Show the pet to the veterinarian at least once a quarter. If the cat is Siamese, then you can do this more often.
- You should not often use hormonal drugs to suppress sexual hunting. If receiving kittens is not planned in principle, it is better to sterilize the cat immediately.
- You need to feed the pet either with a high-quality "natural", or with the premium and super premium classes.