Gum disease in cats can be very painful and severe, with stomatitis being one of the most serious types. Our vets at San Mateo can help you understand the potential causes of stomatitis, how to spot it in your kitty, and the best ways to treat it.
What is Stomatitis in Cats?
Feline stomatitis is a severe inflammation and ulceration of cats' gums, cheeks, and tongue. It can lead to excruciating pain and open sores in the mouth, resulting in your furry friend avoiding or refusing food.
This condition affects about 10% of domesticated cats, although certain breeds like Persians and Himalayans are more prone to it.
However, you can take preventive measures to keep your cat from developing stomatitis.
Causes of Feline Stomatitis
The exact causes of stomatitis in cats are largely unknown, but some experts believe that viral and bacterial factors may be involved.
The specific bacteria responsible for this condition remain unidentified. However, it is clear that inflammatory dental diseases like periodontal disease can contribute to the development of feline stomatitis.
Regardless of the cause, most vets will advise that you can help your cat avoid developing this painful condition by brushing their teeth regularly. Some breeds can have their teeth brushed once daily to remove food particles and bacteria, while others should only have their teeth cleaned once a week or during professional grooming appointments. Consult your veterinarian for what is the best at-home dental routine for your kitty.
Symptoms of Stomatitis in Cats
One of the most obvious indications of stomatitis in cats is their altered eating behavior. Due to the excruciating pain, they experience, cats with stomatitis tend to have a reduced appetite. In severe instances, some cats may even develop malnutrition as they avoid eating because of the discomfort it causes.
Aside from changes in eating habits, it is important to be aware of other symptoms of stomatitis in cats, such as:
- Red patches/blisters of the mouth
- Oral bleeding
- Foul odor of the cat's mouth
- Excessive salivation/drooling
- Less grooming than is typical
- Dropping food/crying out while eating
How Stomatitis in Cats is Treated
When you bring your cat in for irritation or bleeding of the mouth, your vet will first perform an oral exam. If your cat has mild stomatitis, at-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis. Severe cases require surgical intervention. Consult your vet to better understand how to treat your kitty best.
If your cat needs surgery as determined by your veterinarian, they may recommend extracting the affected teeth to ease discomfort and accelerate the healing process.
Regular dental checkups will now be part of your cat's medical care instead of general wellness exams.
The frequency of these checkups will depend on the severity of your cat's periodontal disease. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded or if it still has its "kitten" teeth, your vet may suggest extracting another tooth.
Your vet should also demonstrate proper teeth cleaning techniques and schedule follow-up appointments to assess your cat's dental health.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.