Murphy recently had a very unpleasant experience with an inflammatory skin condition that is only prevalent in cats called “rodent ulcer,” which also goes by the scientific name feline eosinophilic granulom – among others.
The layman’s label is misleading, as this is not caused by cats coming into contact with rodents. It’s actually an allergic reaction that is commonly caused by:
- The chemicals in plastic or rubber food and water bowls
- An allergy to fleas
- A food allergy
- Environmental pollutants, including chemicals in cat litter
Cats with comprised immune systems, such as those with FIV, are also more susceptible to this, and this is more prevalent in female cats than males.
The Symptoms of Rodent Ulcer
Murphy’s symptoms began as a few small, red sores under his chin that later extended to the corners of his mouth. This was also accompanied by acute darkening of his lower gums. In addition, this can affect a cat’s tongue, lips and other parts of the body, such as the pads of the feet.
Although seemingly more common in younger cats, this can occur at any age.
How I Determined that Murphy Had Rodent Ulcer
Admittedly, Murphy – who is now 1 year and 4 months old – has been a hot mess in one form or another since I adopted him from a county animal shelter in August 2013, when he was 17 weeks old.
I was able to figure out what he had with the help of my friend, Dr. Cathy Alinovi – a respected holistic veterinarian who has a practice in Indiana – my extensive professional background in researching and writing about pet health care, and my own considerable experiences with cat ailments.
In this case, Dr. Cathy and I relied on a process of elimination to determine the cause of Murphy’s ailment.
How I Determined and Eliminated the Cause
I have always fed Murphy and his adopted younger sister, Lily, from glass bowls that I wash after each use in a dishwasher; I give them filtered water; and use a natural cat litter, Cedarific. And neither one of my cats, who never go outside, has ever had fleas.
So I narrowed it down to the cat food – I am sorry to say that I switched my kitties to an inexpensive brand after losing my job at the beginning of the summer. I had previously fed them high-quality grain-free canned foods such as Hound & Gatos and Wild Calling. But I switched them to Fancy Feast Classic – because at least this doesn’t contain wheat gluten – due to the lower cost.
Lo and behold – although Lily did not experience an adverse reaction – I realized that Murphy was allergic to this. So I made a compromise and got my cats on Blue Freedom grain-free. Although it’s more expensive than Fancy Feast, it’s less costly than the other brands I previously fed my cats. Thus, this was a reasonable compromise.
Natural Remedies to the Rescue
In addition to changing Murphy’s food, I decided to explore some natural home remedies to help get his condition under control.
The usual procedure is to take a cat to a vet, who will generally administer a corticosteroid shot and/or place a kitty on an oral anti-inflammatory steroid, most commonly prednisoline.
However, as I am a great believer in naturopathy – for my pets, and myself – and I am very leery of steroids, I decided to first take a holistic approach.
Thus, with Dr. Cathy’s approval, I came up with a treatment plan that consisted of the supplements and homeopathic remedies:
- Colloidal silver (10 ppm)
- Epic Pet Health Repair
Colloidal silver is a highly effective mineral that has powerful anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and immune boosting properties. You can find this, which comes in liquid form, in health and natural food stores. (I used the Sovereign Silver brand.)
L-Lysine also helps to boost a cat’s immune system. I gave this to both Murphy and Lily immediately after adopting them, because they each contracted upper respiratory ailments while in their respective shelters. You can find this in health and vitamin stores, or purchase in pet stores as chews made especially for pets.
Epic Pet is a fantastic line of holistic spray and drop products made from minerals in alkaline water with added electrolytes that naturally help to alleviate a variety of ailments and behavioral issues in dogs and cats.
In addition, natural pet care experts recommend adding Omega-3 and -6 oils to a rodent ulcer treatment regimen, as these are safe, natural anti-inflammatories.
How I Administered These Remedies
I gave Murphy the colloidal silver daily, both orally and topically. I placed 1/2 teaspoon in his wet food each day. It’s odorless and tasteless, so pets don’t mind it. I also poured some into a small travel-size spray bottle and would spritz it onto his sores three to five times a day.
I gave him one L-Lysine chew (which equals 250 milligrams) twice a day. As I ran out of these and couldn’t find them in any pet stores in my area, I resorted to sprinkling the powder from the 250 milligram capsule form onto his wet food twice a day.
As for the Epic Pet, I sprayed this into his food, water and directly onto the sores once a day, as per the directions.
*Note: for kittens under 1 year, give them half these doses: 1/4 teaspoon of the colloidal silver once a day, and 125 milligrams of the L-Lysine twice a day. The L-Lysine chews are soft, so you can easily slice them in half with a butter knife. If you can only find the 250 milligram powder capsules of L-Lysine, open the capsules, divide them in half (you might place this in a small bathroom cup and measure out in half doses at a time) and administer twice daily.
A Dramatic Kitty Recovery
Within four to five days, Murphy’s condition began to markedly improve, thanks to the combination of getting him back onto the natural food and the holistic remedies. So he is well on the road back to being his handsome self once again!
The beauty part is, I did not have to resort to placing him on steroids, or an expensive vet trip.
Advice for Parents of Kitties with Rodent Ulcers
Granted, not all pet parents are fortunate enough to have a holistic vet for a friend, or a vast amount of experience researching and writing about pet care. So I would strongly advise that you take your cat to a vet if you suspect that he/she is suffering from this – or any other malady – for a proper diagnosis.
If you are able to take your pet to a holistic vet, he or she may very well recommend the treatments I outlined here before resorting to steroids, or may opt to place your pet on a combination of prescription meds and natural remedies.
Regardless, the natural approach certainly can’t hurt, as will ensuring that your pets’ foods, products and environments are safe and healthy overall.
Photos by Alissa Wolf