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Herpes and sore mouth.

Species: Cat
Breed: Short Hair Domestic
Age: 1-2 years
My 2 year old short hair tabby was diagnosed with FHV quite early on.. he's been quite healthy since, apart from wheezing while breathing, especially when excited..

last month he started hissing and growling while eating.. sure enough when i checked inside his mouth i found his gums swollen and he had some lumps under his chin.. i took him to a vet that gave him a 10ml depomedrone (depredil) injection, a 100ml synulox RTU injection, and a course of Antirobe 75mg tablets..

Bender (my cat) quickly recovered and returned to normal within 2 days.. his breath was fresh for the first time in his life, the lumps disappeared, and his gums returned to normal.

however a couple days ago (a month after this treatment) he again developed the same symptoms.. there's a small lump, and his gums are swollen.

from my research it looks like this will be a chronic issue and the vet said he may have to be on anti-inflammatories for the rest of his life..

i really don't want the poor guy to suffer.. neither do i want him on pills for the rest of his life :\

is this the only way out?

what do you recommend?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Louie...sorry to hear that you and Bender are going through this.

The prognosis for this lump really depends on what it is. I can think of a few possibilities. It sounds like your vet was covering all of the bases by treating with a steroid (the depomedrol) in case it was something called an eosinophilic granuloma as well as an antibiotic in case it was an abscess.

If it was an eosinophilic granuloma many cats do have these come back again. I have a number of cats in my practice that have to get a steroid shot a couple of times a year to control them. If it is only a couple of times a year then this is not too bad, but if the shot is needed really frequently we can see some side effects and there is a risk of the cat developing diabetes.

If this is an abscess, some abscesses don't totally heal until they are opened up and lanced which is something that would have to be done under an anesthetic. Often an abscess will go away with medication but come back again.

If this were my case, I would likely be recommending that we put Bender under an anesthetic and try to open up the swollen area and take some biopsies of it. The biopsies will tell us exactly what is causing this lump. And if it is an abscess then we have a chance to cure it.

If it does end up being an eosinophilic granuloma then it may be able to be controlled with the steroid shots. If your vet is worried about side effects you can talk to him or her about using a medication called atopica. You might need to do it a few weeks in a row and then stop until the problem comes back again.

Another thing that sometimes helps (if it is an eosinophilic granuloma) is to make sure that Bender doesn't eat or drink from any plastic dishes as some cats are allergic to the plastic and can develop these lumps. And also, you can try him on a hypoallergenic food.

I hope he does ok!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks for the response Dr. Marie,

actually the lump didn't really get my attention, as i thought it's a by-product of his gingivitis.. but you seem to be focusing on it being the root cause of it all (or am i mistaken?)

Thing is, bender is a sweetheart, he's really well behaved generally, but ALWAYS manages to poop himself on the way to the vet, AND on the way back.. every time!

obviously the whole trip there and back really stresses him out, so i'd like to avoid having to put him through that as much as possible, especially if this is going to be a recurring episode..

p.s: here's Bender: (his eyes have been cloudy since i adopted him, basically a bi-product of his FHV when he was a baby boy)

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Awww...what a cutie...he's a big boy!

Yes, if this were my case I would want to figure out what the cause is. Finding out the cause should tell us whether this is going to be a long term problem and whether he needs to be treated with multiple vet visits or if there is something that can be done at home.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.