Ear and Nose Cancer in White Cats

Priced from $950 - $1,400
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What is ear and nose cancer?

Also known as Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), this cancer is incredibly common in the nose and ear region of white cats. It only appears in white areas of fur, not in places that hold pigment. This cancer is highly invasive yet slow to spread (if left untreated for long enough, however, it will spread to regional lymph nodes and cause even more issues).

SCC cat’s ear

How is it diagnosed?

The earliest signs that something is amiss tends to be the appearance of small scabs, which owners often mistake as sores (from getting into fights or even just roaming around outside). Unlike sores, however, these scabs will not heal. As the cancer progresses, a more obvious ulceration of the affected tissue will start to appear along with weeping bacterial infections that are secondary to the SCC. After this, we will start to see severe tissue destruction. These later stages are still treatable, however, there is a much higher risk that the cancer has already spread.

How is it treated?

Your cat’s nose can be readily treated using cryotherapy (which involves liquid nitrogen and a general anaesthetic) in the early stages of SCC. There will be little to no change in the appearance of your pet. If the SCC is invasive or has progressed, your cat’s nose is still treatable in most cases but will need to be done so surgically, which can result in some significant aesthetic changes.

When cancer is present in your pet’s ear, immediate removal of the whole appendage (from the base) is recommended. If only the affected portion is removed, SCC will often reoccur in what remains of the ear. Removing the entire ear actually involves less cost and minimises surgery for your cat.

Cryotherapy therapy nose SCC

Procedure cost

Depending on the length of the procedure and other ancillaries (like blood tests), cryotherapy cat cancer treatment costs between $950 and $1,400 at Melbourne Pet Surgery. In more severe cases, cat ear tumour surgery costs between $900 and $1,200. Compare this to referral centres where you would likely see a bill of $2,000 to $3,000 or even more!

Optional pre-anaesthetic blood test available for all surgeries (additional cost)

Recovery and aftercare

Your cat will generally be able to return home the same day if cryotherapy is performed, however, we recommend a hospital stay of two to three days if surgery is performed (as your feline friend will be placed on IV fluids at first, so we like to ensure they have started to eat and drink again before going home). Your cat will be sent home with antibiotics and pain relief, returning to the hospital two weeks after the surgery for a check up where the healing will be assessed and any sutures will be removed.

Avoiding SCC

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to avoid ear and nose cancer in white cats. Even indoor pets are at risk, as they like to sit near windows where they become exposed to UV rays. The most important thing you can do as an owner is seek treatment early. This will result in a permanent cure with little risk of spreading when cancer occurs in the ears, and only very little change when it occurs in the nose.

Dr. Scot Plummer

Meet Dr. Scot Plummer


Dr Plummer has always had a deep love for animals and graduated from the University of Queensland with Honours. in his Bachelor of Veterinary Science. After the success of his Brisbane clinic, Dr Plummer has launched Melbourne Pet Surgery with the goal of lowering the cost of high-quality pet care for all Melburnians.

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