A pathologist at Massey University in New Zealand is studying the role that papillomavirus plays in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a common skin cancer in cats. If caught and treated early, SCC can have a favorable outcome, according to the Cornell Feline Health Center. If the cancer’s eruptions, which can resemble scabbed sores, go unnoticed, however, it can prove fatal.
Human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection, estimated to cause 5 percent of human cancers. Vaccines are available to prevent the infection in people, and the Massey researcher, John S. Munday, BVSc, Ph.D., hopes his work could lead to a vaccine for cats.
Although papillomavirus DNA has been detected in feline skin cancers, its role in their development is unknown. His evaluation of skin samples has established that a papillomavirus is associated with skin cancer in cats, Dr. Munday says. The next step is to definitively determine the role the virus may play in development of SCC in cats. ❖