Help, My Cat Has Mouth Ulcers!

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Lip ulcers are a common malady among humans that also occur in cats. But how do you treat them safely?

Miss Kitty has lip ulcers that usually occur in the summer months. They go away after I apply a steroid cream on her ear flap and give her Orbax, an antibiotic. Is there anything natural I could use? Maybe a cream for her lip?
— Kathy C.

Kathy, mouth ulcers are relatively rare in cats, so there hasn't been a lot of attention paid to the problem by veterinary researchers. Treatment usually depends on the causes, which can range from viruses to dental disease.

The first thing you can do is to keep Miss Kitty's teeth clean. Regular brushing with a feline toothpaste and cleanings by your veterinarian can help. If the condition becomes extreme, some vets even go so far as to recommend removing the teeth in order to get this problem under control. Thankfully, it doesn't sound like Miss Kitty is at that point just yet.

The steroid that you're using now basically suppresses the body's immune response in order to minimize the ulceration. We’re not fans of long term steroid use. Take a look at cleaning up Miss Kitty's diet. You need to make sure she's eating whole foods with few additives. Ingredients like fish, meat by-products, wheat gluten, and corn starch are all no-nos that can contribute to the presence of ulcerations as the body is trying to get rid of toxins. Take a look at our food recommendations here.

You can also help Miss Kitty by reducing stress in her environment. That includes making sure she has safe places to retreat to where she won’t be bothered (not even by you) as well as cleaning spots ourside where “intruder” cats have marked Miss Kitty’s territory. She can smell it even if you don’t and those scent markers can certainly stress her out. A good enzymatic cleaner will help. If you’re not sure whether or not a neighboring cat has been scent marking your home, you can check at night with a black light flashlight. The spray shows up as a bright neon in the black light.

One other thing you can do to help de-stress Miss Kitty is to remove potential irritants like fleas and other parasites. You can see our flea control recommendations here.

 
 

There are a couple of supplements you can add to Miss Kitty's diet which may help. Of course, you'll want to discuss these with your vet. We recommend the addition of an omega-3 fatty acid to Miss Kitty’s diet in the form of fish oil. The best product is a krill oil spray from Mercola Pets. It can be purchased from the Amazon link above but it may be available at a lower price directly from Mercola Pets.

 
 

If the Mercola product is a little too expensive, a good alternative is fish oil from Deley Naturals.

 
 

We've also seen great results from adding an edible clay to the diet. To use this, simply add 1/8 teaspoon of Terramin edible clay to Miss Kitty’s diet daily. It's available at health food stores and also at Amazon.

Good luck, Kathy, and thank you for taking the time to look for alternatives to steroids. If you can manage Miss Kitty's symptoms without them, she'll live a longer and happier life!