Does your cat have a swollen lip? Here’s what to do

Have you recently noticed that one or both of your cat’s lips seem to be swollen? A swollen lip issue could be caused by any number of conditions and situations. In fact, even environmental factors could be contributing to your kitty’s appearance.

If your cat has a swollen lip, the following conditions might be the cause. Many of these conditions require testing for an accurate diagnosis, and your cat may need medication to treat the issue. While this article can give you an idea of potential causes, it’s also important to get a veterinary professional’s help.

Eosinophilic granuloma complex

Eosinophilic granuloma complex may be a mouthful, but it refers to a condition where your cat has an allergic reaction to a bite from an insect like a flea, mosquito, or mite. The site of the bite can swell up and it may be red and itchy. In some cases, the bite site remains small and barely noticeable, but in others it can result in a large ulcer. Lesions often develop along your cat’s gums and in her mouth, though they can also be located on the hind legs and stomach. Your cat may lick and scratch at the lesions, so you may see hair loss around them.

Your vet can diagnose this condition with tests like a needle aspirate and a biopsy. He may prescribe medications to help control the condition, but other steps, such as implementing a flea control program and putting your cat on a hypoallergenic diet, may also help. Once your cat has developed this condition, she will be likely to get it again in the future, so prompt treatment and good management of this condition are important.

Grey cat looking at the camera and tilting his head to the side
Sandrobolo/Pixabay

Allergic reaction

Other types of allergic reactions can prompt swelling in areas of your cat’s face or even her entire head. Nearly anything could be an allergen, and your cat might react to medication, pollen, or food. If you’ve recently changed any of these elements in your cat’s life, switching them back might resolve the issue, but it’s equally important to have your cat examined by a veterinarian, especially for a significant allergic reaction. If your cat is experiencing a significant reaction, your vet may prescribe medication to help get it under control and may also perform allergy testing to help pinpoint the cause of the reaction.

Feline chin acne

Feline acne located on your cat’s chin can result in lower lip swelling. Hair follicles can become inflamed and your cat can develop sores. The exact cause of feline acne isn’t fully understood, but some cats seem to develop the condition when they eat and drink out of plastic dishes. Your vet can diagnose feline acne and may prescribe topical medications or a shampoo to help resolve the issue.

Cat looking up with chin acne
eremeevdv / ShutterStock

Tooth abscess

Some tooth abscesses or broken teeth can prompt swelling around your cat’s lips and face. A cat who has a dental issue may experience pain and difficulty eating. Other signs of a potential tooth issue are drooling and abnormally bad breath. Your cat may also rub her face against surfaces more often than she normally does. If you suspect a tooth abscess, it’s important to get your cat veterinary treatment right away, since the condition may get worse without attention.

Physical injury

It’s possible that your cat may have fallen and injured her mouth, resulting in the swelling that you’re seeing. This could have also resulted in tooth injuries and damage to the interior of your cat’s mouth that may need treatment.

Treating your cat’s swollen lip

An appropriate treatment for your cat’s swollen lip will depend on the cause of the swelling. If you notice that your cat has a swollen lip, then it’s important to make an appointment with the vet right away. Your vet will examine your cat thoroughly and help identify what’s behind the lip issue. Your vet will also devise an appropriate treatment plan.

A swollen lip can look frightening, but it’s not necessarily a reason to panic. Instead, get veterinary help for your cat and follow the treatment instructions to get her quickly feeling great again.

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