Female Cat Case

Species: Feline
Breed: n/a
Age: 9yr
Gender: Female Spayed


Patient has had swelling and discharge on the third digit on the right pelvic limb with the nail missing for several months. Patient has not responded to antibiotics and recent lab work at Idexx showed NSF. There was osteolysis on radiographs. Patient has a similar lesion on the third digit on the left thoracic pay. Digits have been amputated.

Click here for the IDEXX Pathology Report on this case.

Microscopic Description:

Two incisional biopsies of the haired skin from digit 3, right pelvic limb are evaluated. The dermis and subcutis are infiltrated by well demarcated, unencapsulated neoplastic acinar structures and occasional cords. These are lined by cuboidal to columnar, occasionally ciliated epithelial cells and occasionally goblet cells. These cells have abundant eosinophilic to amphophilic cytoplasm and an oval, hyperchromatic nucleus that often is basally retained. Mitotic figures average 3 per 10 high power fields. Neoplastic cells extend into and efface portions of the 3rd phalangeal bone.

Microscopic Interpretation:

Excision:  Completely removed, proximal soft tissue margin 10 mm, interdigital margin 1 mm, proximal bone margin 20 mm

Vascular Invasion:  Not observed


It is unlikely that this is a primary adenocarcinoma arising from apocrine glands in this region, although this is a possibility.  Metastatic adenocarcinoma, probably from a pulmonary tumor is suspected. The patient should be evaluated for neoplasia in the lungs.

Primary lung tumors in cats can metastasize to the digits. Particularly bronchial and bronchioloalveolar adenocarcinoma. Weight-bearing digits are the most frequently affected and MULTIPLE DIGITS OR MULTIPLE LIMBS can be involved. Clinical signs from the primary tumor in the thoracic cavity may not be detected and the digital mass may be the first indication of neoplasia. Lung tumors may also metastasize to the skin, eyes, skeletal muscle and bone as well as thoracic and abdominal organs.

FOLLOW UP: The cat was euthanized on 5/2/17 because of overall poor health. Several nodules consistent with pulmonary adenocarcinoma were found on necropsy.


Goldfinch N1, Argyle DJ. Feline lung-digit syndrome: unusual metastatic patterns of primary lung tumors in cats. J Feline Med Surg. 2012 Mar;14(3):202-8.

Image Notes:

  1. Low magnification view of the lesion (as submitted), demonstrating infiltrative acinar type structures.
  2. Higher magnification view of the lesion (5X), demonstrating numerous acinar structures within the dermis.
  3. Higher magnification view of the lesion (20X), demonstrating numerous acinar structures within the dermis comprised of cuboidal to columnar epithelial cells.

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