EGC in cats is also referred to as Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex and it is not a single disease, but rather a group of skin diseases that are various lesions attacking your cat.
There are three forms of this disease, and in some cats only one form will attack, while other cats may be attacked at the same time by all three.
If your cat is infected by all three at the same time, it is a very dangerous and painful ordeal as some of the lesions can attack your cat anywhere on the body.
The exact cause of EGC is not fully understood, but it is believed to be the cause of some type of an underlying hypersensitivity or an allergy of some kind.
It may be atopy, which is an inhaled allergy, a food allergy, or the result of fleas, flies, or mosquito infections.
There are also some thoughts in the medical community that these groups of skin diseases may be caused by bacteria that has attacked your cat as they do respond very effectively to antibiotics in some cases.
It also seems to affect some cats only during peak allergy seasons, while other cats are affected anytime of the year; making it even more difficult to understand.
There have also been reported cases that have no known causes, suggesting it may be a hereditary disease.
There are three forms of EGC in cats: Rodent or Indolent Ulcers, Eosinophilic Plaques, and Eosinophilic Granuloma.
The first form of EGC in cats is lesion that is referred to as a rodent ulcer or an indolent ulcer and it is a red lesion that will almost always form on your cat’s upper lip.
However, it can also form on the crease in the middle of the lip called the philtrum.
In rare cases, they will attack both sides of the lip but usually they attack only one side of the lip or inside of the mouth.
These lesions are ulcer like in appearance and have almost a crater shape to them. They will be raised and this causes your cats lip to change dramatically in appearance.
Cats have a natural tendency to lick anything that is foreign, and these ulcers are no different.
However, your cats tongue is extremely rough by design and a continual licking only aggravates these sores.
Unlike some other lesions, even as dreadful as a rodent lesions looks; they are not painful or itchy to your cat.
But they are still extremely dangerous as they may be a precancerous lesion meaning that if they are not treated they can easily develop into a skin tumor.
The next form of EGC in cats is referred to as the eosinophilic plaque. These lesions are raised, extremely well defined, red, and oozing ulcerated sores.
These sores, unlike rodent ulcers, are as nasty as the name to your cat.
They are not only pruritic, which means they are itchy; they are extremely itchy to the point that some cats self-mutilate themselves looking for relief from the itching.
These lesions can be found anywhere on your cats body but they most commonly develop on the abdomen, groin, or inner thighs.
In extreme cases, they may also be found in your cat’s throat.
These particular lesions are believed to be caused by hypersensitivity reactions to either fleas or mosquitoes.
The third and final forms of lesions are called Eosinophilic Granuloma. These lesions are yellow or pink and are not especially itchy to your cat.
They affect all breeds and all ages, but seem to attack adolescent kittens the hardest.
These particular lesions can affect the rear legs, footpads, the face, the tongue, as well as the palate of your cat.
If the chin becomes infected, it usually becomes extremely swollen and can drastically change the appearance of your cat.
Theses lesions will present two different coloration's; if they are on the tongue or the palate of your cat they will be white, if anywhere else they will be red, raised, and very firm.
These lesions are not especially painful or itching to your cat, however, if they are on the tongue or in their throat, they can make it very difficult for your cat to swallow.
These lesions are believed to be either the result of a hypersensitivity or hereditary.
Treatment for EGC in cats is geared in controlling these lesions, not in curing them, simply because the actual cause may never be known.
The key will be identifying the underlying cause.
Several other skin conditions will look similar and your veterinarian will have to run biopsies to rule out skin cancer.
In most of the cases where an actual cause can be found, it is almost always an allergy of some kind.
Antibiotics alone may help initially, but if they do not, steroids will also be used. However, there can be some serious side effects with long term steroid usage.
For this reason, fatty acid supplements, especially Omega 6 fatty acids, are usually recommended.
They allow your pet to be either taken off of steroids or at least reduce the amounts until the lesions have been controlled.
Omega 6 fatty acid supplements have a very long and successful history of fighting allergies in cats.
However, treatment for fleas is absolutely essential with ECG in cats as they are extremely effective at cleaning themselves and removing fleas in the process.
For this reason, there may be no fleas present for the owner or the veterinarian to visibly see.
Flea medications can very effectively kill fleas and mosquitoes before they bite your cat and should always be used, even if your cat very seldom goes outside.
If none of these treatments works, a food allergy trial may have to be done, but it is extremely rare that this may be the actual cause.
EGC in cats is always going to be an educated guess at what the actual cause of these mysterious lesions actually is, and controlling rather than curing is the major objective.
In the majority of cases, antibiotics, Omega 6 fatty acids supplements, as well as a very detailed flea prevention program for all cats, including indoor cats, can be very effective.