My Cat Has Eosinophilic Plaques

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, discusses treatments for the condition, including corticosteroids and omega-3 fatty acids.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: February 19, 2010, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: Our cat was diagnosed with eosinophilic plaques about three years ago. We have used corticosteroids in the treatment in the past, but we are trying to stay away from them as much as possible at this time. In your article in the December 2009 CAT FANCY magazine, you recommend omega-3 fatty acids. I am presuming those are to be taken internally as opposed to broken open and used topically. Is this a correct presumption? Is there a dosing formula to use?

I cannot speak to others, but our cat seems to have her worst outbreaks during the hot, humid season. Also, it was so bad a couple of years ago that we had to put in a feeding tube, because she lost all interest in eating and just about died.

Any advice you could give would help greatly and is appreciated.

A: I’ve written about this irritating condition many times in the past, for CAT FANCY as well as CatChannel. Eosinophilic plaques can appear anywhere on the skin, but they are most commonly found on the abdomen and the inside thighs. They may be singular, or there may be many lesions. They appear raised, red, moist and well-circumscribed. They are very itchy, and cats lick them constantly.  A complete blood count often reveals an increased number of eosinophils in the bloodstream as well.
Treatment can be frustrating.  The most effective treatment is corticosteroids; however, they have the potential to cause side effects. Corticosteroids suppress the immune system, which puts cats at increased risk of acquiring infections. Corticosteroids also oppose the action of insulin, and can cause cats to become temporarily (occasionally permanently) diabetic. This is more likely to occur if the steroids are given repeatedly as an injection.

A better way to administer the steroids is to give them orally, starting with a high dose, and then tapering down to the lowest dose that controls the condition. 

Other ways to potentially help control the itching is by using antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids. Antihistamines are fairly effective in controlling itching in dogs, but are usually not as successful in cats. Omega-3 fatty acids are given orally, not topically. There are many commercial preparations available for cats. I imagine your veterinarian carries an omega-3 product.  Dosing information varies from product to product, so check the label and confirm the dose with your vet.

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My Cat Has Eosinophilic Plaques

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Reader Comments

henry    monmouth, ME

3/1/2010 2:39:58 AM


wanda    monmouth, ME

2/22/2010 2:18:04 AM


Roberta    Baltimore, MD

2/21/2010 9:56:58 PM

oh no!

Wendy    Nanaimo, BC

2/21/2010 7:36:56 PM

I've only heard about this once before, and it's interesting to know that it's not as uncommon as people might think.

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