Also known as "orange cat lentigo", lentigo is the name of a common condition in which black spots appear on the gums, lips, nose and eye margins of orange, cream, tortoiseshell, yellow, flame (red) point and silver coloured cats. The condition typically begins in cats under one year of age and first appear on the lips. Later lesions may appear on the eyelids, gums, and nose. Lesions typically become more widespread your the cat ages. Lentigo is the result of an increase in the number of melanocytes (pigment-producing cells).
What does lentigo look like?
Lesions start on the lips as small spots and gradually increase in size and become more numerous as the cat ages.
Single or multiple (known as lentigines) brown/black spots which are small, flat or slightly raised and have clearly defined edges. The skin surrounding the area is normal. Lesion size ranges from 1-10mm.
Most cats have single or a handful of lesions (lentigo simplex), others may have a great number of lesions (lentigo profusa).
What causes lentigo in cats?
The etiology is unknown, but in people, it is associated with sun exposure.
How is lentigo diagnosed?
Any change to your cat's skin (including the gums) should be investigated by your veterinarian. He will perform a physical examination of your cat and obtain a medical history from you. While lentigo is benign, he may wish to rule out other medical conditions such as melanoma. To differentiate, a biopsy may be taken using a fine needle. The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for histopathology.
How is lentigo treated in cats?
Lentigo is a cosmetic condition only, it is harmless and requires no treatment.