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Cutaneous Hemangiosarcoma in the Cat

Michael Schaer, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM & ACVECC


|January 2009|Peer Reviewed

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Hemangiosarcoma is a malignant neoplasm arising from vascular endothelium. Although more commonly reported in dogs, it also affects cats. The skin can be either a primary or a secondary (metastatic) site for hemangiosarcoma. Either the epidermis or the subcutis can be involved; tumors of the subcutis have more metastatic potential.

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Related Article: Hemangiosarcoma in a Dog

These two cats were older than 10 years and their skin lesions initially appeared benign. The first cat had lesions resembling bruising and petechiae; then ecchymosis as the disease progressed (left). The second cat initially had lesions compatible with bruising that progressed to a more proliferative, malignant character (above).

Early diagnosis and wide surgical resection to obtain a tumor-free margin offer the best prognosis for hemangiosarcomas in cats. A recent review concluded that complete or partial surgical excision resulted in long survival times (mean survival time, 622 days; range, 90-1460 days), regardless of age, tumor size, or tumor location.1 Too few cats in this study were treated with chemotherapy to assess efficacy. Routine staging, including local lymph node aspiration, thoracic radiography, and abdominal ultrasonography, should be done before surgical resection is attempted.

Related Article: Subcutaneous Hemorrhage



1. Feline cutaneous hemangiosarcoma: A retrospective study of 18 cases (1998-2003). McAbee KP, Ludwig LL. JAAHA 41:110-116, 2005.

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