Stomatitis is a severe form of gum disease that could cause your cat quite a bit of pain. Our Sacramento 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 exact causes of stomatitis in cats are largely unknown.
Experts have identified potential viral and bacterial factors associated with the development of stomatitis in cats, but the specific sources of these bacteria remain unclear. However, there is a clear link between inflammatory dental diseases, such as periodontal disease, and the occurrence of feline stomatitis.
Irrespective of the cause, most veterinarians recommend regular teeth brushing as a way to help prevent this painful condition in cats. The frequency of teeth brushing may vary depending on the breed, with some cats requiring daily brushing to remove food particles and bacteria, while others may only need it once a week or during professional grooming sessions. It is advisable to consult your veterinarian to determine the most suitable at-home dental care routine for your cat.
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 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 take your cat to the vet due to mouth irritation or bleeding, the veterinarian will start with an oral examination. If the stomatitis is mild, home care may be sufficient for treatment. However, severe cases may require surgical intervention. It's important to consult your vet to understand the best course of action for your cat.
If surgery is deemed necessary, your vet will likely suggest extracting the affected teeth to provide relief and promote healing in your cat.
In addition to treatment, regular dental checkups will become part of your cat's medical routine, in addition to general wellness exams. The frequency of dental checkups will depend on the extent of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat has overcrowded teeth or still retains its "kitten" teeth, the veterinarian may recommend tooth extraction once again.
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.