Fibropapillom are a rare but benign neoplastic skin disease of cats.

From the first descriptions of feline cutaneous fibropapillomas in the 1990s, the morphologic similarity to equine sarcoids was immediately recognized. Since equine sarcoids have a strong association with papillomaviruses, a similar association was investigated in cats. Early investigations proved negative; however, a recent report provides strong evidence of an association of feline fibropapillomas with bovine papillomavirus. In the study reported, DNA could be amplified by polymerase chain reaction in 17 of 19 feline fibropapillomas, and all 17 of these tumors were positive for a papillomavirus, most similar to bovine papillomavirus type 1.

These tumors are rare, with outdoor rural cats and those with known exposure to cattle having an apparently higher prevalence. They typically occur as nodular masses, up to 2 cm in diameter, that are often ulcerated and are found most commonly on the head, neck, ventral abdomen, and limbs. Like equine sarcoids, local recurrence of feline cutaneous fibropapillomas is common, but metastasis has not been reported.

The frequency of occurrence of feline cutaneous fibropapilloma is thought to be underestimated for a variety of reasons. These include misdiagnosis, especially as granulation tissue; fibroma; or fibrosarcoma, when the overlying epithelium is lost due to ulceration, or when only small biopsies of the entire mass are submitted for histopathologic examination. Also, because the tumors are generally self-limiting and are thought to affect a rural population of cats, they are not as likely to receive veterinary attention. It is hoped that an increased awareness of feline cutaneous fibropapilloma will lead to a more accurate estimate of its true prevalence and that experimental investigations will determine the role of bovine papillomavirus in their development.



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