Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Cat has swollen lip and swollen lymph nodes
ChrisH1984 posted:
Hello All,

Well, this problem started with my female cat a few months ago. We noticed that the right side of her lip was swollen. After a couple of days of it not going away, we took her to the vet. The vet administered a steroid shot and some steroid pills. The swelling went away after a few days.

About a month ago, the swelling returned. We brought her back and they did the same thing, and this time they upped the dosage of the steroid pills. The swelling is still persisting. Today we brought her back for a follow up and they noticed more blotches of swelling on the roof of her mouth. They also noticed that her lymph nodes were a bit swollen. The veterinarian wants us to bring her back for a biopsy tomorrow, as he feels this could now be cancer we're dealing with.

What is your guys take on this? The cat is only 3.5 years old. I mean I'm sure the doc knows more than me, but I was under the impression that cancer doesn't play hide n seek (remember earlier when it went away for a while?) Also I will admit the carpets in my house are a bit older than they should be. Any chance this could just be a stubborn case of allergies, or maybe even a reaction to mold/pollen that may be hiding somewhere in the house?

Thanks in advance everyone. We took this cat in when our old one passed away of cancer a few months before we took her. It's pretty traumatizing to be honest, especially due to her young age. Oh, and she (the cat we have now) also has a twin sister that is in perfect health.
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
While cancer is unlikely in a cat this young, it's always a possibility. The most common cause of what you describe is an unusual disease called "eosinophilic granuloma." While the cause is unknown, it often responds to steroids. It can be recurrent, but if it seems to be spreading or recurring frequently, a biopsy is in order. This should tell you what you're dealing with and how best to treat it.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice
ChrisH1984 replied to Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP's response:
Dr. Drew,

First, I want to thank you for your response. Second, I want to thank you again for nailing it head on. The results of the biopsy came back negative for cancer, and positive for eosinophilic granuloma. Now the doctor recommends taking her to a dermatologist to figure out what exactly is triggering this in the cat. Does that sound like the next best move to you?

Again, thanks for your response!


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

Helpful Tips

How to Get Your Cat in a CarrierExpert
Trying to get your cat in a carrier for a trip to the veterinarians or road trip can be extremely frustrating. Some how a 10# cat that ... More
Was this Helpful?
19 of 26 found this helpful

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Learn more about the AVMA

WebMD Special Sections