Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex & Prednisone in Cats

Check the kitty for lumps during your daily petting session.
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Eosinophilic granuloma complex sounds scary, but the condition isn't dangerous most of the time. Granulomas are abnormal growths on your kitty's skin that resemble tumors, although they aren't usually cancerous. The growths are associated with inflammation from allergies and other sources, so your vet my prescribe prednisone to combat swelling.

Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex

The complex is divided into three categories: eosinophilic ulcers, plaque and granuloma. Ulcers tend to appear on your cat's lips and have a small chance of turning into a dangerous form of skin cancer. Plaque is a flat lesion on the thighs and belly. Granuloma nodules tend to appear on the face, head or paws, but they can pop up just about anywhere on your kitty's body. Growths from the eosinophilic complex tend to be inflammatory, which means they are actually caused by your kitty's immune system.


Prednisone, triamcinolone and prednisolone are among the most common corticosteroids prescribed to reduce inflammation in cats. They help manage allergy symptoms and mitigate other negative immune system reactions by dampening the immune system. While artificial immune suppression can do wonders for a kitty suffering from granuloma, it also leaves her open to bacteria, viruses and fungal infections. Doses of corticosteroids should ideally only be given once every two to three days for long-term prescriptions to prevent serious side effects, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual.

Prednisone vs. Prednisolone

So, what's the difference between prednisone and prednisolone? When your kitty receives an oral dose of prednisone, her liver turns it into prednisolone. Some veterinarians and researchers believe administering prednisolone is more effective for cats, since their bodies would convert prednisone anyway. Prednisolone is a safer choice for cats that have liver problems, because the drug could be dangerous if your kitty can't break it down into a usable form, according to Wedgewood Pharmacy. Your vet will prescribe the medication he feels is best for the situation, so follow his instructions. Don't give your cat prednisone unless you vet prescribes it to him.

Dangers of Prednisolone

Cats with chronic eosinophilic complex may need to take corticosteroids for a long time. There's no surgery or permanent fix for some immune system disorders, so permanent medication may be the only way to give your cat relief. Corticosteroids mask symptoms of infection though, so your cat may not show signs of illness even if he's sick. Stomach and digestive problems, including stomach ulcers, can arise from long-term corticosteroid use. If possible, your vet will wean your pet off of prednisolone, which is a more potent corticosteroid, and get him on a less powerful medication. If your cat is on a long-term prescription, take him in for a blood screening and checkup every few months as instructed by your vet.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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