Cats can develop horrible-looking sores on their lips, referred to as rat ulcers. However, these ulcers are not typically dangerous and have nothing to rodents. Instead, these lip lesions are almost always brought on by an allergic response or discomfort brought on by ectoparasites like fleas.
Although the ulcers have the potential to bleed, cats do not experience discomfort because of them. Because of this, treating them is not urgent, but they need to see a veterinarian get better.
The condition is known as “rodent ulcer” and is not brought on by direct contact with rats, despite the name of the condition. Instead, ugly and frequently painful lesions appear on and around a cat’s lips, chin, inside the mouth, and, in some cases, on other regions of the body. These lesions are the consequence of an allergic reaction that can have any number of reasons.
The most common reasons for a rodent ulcer are sensitivities to fleas, diets, the chemicals in rubber and plastic bowls, environmental contaminants, synthetic substances in cat litter, or having a weakened immune system, such as in cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus. If treatment is not sought, this condition can lead to irreversible disfigurement.
The misconception that these sores were brought on by the bite of such a mouse or rat gave rise to the label “rodent ulcer,” which stuck around for a long time. To avoid perpetuating the idea that a rodent bite causes an ulcer, the profession of veterinary medicine is increasingly adopting the term “indolent ulcer.”
Ulcers in rodents often arise suddenly and without warning, such as during the night. This abrupt and gruesome appearance could make a cat owner worry that their pet has somehow been injured.
Why Does My Cat Keep Getting Rodent Ulcers?
Rodent ulcers are easily distinguishable, making it simple to arrive at a diagnosis for them. Your veterinarian may be able to diagnose your cat’s ailment based solely on the clinical symptoms and the findings of the physical exam.
White blood cells called eosinophils often cause inactive ulcers because they arrive on the scene and decide it’s time to party. Likewise, the deficiency of collagen causes ulceration.
Your veterinarian may do cytology tests if a more precise diagnosis is needed or desired. Transparent tape can be used to collect these samples, or a technique known as fine-needle aspiration can remove cells from the lesion and examine them under a microscope.
Rodent ulcers may be caused by an allergy, hypersensitivity, or infection if the irritating source is removed. This will help prevent recurrence and allow for a full recovery. Based on the severity and responsiveness of the underlying disease, a cat with an illness can have an excellent or poor prognosis.
A more serious underlying condition may cause rodent ulcers in rare situations, which needs to be investigated. For example, toxin-induced hypersensitivity to ectoparasites, bacterial or fungal infections, autoimmune diseases, and feline leukemia are among the possible causes of rodent ulcers.
Hypersensitivity, a fancy word for allergies, is the most likely underlying cause of an indolent ulcer. The most prevalent allergy is to fleas. However, the underlying cause could also be something less common, such as an allergy to a non-food substance, a food allergy, or a hypersensitivity to insect bites.
Excessive licking can exacerbate an indolent ulcer, which begins as a thickening of the gums. In most cases, the cat’s upper or lower lip seems to be swelled, either on half of the lip or the entirety of the lip. In addition, the bottom position gives the impression that the cat is continually sticking out its tongue.
How Long Does It Take for A Rodent Ulcer to Heal Cat?
Dietary elimination and antibiotic therapy for four weeks resulted in the remission of an inflamed ulcer. While the underlying condition is being examined, symptomatic anti-inflammatory medication can be utilized to help resolve lesions.
The rodent ulcers in the cat’s stomach may be causing pain, which the cat may show; examples include hiding or acting aggressively. Inspect for sores and take your cat to the vet if it exhibits any significant behavioral changes, such as a lack of grooming.
It’s best to see a veterinarian if your cat develops sores on its lips or inside its mouth. Diagnosing rodent ulcers is as simple as having your veterinarian examine the lesions.
Occasionally, the veterinarian may require a biopsy to rule out malignant sores. This only occurs in cases where the ulcers need not respond to treatment like they usually would.
Injections of steroids are the treatment of choice for rodent ulcers in cats, most of the time. Your cat will receive an injection from your veterinarian to cure the ulcer. Most patients will administer these shots once every two to three weeks until the sores are gone.
Prednisone can also be used to treat rodent ulcers in cats. However, it may take several days for the lesions to go away completely; therefore, your veterinarian will recommend oral tablets to be taken every 24 hours.
Ulcers can sometimes get infectious, depending on the circumstances. Your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the illness and the sores. Take the prescribed antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your vet.
Some physicians feel that essential fatty acids can help alleviate the symptoms of cats with stress and allergies. However, it’s possible that your cat isn’t getting enough omega-3 fatty acids if you’re not providing them a high-quality food. So change your cat’s diet or give them a supplement, as recommended by their veterinarian.
Do Rodent Ulcers in Cats Go Away on Their Own?
Ulcers caused by rodents will not heal by themselves. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, antifungal medications, and a brief course of anti-inflammatory steroids.
If your cat has developed rodent ulcers because of other disorders, such as feline leukemia or an autoimmune problem, your veterinarian will also discuss treatment options for those conditions.
In most cases, rodent ulcers are mild and resolve independently within a few weeks or months. However, some lesions may continue to exist, resulting in ongoing discomfort.
An animal’s appetite may diminish for this discomfort, leading to weight loss and physical frailty. In addition, if left untreated, a lesion on a cat’s upper lip can get more extensive and cover more of the cat’s upper lip, resulting in an unsightly appearance.
Tissue samples may be necessary to rule out malignancies or to validate the visual examination’s findings. For example, if eosinophil count is elevated in the blood, this could be another diagnostic tool.
Getting rid of the current growth and making sure it doesn’t happen again are the main goals of treating a rodent’s ulcer. The most effective treatment for EGC is an intensive course of glucocorticoid medication.
Prednisone, an anti-inflammatory drug inhibiting the immune system, is often used to treat ulcers. However, a biopsy can be taken from a rodent ulcer that has been surgically removed.
Some cats regularly suffer from lip ulcers, which necessitate multiple treatments. On the other hand, rodent ulcers may fade away in some cats as they get older.
Rodent ulcers, in most circumstances, do not reoccur after they have been successfully treated. However, keep an eye out for probable etiologies of skin ulcers, such as an intolerance to flea bites or intolerance to foods.
How Do You Get Rid of a Rodent Ulcer?
A local anesthetic is used to numb the rodent ulcer location before a knife is used to remove it. Then, a tiny bit of the adjacent skin and tissue should be excised to verify that the rat ulcer is eliminated.
A light bandage is applied to the wound, and you can return home. The treatment takes less than 30 minutes; however, each person’s situation is unique.
Oral prednisone can be given to your cat to treat rodent ulcers. After 24 hours until the lesions are gone, your veterinarian will give you medicines to take by mouth to treat them. Make sure you follow your veterinarian’s instructions when administering the medication.
The ulcers could become infected in some cases. Your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the illness and the sores. Take the prescribed antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your vet.
A few veterinarians have hypothesized that fatty acids can assist cats in coping with stress and even lessen their allergic reactions. However, it is possible that your cat isn’t getting sufficient fatty acid in its diet if you aren’t feeding them the best food possible. So change your cat’s diet or give them a supplement, as recommended by their veterinarian.
As many times as necessary, keep going back for further treatments. An allergic reaction is almost always to blame for rodent ulcers. However, the allergy may return if you cannot figure out what is causing it. Bring the cat to the vet if the ulcers recur and have them treated again.
Rodent ulcers can be exacerbated in cats with food allergies. First, ask your veterinarian for assistance with a food allergy trial to find out if food is to blame for the ulcers. Then, to avoid more outbreaks, switch your cat’s diet after you’ve identified the culprit.
Make use of food bowls made of stainless steel. The rodent ulcers may result from an allergy to plastic or rubber. You might try changing to stainless steel for plastic or rubber bowls. Allergies are less likely to be triggered when using stainless steel.