Learning More About Nasal Problems

Study names lymphoma as the most common cancer

A study in the October 2019 Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery looked at 405 samples submitted to a pathology laboratory to see what feline nasal problems were identified. The three most common problems found in the samples were rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal mucosa, found in 215 samples), cancers of various types (133), and nasal polyps (81 of the samples).

The most common cancer was lymphoma. Adenocarcinoma and undifferentiated carcinomas followed in prevalence. Tumors were almost always malignant, with few benign growths found. Lymphoma was found in 68 cats and adenocarcinomas in 51 cats. Only two cats had benign cancers.

The researchers were looking for any correlation between anatomy and nasal problems. Anecdotally, cats with long faces are thought to be predisposed to nasal cancers, while brachycephalic (short-faced) cats are believed to have a predisposition to rhinitis. This study did not bear out either of these beliefs.

Nasal polyps were mostly found in younger cats, with an increased incidence in males. These are treatable by surgery and generally have a good prognosis (see “When a Nasopharyngeal Polyp Makes an Appearance,” February 2018, available at catwatchnewsletter.com). If your cat has a nasal discharge, seems to sneeze often, has a disfiguration of the nose or muzzle, or shows signs of any respiratory problems such as wheezing, she should be seen by your veterinarian promptly.n

Ferguson S, et al. A retrospective study of more than 400 feline nasal biopsy samples in the UK (2006–2013). J Feline Med Surg. 2019 Oct 21.