The Norman Transcript

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October 4, 2012

Allergies may cause cat’s rodent ulcers

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 5-year-old yellow tabby who gets rodent ulcers on her upper lip. This occurs every six weeks to three months. She has had them since she was 2 years old.

The vet has been giving her laser treatments for the past year. She gets a Depo-Medrol shot. This time she had to take ClindaCure twice a day.

I feed her out of stainless steel and ceramic bowls that I disinfect with baking soda and vinegar. She eats 9Lives and Fancy Feast dry food; Whiskas, Friskies and Fancy Feast wet food; and Friskies treats.

I was told to put aloe vera on her lips. But should it be from the live plant — I thought it was poisonous to cats — or the gel from a tube? I would appreciate any advice you might have.

— R.A.S., Maysville, W.Va.

Dear R.A.S.: Rodent ulcers are disfiguring skin lesions afflicting the upper lip region of cats. They may be triggered by a contact allergy to certain food ingredients, drinking water contaminants or leached chemicals from plastic food and water bowls. The cat’s raspy tongue aggravates the problem with constant licking, which removes medications applied to help heal the ulcer.

I would give your cat pure, filtered water and switch to a single protein or hypoallergenic cat food such as Wellness or Organix. Alternatively, try my home-prepared cat food recipe (on my website, DrFoxVet.com). After two weeks or so, switch from chicken to turkey, then to lamb — see how your cat responds. If she licks more, you may have identified which protein is triggering the allergy.

Some cat experts believe that aloe vera is toxic to cats. Organic olive oil has amazing healing properties and is safe to consume. This may be of benefit applied four to six times daily, cuddling your cat to stop any licking for as long as you can.

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