Kisses the girls and makes them cry
May 21, 2013 5:52 PM   Subscribe

My cat George (previously, and with Conrad) has a rodent ulcer.

This is him on 20 mg of steroids a day, plus halfway through a course of antibiotics (it is often infected). Trust that you don't want to see pictures of him on lower doses, but when it gets really bad it starts to cover his nostrils. There is also a patch in his mouth, and he obsessively licks his back left leg. Right now the leg just has shorter fur, but when it flares up he can lick himself bald and bloody. His grooming elsewhere is normal. He just had blood work, and it all came back completely normal.

Given that he has a vet and is in fact being treated, but that this treatment is not a cure, what else can I do to help him? He eats grain free food, but mostly dry (I cannot realistically feed him only wet food, though he gets that a few times a week). I do not use plastic bowls.

He is otherwise a healthy, happy cat; the vet said that although he'd never seen a cat with a worse ulcer or a cat who was happier. He loves visiting the vet, or anywhere. He loves rubbing his gross mouth on things (and it doesn't hurt him if you touch it). He cuddles and plays and sleeps and drinks and uses the litter box appropriately, though sometimes he's drooly. He just can look sort of icky.
posted by jeather to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
Have you ever seen a veterinary dermatologist? If not, it might be useful to get a specialist's opinion.
posted by florencetnoa at 6:34 PM on May 21, 2013

I'm guessing you can't do wet food because of your schedule, but have you considered using an automatic pet feeder like this one?
posted by superfille at 6:36 PM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lord knows if this will help, but I mix my cats' dry food with pumpkin to at least add a little moisture. It is a good general health thing for them. I also give them a little liquid fish oil (like, maybe half a teaspoon). Because I take fish oil too I just give them the lemon-flavored stuff. They won't touch the orange. You can get unflavored fish oil, and they even make fish oil specifically for pets, though I doubt there's a difference. The fish oil DEFINITELY helps with skin dryness and makes their fur sleeker and shinier. Ulcers though, I dunno.
posted by Anonymous at 7:08 PM on May 21, 2013

I'm not completely sure what the blood work entailed, but if they didn't check him for food allergies that may be the culprit. Chicken is apparently a pretty common one (common enough that the fur ball has it in this household)

My kitty had rodent lip all up in his face a few years ago, but it only seemed to appear when we visited my partners place. It took moving the cabinet he had been chewing on to my own apartment for us to realize that he was allergic to the latex knob covers, which he loooved to rub his mouth on all day. Try covering or changing certain materials in your household cat environment, since you also have a very oral cat. It's not just plastic that can cause these types of reactions.
posted by zinful at 12:24 AM on May 22, 2013

I would try a different vet, hopefully one who thinks outside the box.
posted by BenPens at 5:08 AM on May 22, 2013

We thought we couldn't feed wet food either, but you know? We just got this feeder and you know what? it's fine. Better than fine.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:59 AM on May 22, 2013

My cat has rodent ulcer and I went through many visits at my regular vet before going to a specialist dematology vet. They did not do a full allergy screen but we did do elimination diets.

Maybe what I found out will be helpful to you:
- Grain vs no grain food made no difference.
- Type of protein matters somewhat it seems (vet suspected the type of protein, say poultry, was much more likely to be the culprit than grain) Now I have him on rabbit chow (OF rabbits not FOR rabbits) in the morning and poultry in the evening since he won't eat fish. However now that my roomate has cats my cat gets into her cats' food and that doesn't seem to make the ulcers act up.
- Flea elimination was helpful generally (less itching & irritation overall) but being flea free did not eliminate the issue.
-We used steroids for a while and over time they became less effective
-Now my cat is on Atopica (Cyclosporine). The bad news: it is not cheap. I spend ~$70/month. You can get it online (with Rx) and that may be cheaper. Over time, I have been able to cut the dose in half as "maintenance". The Atopica is the only thing that has really helped a lot.
- Derm vet suspects the allergy is environmental - could be almost anything in the home (my cat is indoor) or in the air and it may be something I can't change. We tried the obvious stuff but elected to stay on teh Atopica rather than try to control teh environment or do more elimantions
-The $150 I spent at derm vet was money well spent - they asked and answered a lot of questions. They said that this condition is not painful but you have to stay on lookout for infections.

Good luck and feel free to memail me if you want.
posted by pointystick at 12:14 PM on May 22, 2013

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