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Vet Talks: Rodent Ulcers in Cats

Vet Talks 2 min read
Vet Talks: Rodent Ulcers in Cats

Rodent Ulcers

“Rodent Ulcers”, otherwise known as indolent ulcers or stomatitis, are eosinophilic granulomas or a solid grouping of inflammatory cells coming together in a lump or solid structure. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that is commonly associated and elevated with allergies. They are part of the immune system defending against parasites. Unfortunately, they can be tricked into thinking that allergens are attempting invasion. The eosinophils then release inflammatory chemicals inappropriately, creating a sensation of itching, redness, and swelling. An eosinophilic granuloma complex (EGC) is broken up into 3 classes; the indolent ulcer, the eosinophilic plaque, and the eosinophilic granuloma.


Cats with rodent ulcers have erosion on the margin of their upper lip

An individual cat may have any or all of them. It is designed to be attracted to areas where parasitism is occurring and once there it releases biochemicals to destroy the invading pathogens. Cats with rodent ulcers have erosion on the margin of their upper lip. Sometimes these ulcers also develop on the tongue.

Eosinophilic plaques typically look like a raised thickened raw area of skin usually on the belly, inner thigh, or throat area. These lesions are extremely itchy. The Eosinophilic Granuloma produces a classical swollen lower lip or chin or a classical long, narrow lesion running down the back of the thigh. Sometimes proliferations grow from the actual footpads where they ulcerate as the cat is forced to walk on them.


Diagnosis is by a physical exam by your veterinarian, blood work and biopsy are recommended. These conditions most commonly have an underlying allergic basis though it is not always possible to determine what that allergic basis is. Fleas, food, and parasites are the most common underlying reasons. It is important to biopsy the lesions to confirm EGC and rule out neoplasia. A biopsy may also rule out other less common underlying causes such as Demodex mites or ringworm fungi.


The first step is ruling out parasites, flea infestation, and food allergies and treat those to start. Sometimes steroids or cyclosporine are necessary to treat tough cases. If allowed to go untreated, the ulcer can be very destructive to the upper lip and is uncomfortable. In addition to treating the problem, immune support with NHV Alge-Ex, Natures Immuno and ES Clear are helpful in supporting the immune system to fight the allergy. It may also be beneficial to detoxify the cat’s system with NHV BK Detox and Milk Thistle and reduce the short-term inflammation with Ouch Away Spray or Turmeric.

The eosinophilic granuloma is not a completely understood condition. For now, it is best to view it as an extreme symptom of another underlying skin disease.

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for over 20 years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats, and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

Published: April 13, 2018

1 reply

  1. Team NHV says:

    Hi Jason,

    We’re so sorry to hear that your little one is dealing with a rodent ulcer, we can only imagine how uncomfortable he must be. Please know that we’ll do everything we can to support you and your boy through this.

    Traditional medications can be tough on a kitty’s body, especially the liver. So we highly recommend our Milk Thistle supplement for your little one. This powerful and all-natural supplement can help to support liver health while encouraging regeneration of the liver. Milk Thistle can also help to reduce inflammation as well which is super important when dealing with rodent ulcers.

    Here’s more information on Milk Thistle for you:

    Our in-house vet, Dr. Amanda, also recommended a hypoallergenic diet for your sweetheart. Here’s our blog with more information on hypoallergenic diets for you:

    We hope that with Milk Thistle and your boy’s immune health regimen, he’ll start to improve soon. Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions at all.

    Yours in wellness,
    Team NHV

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