Stomatitis is a severe form of gum disease that could cause your cat quite a bit of pain. Our Los Angeles vets explain the potential causes of stomatitis, how to recognize it in your kitty, and how to get it treated.
What is Stomatitis in Cats?
Feline stomatitis is an incredibly painful inflammation and ulceration of your cat's gums, cheeks and tongue. The open sores as a result of this mouth condition can cause your kitty quite a bit of discomfort and pain, typically leading to avoidance or refusal of food. This frustrating disease affects 10% of domesticated cats.
While some breeds, such as Persians and Himalayans, are more prone to developing this condition, any cat can develop stomatitis, but you can help prevent it.
Causes of Feline Stomatitis
The finite causes of stomatitis in cats are mostly unknown.
Some experts believe that your cat's stomatitis is caused by viral and bacterial components, but the exact source of this type of bacteria is unknown. Inflammatory dental disease, such as periodontitis, is linked 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 any bacteria, while other breeds 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.
What are the symptoms if stomatitis in cats?
Obviously, a change in eating habits is the most obvious symptom of stomatitis in cats. Stomatitis in cats frequently results in excruciating pain, which affects their appetite. Food avoidance can occasionally be so extreme that cats lose weight because it is so painful for them to eat.
Other stomatitis symptoms in cats to watch out for include:
- 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
What is the treatment for stomatitis in cats?
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 for a better understanding of how to best treat your kitty.
If your veterinarian determines that surgery is required, they will most likely recommend extraction of the affected teeth in order to relieve your cat's discomfort and allow the area to heal.
In addition to treatment, dental checkups will most likely be added to your cat's medical routine, rather than just general wellness exams. The severity of your cat's periodontal disease will determine the frequency of dental checkups. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it still has "kitten" teeth, your veterinarian may recommend tooth extraction once more.
Aside from medical intervention, your vet should show you how to properly clean your cats teeth and schedule follow-up appointments to review your feline'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.