What Should You Know About Nerve Sheath Tumor In Cats?


Nerve sheath tumor in cats –medically called schwannoma are tumors, which instigate within the myelin sheath. We know that the myelin sheath is actually made by the so-called Schwann cell –a specified cell that surrounds the peripheral nerves, giving physical and mechanical support for the nerves and cloistering the nerves, which transmit the electrical signals of the nervous system. Schwannoma is more common to occur in dogs rather than in cats. In this article, we will discuss some more interesting facts about nerve sheath tumor in cats including its causes, symptoms, prognosis, and treatments. Read on to learn about these and more!

What is Nerve Sheath Tumor in Cats?       

Each organs in the body may use a nerve system in sending info through the brain. The nerve sheath tumors in cats may disrupt this particular function, thus causing problems for the cat. These tumors may affect any area inside the body, which has a nerve system. There are also some tumors, which metastasize, yet most of these tumors stay in only one area.

We know that the myelin sheath is actually produced by the Schwann cell –a specialized cell that surrounds the peripheral nerves, giving physical and mechanical support for the nerves and cloistering the nerves, which transmit the electrical signals of the nervous system. In addition, the peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves that are outside the central nervous system.

Moreover, malignant and benign tumors must be treated instantaneously, and it’s specifically important that the malignant lumps should be treated before they even cause death or paralysis. There are so many terms for the sheath tumors, these include hemangiopericytoma, neurofibrosarcoma, and shwannoma. These tumors shouldn’t be taken so frivolously as they may result in pain, paralysis, and difficulty in breathing. Furthermore, the white the lumps commonly appear on cats distressing from nerve sheath tumors.


The cat is at a high risk of developing two different kinds of nerve sheath tumors:

  • Malignant Schwannomas and Neurofibrosarcomas –The tumors are malignant and may grow rapidly, and they commonly metastasize.
  • Schwannomas and Neurofibromas –The tumors are benign and don’t commonly metastasize.


The cause of the nerve sheath in cats is commonly idiopathic. Nonetheless, younger cats and few older cats might develop the tumors because of feline sarcoma retrovirus. The older cats don’t commonly develop the tumors from the retrovirus as they’ve already build the immunity to it, hence the cause of the nerve sheath tumors in the older cats is idiopathic.


The clinical signs may vary on the location and the type of the nerve sheath tumor. You might possibly notice the white lumps on the skin in the area affected. Below are the symptoms of nerve sheath tumors in cats:

  • Horner’s syndrome
  • Droopy or abnormal eyelids
  • Smaller pupils
  • Facial paralysis on one side
  • Paralysis
  • Low blood sugar
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Weakness of the limbs
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain


The vet may perform a physical examination in order to check for the overall health of the cat. This might include a blood work, urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel. The vet might carefully inspect the area for possible appearance of white lumps. Expect the vet to ask some questions regarding the symptoms and the medical history of the cat. If the cat has suffered from feline sarcoma retrovirus, this might give the vet an idea of how the nerve sheath tumors has developed.

Additionally, the cat may also need to undergo some more tests in confirming and elauating the nerve sheath tumors. The vet may order an ultrasound, as well as x-rays, in order to reveal any abnormal lumps, and an electromyogram might reveal the abnormal activity of the muscles. It’s also likely that the vet may order a CT or MRI to check the extent and the location of the tumor.

In addition, a histopathology is so important as well. Here, the vet will obtain a sample of the tumor. This sample is then submitted to a vet pathologist for some examination. The vet will then receive info with regards to the tumor itself. This includes the behavior, prognosis, as well as the name.

Treatment for Nerve Sheath Tumor in Cats

The vet may discuss some treatment options based on the type, extent, as well as the location of the nerve sheath tumors.

  • Radiotherapy

This is commonly suggested if the vet might not get rid of the limb or tumors. This is also an option if there are whatever tumors left in arrears after a surgery. This is used in stopping the growth, eliminating, or shrinking the tumors. This is commonly the last resort when surgery isn’t an option or not entirely successful.

  • Surgical Removal of the Limb

Unluckily, there are so many cases, which involve the surgical limb removal. Amputation of the limb is only significant when the real tumors can’t be removed.

  • Surgical Removal of the Tumors

The most typical treatment for nerve sheath tumor in cats is removing the tumors in the areas affected. There is a change that these may reoccur after surgery, hence the vet may suggest this option if tumors and benign.


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