Feline "Rodent Ulcers"

A weird name for something that has nothing to do with rodents, and my poor cat is most excellently afflicted with same - has been apparently from kittenhood. We adopted her 6 years ago at age 5. So she’s a fussy old lady now who reeeeaaaalllyyy hates going to the vet. Which I think pretty much they all do.

She gets this puffy lip thing going on several times a year, and I haul her to the vet for a steroid shot, which works for sometimes up to six months, then it flares up again. I can’t seem to pin down a cause for it - for a while it seemed seasonal, like an allergy. Google searchs haven’t enlightened me much either, as it’s not a well-researched malady, likely because it isn’t life-threatening. But it is disfiguring and can become nasty if left untreated.

Anyone else run into this with their cats? Any success stories with treatments? I’m a bit concerned with the ongoing steroid usage, but it appears to be the only thing that helps. The vet hasn’t been able to give me much intel, either.

I’ve found that food/water dishes that are not scrupulously clean can cause both chin acne and “rodent ulcers.” Basically, bacteria builds up on the dishes and gets wiped all over the mouth area when the cat feeds or drinks. Plastic dishes are especially bad.

If you leave food or water out for your cats, use Pyrex glass dishes and wash them every day (using two sets makes that easier). I stopped having problems with my cats after I did this.

I have been lurking here for a long time and had to register tonight to respond to this. I, too, have a cat that started having this “puffy” lower lip when she was about a year old. She is now 15. As you said, it flared up every 6 months or so, then might be fine for 2 yrs before it started again. The steroid shots at the vet worked well.

I also heard years back, as mikews said, not to use plastic dishes. I switched to glass, to stainless steel, back to glass, used many cat dishes and washed them daily and into the dishwasher weekly. Not much changed as far as the frequency.
However, for the past 2-3 yrs, she did not have any flare-ups. She had regular check-ups, teeth cleaned in early spring this year. About 6 weeks ago she had difficulty eating and was drooling. She now had this “puffy” growth under her tongue! Since it was the weekend we went to an emergency animal hospital. Everyone thought the worst…a mass under her tongue. She was given an appt for a biopsy and it showed to be “Feline Oral Eosiniphilic Granuloma” She was seen by an auto-immune specialist and is being treated with some pretty powerful medications. I was told that this is definitely an allergic reaction to some substance that we would probably never figure out.

I am telling you this because, if what I was told is correct, the the allergic reaction will become more severe with time. I am pretty certain that if I had gone to a local general veterinarian (even her regular vet) they would have recommended that she be put to sleep. The mass was pushing her tongue to one side, we were all sure it was malignant.

Today she is doing well…still taking meds which will soon be tapered down. Please keep a close eye on your kitty. I thing I really got lucky with mine this time.

I forgot to add: Feline Rodent Ulcers and Feline Oral Eosiniphilic Granuloma are one and the same.

A link to veterinary partner might help. It might be more than you wanted to know! But if you want to read up, start there and it should give you plenty of keywords to continue searching with.

Most likely your kitty is getting injections of Depo-Medrol. As long as the injections are as far apart as 6 months or more, you shouldn’t worry. Frequent injections of the stuff, like monthly, can be detrimental in the long run, and if treatment is needed more often than every 3-6 months (hopefully much less!) then alternatives to Depo need to be found, which should include a visit to a dermatologist/allergist and more diagnostics.

I’m sorry your kitty and you are dealing with this, it’s no fun at all.

My Miso and Wonton both have this, and so did their mama. They both have horrible summer skin allergies as well. They never leave the house, have no fleas, and drink and eat from glass and ceramic dishes. Miso’s is so bad she has none of her bottom front teeth but does have a glamorous Jolie bottom lip.

How could I forget the most important part of my post?

Miso has the bell, Wonton has the crazy eyes. He’s also been completely blind since he was a kitten. As soon as his eyes started opening we noticed his eyeballs twitched constantly. A few weeks later they’d stopped but we realized he couldn’t see a thing.

My cat Corinthian has an eosinophilic granuloma in his upper lip - our vet gave us Lysene granules that we sprinkle a small amount onto his wet food. Swapping to wet food + the Lysene pretty much made it go away, he never has flareups anymore.

Wow, thanks everyone for the feedback! I’m getting an appt with the vet for a shot tonight or tomorrow - I pulled out her vet records to review the frequency of how often I’m taking her in for a shot, and it appears to be 3-4 times a year, sometimes a bit more, and then there was a span where we’d hoped it’d cleared up totally, it’d been so long. Drat. I’m printing these comments out to take with me to the vet, and will check out the link and switch out the water/food dishes, which are currently plastic auto-feeders. At this point, I’ll try just about anything. PB&J, thanks for the Emergency Vet story - I’ll keep a watch for that, too…eek! Rushgeekgirl, cute pix of your babies :slight_smile:

It really helps just to hear others’ stories - it’s frustrating feeling like she’s dealing with something I can’t get a grip on solving, so getting some fresh eyes and feedback is encouraging! Thank you, dopers!

PS - Thanks, SeaDragon, for the link - very helpful information.

Just another person stopping in to say that my mom’s cat had the same thing and it cleared up after switching away from plastic dishes to ceramic. Apparently the plastic give off a mild toxin that some cats are very sensitive to, while most are unaffected.

I’ve had two cats with eosinophilia. One with the rodent ulcers who needed regular treatment. The other had a very swollen chin and a biopsy but only needed treatment once (so far). We suspected flea allergies for both because we were always battling fleas, even with regular use of Advantage.

The problem with plastic bowls is acne, which I’ve also had affect two cats.

I wasn’t aware of a plastic bowl/eosinophilia connection.

My baby (all cats are babies to me) developed a terrible case of chin acne from plastic bowls. I thought he had some kind of parasitic infection and ran him off to the vet. When she examined him, she squeezed out a juicy blackhead and said, “Nope, this is acne.” She told us to get rid of the plastic bowls, and some cats have a problem with stainless steel, too.

I took him home and put him through torture. I had Hubster use a cordless razor on him and we shaved his chin. Each morning, I wedged him in the recliner with me, and I washed his chin with hydrogen peroxide, then used a flea comb on the stubble fur. That pulled out the blackheads beautifully. THEN I put a dab of acne cream on his chin and let him go. This cat has jaws like a pit bull, so the rassling to care for him was a true act of love.

In a week, his chin was clear and the mess hasn’t come back. Occasionally, I check his lips for black specks (he’s a white cat) and if I see an errant blackhead I pop it out. Then he bites the shit outta me, and we’re good to go.

UPDATE: Took kitty to the vet. The shot she is getting is called “vetalog” -

We need to keep watch for changes in eating and behavior, as this drug can mask UTIs and Diabetes, and cats are very good at hiding when they don’t feel top notch. But overall, it sounds relatively safe.

Vet checked kitty over, did a flea comb with -0- results (apparently, conventional wisdom is that rodent ulcers are commonly associated with flea bites upon very sensitive cats. Meaning, you can track one in on your pants or shoes, in a flea-free home, and it bites kittie and kaboom, ulcer.) Vet is checking into the use of Lysene for kitty, checking with a vet pal of hers who specializes in dermatological issues in critters. And she also suggested “arnica cream” which is an anti-inflammatory I can dab a tiny amount directly to the ulcerated area. Yeah, she’ll lick it off, but it won’t hurt her, so says vet.

Also, got home and immediately switched plastic auto feeder/water dishes to metal, which I will be very diligent about keeping clean. Vet also endorsed this, as pet mouths are notoriously nasty with all the fun bacteria 'n stuff, so regular cleaning with soap, water & bleach is a good idea.

After the insult of being dragged to the vet, my poor afronted and poofy-lipped cat finally got her nummy treats, so at least the day ended on a high note :slight_smile:

Thanks again, all, for the feedback. I really appreciate it!

I switch dishes for my cats every day, and tend to run them through the dishwasher at least every couple of days if I’ve only handwashed. Bertram’s acne has greatly subsided, so something is working.

I use people dishes for them. Glass or glazed ceramic.

That is great news All1966. Mine is taking methylprednisilone, cyclosporine, and interferon-a. (like I said earlier, powerful meds)

When you hear back from your vet re: the recs of the dermatologist, could you post it here? Though I am totally satisfied with the results I have seen from our dermatologist/auto-immune specialist, I would like to hear how others treat this disease. From my reading it seems that there is no right or wrong way. It is whatever works for the individual kitty.

Heard back just now from the vet re her consult with the pet dermatologist. He hadn’t heard of Lycene as a treatment, but neither of them see it being harmful, just not sure it would actually help. So that remains an option.

He suggested cyclosporine “Atopica” as a treament, so PB&J, that lines up with what you’re doing. The concern with cyclosporine is that as it supresses the immune system to supress the allergic reactions, it could be opening the door for cancer of some sort - and currently, as cancer is a trigger word for me, I’ll take the risk of diabetes with the vetalog over the risk of cancer with the atopica. I’ve lost a cat to lymphoma and it was awful - two weeks from diagnosis to “departure”. Cancer is so final - diabetes at least manageable, at least from what I’ve seen.

So, will discuss options with the hub. Ulcer has subsided after shot, dishes are being kept clean, and all seems well for the time being…fingers crossed!

I immediately stopped feeding my cat low-grade cat food because it causes allergies. I stopped feeding my cat Fancy Feast wet food [100 percent and permanently] and substituted Nature’s Recipe no grain chicken or Nature’s Recipe no grain chicken/turkey wet food. Nature’s Recipe comes in a plastic tub. I also add a couple of tablespoons of homemade distilled water to each wet food meal because my cat doesn’t like drinking city tap water from a bowl. I drink homemade distilled water because I believe it’s healthier than city tap water. I also kept him on Authority cat dry food, grain free, chicken and potato. I also put five drops, twice a day, of Life Gold, a cat cancer medicine from Pet Wellbeing in his wet food. I also put five drops of Milk Thistle, twice a day, from Pet Wellbeing, in his wet food, for his liver, due to the possible steroid liver damage and possible Fancy Feast liver damage. I also quit giving my cat meals containing fish due to the mercury content that can cause liver damage and allergies. I also quit giving my cat cheap food treats like Temptations and switched him to healthier treats like Wellness treats.
I also use stainless steel plates and bowls and clean them after each meal. I also made sure he didn’t have a flea problem. I also use World’s Best Cat Litter made from corn.
Within a month all signs of Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex (Rodent Ulcers) are gone and my cat looks and feels great.

Some history: My indoor/outdoor male neutered cat started chewing his paw much of the time until it was bleeding much of the time. I took him to a vet and the vet said that he had developed a growth on his paw. My cat was semi sedated for this examination procedure which was an added big inconvenience when I got my cat home. The vet diagnosed my cat as having Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex. My cat was given a steroid injection and an antibiotic injection that seemed to shrink the growth and cure him within a week but the injections made him uneasy for a few days. The growth came back in a couple of weeks and another injection of steroid was given but this time it did not shrink the growth so the vet prescribed surgery. Also my cat had also developed a pink growth on his upper lip which is another symptom of Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex (Rodent Ulcers disease). It didn’t make any sense to me to have surgery on his paw especially with a new growth on his upper lip. Also, unnecessary surgery on a paw for an indoor outdoor cat or any cat would be disastrous. I did some reading and Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex is generally caused by an allergy to something. I tried to tell the vets this but they quit returning my calls. It was clear that the vet got the diagnosis correct but both vets at this facility were severely lacking in curing the underlying disease. In my opinion, prescribing surgery for this type of Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex is tantamount to ‘unaware criminal behavior’. Both vets need to learn more about holistic medicine.

Granted this is a zombie thread, but I’m wondering why the first line of treatment for these cats isn’t some form of daily antihistamine to prevent the allergic reaction from occurring?