Stomatitis is a severe form of gum disease that could cause your cat quite a bit of pain. Our Westport 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 are more susceptible to developing this condition, like Persians and Himalayans, 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 professionals have determined that there are viral and bacterial components to your cat developing stomatitis, but the exact source of this type of bacteria is unknown. Inflammatory dental disease, such as periodontal disease, does have a direct tie 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.
Symptoms of Stomatitis in Cats
The most noticeable sign of stomatitis in cats is, predictably, a change in their eating habits. Cats suffering from stomatitis are often in extreme pain and have reduced appetites because of that. In some cases, food avoidance is so severe that cats become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat.
Other stomatitis symptoms in cats to watch out for include:
- Red patches/blisters in 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 for a better understanding of how to best treat your kitty.
In the scenario where your veterinarian deems surgery necessary, they will likely recommend the extraction of the affected teeth to make your cat comfortable again and allow the area to heal.
On top of treatment, dental checkups will likely be added to your kitty's medical routine, rather than just general routine wellness exams. The frequency of dental checkups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it still has its "kitten" teeth, your veterinarian may once again recommend a tooth extraction.
Aside from medical intervention, your vet should show you how to properly clean your cat's 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.