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Curettage and diathermy as a treatment for feline squamous cell carcinoma

R. H. Jarrett, E. J. Norman, I. R. Gibson, P. Jarrett

SQUAMOUS cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common tumour that can be found on the head of cats. Existing treatments can be highly effective; however, not all are available in general practice as they can be expensive and may require specialised equipment or training.

Curettage and diathermy (electrically induced heat) is used by dermatologists in human medicine to treat selected non-melanoma skin cancers with a reported high success rate. This study aimed to evaluate if this technique could offer an effective treatment for cats with feline nasal actinic dysplasia and superficial SCC lesions.

Thirty-four cats diagnosed with actinic dysplasia and superficial SCC, involving less than 50 per cent of the nasal planum, were treated under general anaesthetic in a single session with three cycles of curettage and diathermy. This involved scraping the tumour vigorously with a curette and then applying a thermocautery unit to the entire base and circumference of the defect to a depth of 1 to 2 mm.

Cats were closely monitored for signs of discomfort after the procedure, and follow-up examinations were made weekly for a median of 18.2 months. Twelve months after a single treatment of curettage and diathermy, …

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