Swollen / weepy cat mammary gland

by Heather Ennis
(Eagan, MN)

My 12 year old, female, short-haired tortie has a mammary gland that is a little weepy. She recently was at the vet and had a full blood and chem panel done and all the results were in the normal range; she is in excellent health. The area of the gland is not hard, not discolored, nor does it make her uncomfortable in any way when you explore the area (and I've explored it aggressively). She has a regular appetite and is active. The vet looked at the discharge from the gland and the fluid was clear with no cells visible under the microscope.

Her only other health issue is a mild case of IBD. She has been on prednisolone for 7 months, 5mg daily. I am beginning to taper her off the pred and she is currently receiving it every other day for another week.

Dear Heather,

Mammary glands should not have discharge of any kind unless your cat is pregnant or nursing, which I assume she isn't. Personally, if this were my cat, I would feel uneasy without having the gland biopsy or having the fluid sent out to a pathologist.

This discharge from your cat's mammary gland could be a very early sign of mammary cancer, and getting a second opinion and having further testing conducted would be wise. The sooner feline mammary cancer is diagnosed, the better the long-term prognosis, and if this is a symptom of mammary cancer in your cat, it sounds as though it may be in the very early stages.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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