Is My Cat?s Fat Lip a Sign of Calicivirus?

CatChannel veterinary expert, Arnold Plotnick, DVM, explains that a cat?s swollen lip may indicate a health problem.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: July 4, 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Q: My 7-month-old cat has a swollen bottom lip. He is drooling a little bit. I was wondering if it could be a symptom of calicivirus.
 
A: I doubt that this is calicivirus. Your cat’s “fat lip” is probably a manifestation of a condition (with a crazy long name) called the feline eosinophilic granuloma complex. This is an inflammatory skin condition in which the immune system sends inflammatory cells called eosinophils into various regions of the body.

Sometimes these inflammatory cells affect the skin on the back of the thigh. Other times, it appears as raised red lesions on the abdomen. My own cat, Crispy, suffers from this. The mouth is another common place for this to occur. Often, an erosion will appear on the upper lip. This usually is referred to as a rodent ulcer. Sometimes, the bottom lip is affected, causing the swollen “fat” lip. Treatment consists of giving corticosteroids, either by mouth or via injection. In most cases, the condition resolves readily with treatment, although recurrence is possible.

Please see your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your cat gets adequate treatment.

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Is My Cat?s Fat Lip a Sign of Calicivirus?

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Reader Comments

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

2/27/2013 11:14:11 AM

Stacy -- Based on the vet's advice above, you should take your cat in to be examined.

stacy    citrus heights, CA

2/25/2013 2:53:05 AM

MY CAT GARFIELD IS ONE YEARS OLD. I JUST NOTICED HE HAS A BOTTOM FAT LIP. IS THIS SERIOUS. IS IT PAINFUL. WILL THIS GO AWAY ON ITS OWN. OR DOES HE NEED MEDICINE.

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

9/25/2012 9:35:12 AM

Nicole -- This sounds like a good question for our forum. There, you can reach other CatChannel readers to ask questions or share stories. Click here for more information: LINK

Nicole    Kitchener, ON

9/24/2012 11:55:54 AM

My 12 year old cat Spirit has the same issue a swollen bottom lip. His had it for a few months now. I never took him to the vet, because he didn't seem to be in any pain. It would go down by itself so I assumed it was "feline acne" from what research I had done. Well it's back. It swells up and then gose down on its own. Now to add to this he has been excessivly grooming himself to the point on scabbing and hairloss.
Dose anyone know if this "rodent ulcer" could indeed cause excessive grooming and other skin irritations? I plan on taking him to the vet very soon but I what to get as much information as I can get before I send him into a bunch of testing.

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