If your cat suffers from eosinophilic granuloma complex, its natural course can run the gamut, from a small ulcer to oozing lesions and masses resembling tumors. While some EGC sores disappear on their own given time, others require treatment and cause the kitty great discomfort.
Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex
White blood cells called eosinophils go to the rescue when your cat experiences an allergic reaction. These white blood cells in shining armor can overreact, resulting in eosinophilic granuloma complex. EGC consists of eosinophilic ulcers, eosinophilic plaque and eosinophilic granulomas. Your cat might experience one or all three of these lesions. The ulcer, often referred to as a rodent ulcer, is the most common. It usually appears on the cat's upper lip, and while unsightly doesn't usually cause itching or pain. The plaque generally show up on the thigh or the abdomen. You'll notice this raw lesion because your cat itches like crazy. The granuloma, also known as linear granuloma, can show up anywhere on the body, consisting of yellow-pink raised tissue.
In cats, EGC usually results from an allergic reaction, whether to food, fleas or environmental triggers. Some cats might have a genetic predisposition to EGC. If it's hereditary, EGC generally shows up before the cat's second birthday. Allergy-related EGC usually occurs in cats 2 years old and up. Female felines suffer from EGC more often than males. The plaque form often results from fleas, with even one of the little pests causing your cat agony.
While your vet can diagnose EGC by visual inspection of the lesion, figuring out the cause in order to treat your cat is more involved. After giving your cat a complete physical examination, she'll also test your cat for the feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency viruses, as a cat with a compromised immune system can suffer from EGC. She'll take blood and urine samples for analysis, along with a skin biopsy to determine allergen triggers. Your vet will also take a sample of the EGC lesion.
Treatment consists of removing the allergen from the cat and getting rid of the ESG lesion. If it's a flea issue, a monthly topical flea preventive can do the trick. For suspected food allergies, your vet will put your cat on a single-protein meat diet he's never eaten before, such as rabbit or duck. Depending on the allergen, your vet might give your cat a series of immunotherapy shots to desensitize his system. Treatment of the actual lesions can include steroids and anti-inflammatories, along with medications for itch relief.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex - Introduction
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex
- Web MD: Lick Granulomas (Eosinophilic Granulomas) in Cats
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex
- Pet MD: Skin Diseases from Allergies in Cats
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.