Common Health Problems affecting Dogs and Cats

Veterinary advice from John Burns BVMS MRCVS

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Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex in Cats

Granuloma: A tumour-like mass of tissue consisting of several types of cell. Usually occurs in response to a chronic inflammatory condition.

Eosinophil: Type of white blood cell, which is usually involved in fighting parasites. The eosinophils accumulate in areas where there is an allergic response or parasite infection. To destroy the parasite they release chemicals/toxins. However, these can damage the surrounding tissues causing inflammation and granulomas. These lesions may be itchy and by licking them the cat can often exacerbate the condition.

There are 3 types of disease which come under the title of Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex:

1. Eosinophilic ulcer. (Also known as Rodent ulcer or Indolent ulcer) This is characterised by ulcers on the upper lip of the cat. These ulcers grow at a gradual pace and are slow to heal.

2. Eosinophilic plaque. These skin lesions are commonly found on the throat, abdomen and inner thigh area of the cat. The lesion is raised, thickened, scabby-looking skin which can be extremely itchy. Plaques are thought to be caused by a hypersensitivity, sometimes to parasites or food, although they may develop as a result of trauma. Treatment involves identifying and eliminating the allergic cause and use of anti-inflammatories.

3. Eosinophilic granuloma. (Also known as Linear granuloma or Collagenolytic granuloma because of the damage the eosinophils do to the collagen. Collagen is the fibrous protein found in skin, bone and other connective tissue). These lesions are often found on the foot pads, chin or down the back of the thigh where the cat tends to groom. Again treatment involves checking for the presence of parasites, allergies and may be linked to a previous trauma.


• Use of steroids
• Use of antibiotics or/and antihistamines
• Surgical removal, including cryosurgery
• Avoiding any known/suspected allergens
• Removing parasites


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