Vaginal and Vulvar Tumors in Cats

Published on
Last updated on
3 min read

Key takeaways

Vaginal tumors are rare and commonly benign in cats, they are masses which occur on the vulva or rarely in the vaginal canal.

  • Incidence is higher in unspayed, older cats and it is thought that hormones may play a role in formation, but most of the time the cause for tumor formation is unknown
  • Main symptoms are a visible mass on the vulva, vaginal discharge, blood in the urine, weight loss, and painful urination
  • Diagnosis includes a physical examination, diagnostic imaging, biopsies, and vaginoscopy
  • Treatment can depend on the malignancy of the tumor but involves surgery, spaying, chemotherapy, and radiation
  • Prognosis varies from good to poor depending on if the tumor is benign or malignant and staging of the tumor
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A closer look: Vaginal and Vulvar Tumors in Cats

Vaginal tumors are rare in cats and most often are benign tumors which originate in the smooth muscle tissues (leiomyoma).

Risk factors

Symptoms can vary in severity depending on the staging of the cancer and the length of time the tumor has been present. If the tumors have metastasized, the symptoms can expand to include symptoms related to tumors in the area of metastasis.

Possible causes

The specific causes of vaginal tumors are currently unknown but incidences are higher in unspayed, older cats.

Other benign tumors arising from the vagina and vulva include:

  • Fibroma
  • Lipoma
  • Hemangioma

Malignant tumors arising from the vagina and vulva include:

  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Mast cell tumor
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

Sometimes transitional cell carcinomas from the urinary tract extend into the vagina.

Main symptoms

Testing and diagnosis

After a physical examination and medical history a number of tests can be done to determine diagnosis and staging of the tumor;

  • Vaginoscopy
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Blood work
  • Cytology
  • Biopsy

Steps to Recovery

Once a vaginal tumor is identified, there are a number of options for treatment. Surgical removal of the tumor and a spay are the most common treatments for benign vaginal tumors. In malignant or metastatic tumors, radiation and chemotherapy may also be required.

Prognosis with vaginal and vulvar tumors is highly variable. If the tumor is malignant or metastasis is suspected, the prognosis is poor.

The prognosis following complete surgical removal of a benign tumor is excellent.

Monitoring is required after surgical removal to allow for early identification of recurrence.


While it is not possible to prevent vaginal tumors, spaying the cat can reduce the likelihood of tumor formation. In addition, monitoring of overall pet health and changes in the physical area can allow for potential early diagnosis of tumors.

Vaginal tumors are not contagious.

Is Vaginal and Vulvar Tumors in Cats common?

Vaginal tumors are rare in cats.

Typical Treatment

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation

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