Being a cat owner could be challenging, especially regarding taking care of your cat’s health. Cats are extremely secretive and do well in hiding their pain. Therefore, you can easily miss a few symptoms due to a serious issue.
It means you must be more cautious and alert with your dog. You need to watch out for symptoms that reveal your cat has a health issue.
Dental issues are a common problem in cats. This post focuses on understanding stomatitis in cats, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What Is Stomatitis In Cats?
Stomatitis is a painful medical condition that causes severe inflammation of the mouth and gums in cats. It is a painful, complex, and often frustrating disease in cats.
This medical condition causes inflammation in the whole mouth, including the gingiva, the gum tissue surrounding the teeth, and the mucous membranes. Sometimes, the inflammation could be serious enough to cause bleeding in the mouth.
Feline stomatitis, or feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS), occurs in 10% of cats.
Understanding Stomatitis In Cats: Symptoms
Several signs indicate your cat may be suffering from stomatitis. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you identify any of the following symptoms.
Inflamed And Bleeding Gums
Severely inflamed gums are a very obvious sign indicating your feline may suffer stomatitis. In this case, the gums will swell and turn red. Ignoring this symptom could lead to bleeding of the gums.
It doesn’t stop with the gums. Inflammation can spread to other parts of the mouth and throat. Therefore, other parts of the mouth, like the back of the throat, can inflame. It could even lead to the development of ulcers.
Excessive drooling is another obvious symptom that could indicate that your cat may be affected by stomatitis.
Cats don’t often drool, unlike dogs. Generally, a drooling cat means one that is in some form of physical pain. Therefore, you must look into the reason that is causing your cat to drool, whatever that may be.
Drooling in cats is often a simple way to identify something wrong with your cat’s dental health. Therefore, if your cat is drooling excessively, it’s best to take it to a veterinary dentist immediately.
Rapid weight loss often indicates a health issue in any animal and is the same in cats. The inflammation and swelling in the mouth cause much pain and discomfort that causes your cat to eat very slowly and eventually stop eating.
This behavior leads to rapid weight loss in your feline. If your cat runs to the foot bowl but leaves most of the food untouched, it could mean a health issue like stomatitis. It is more common when cats eat dry food than wet food.
Lack Of Grooming
One of the main symptoms you’ll notice in a feline with stomatitis is that it will groom itself less and less.
Cats use their tongue and mouth to groom themselves, which will cause much pain for those with stomatitis. Therefore, grooming becomes uncomfortable for your cat, and you will eventually stop doing it all.
Initially, you may not notice your cat grooming less, but you will see the obvious signs of a matted coat. It is time you take your cat to the vet and identify what is causing it to be reluctant to groom itself.
Bad breath is another common symptom indicating your feline may suffer stomatitis. However, bad breath could mean a lot of other issues and not necessarily stomatitis.
Therefore, you must identify the cause of the bad breath by taking your cat to the vet. However, cats with stomatitis have an easily noticeable and particularly foul odor. It’ll help you identify if your cat is suffering from stomatitis.
What Causes Stomatitis In Cats?
Several suspicious causes are linked to stomatitis in cats, although it has not been identified definitely.
Many people believe that stomatitis is caused by viral infections, as most felines with stomatitis typically have a concurrent viral infection with a calicivirus virus. Some of the other known contributing factors for stomatitis are calculus and plaque.
Veterinarians have identified an abnormal immune system response that leads to stomatitis.
It could be an exaggerated response to bacteria and plaque on the teeth. However, these are simply assumptions as the exact cause is yet to be identified.
How Do Vets Diagnose Stomatitis?
Conducting an oral examination is one of the primary ways vets diagnose stomatitis in cats. The following is a diagnostic for stomatitis:
- Severe inflammation of the gums, known as gingiva
- Severe inflammation of the inside of the cheeks (buccal mucosa)
- Severe inflammation of the back of the mouth (caudal oropharynx)
Some cats with stomatitis also experience tooth resorption and inflammation of the bone around the teeth, known as periodontitis.
Treatment For Stomatitis In Cats
If you suspect your cat has stomatitis or any dental issue, you should first take it to the vet. The vet will examine your feline and determine the severity of the disease.
Based on this, the vet will recommend one of the following treatment methods.
Antibiotics help regain control in a disease breakout and to control secondary bacterial infections, which could worsen the inflammation and pain associated with it.
Antibiotics greatly help improve stomatitis in cats, which will make them feel much better.
Once your cat’s condition has improved, it must be monitored regularly, as it could flare up again.
Antibiotics do not provide a long-term solution and are not recommended to be used in such a way. They are advised to be used only during flare-ups.
The use of steroids is effective in the treatment of stomatitis in cats. However, steroids are a strong form of medication to be used on cats. Therefore, they are used only in severe conditions to regain control during flare-ups.
Steroids have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the inflammation caused by stomatitis, significantly reducing the pain associated with this condition.
However, steroids tend to lose effectiveness over time when used as a treatment for stomatitis. It can also have significant side effects with long-term use in cats.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, also known as NSAIDs, is common in treating stomatitis in cats. NSAIDs help reduce inflammation and pain associated with stomatitis.
There are 2 FDA-approved NSAIDs used for short-term treatment in cats. These are meloxicam and robenacoxib.
The vet would be able to determine the correct dosages for NSAIDS in resting stomatitis in cats. You must consult with the vet before starting any treatment for your cat.
If stomatitis in your cat has progressed too far, the best way to treat it is to conduct tooth removal.
A veterinary dentist will extract the teeth around the inflamed tissue, significantly reducing the inflammation, pain, and discomfort around the area. It will also reduce the number of bacteria in the cat’s mouth.
In rare cases, several teeth may need to be extracted to treat and control cats’ stomatitis and reduce inflammation and discomfort associated with the disease.
Recovery And Management Of Stomatitis In Cats
Approximately 90% of cats that go through partial or full-mouth tooth extractions typically show complete resolution of symptoms associated with stomatitis.
Cats that eat hard kibble should transition to canned food before surgical treatment for stomatitis. A softened diet should be followed for at least two to three weeks after tooth extraction.
Cats usually hesitate to eat during the first couple of days following surgery. It is why the vet will prescribe an appetite stimulant for your cat so that it will be able to eat post-surgery. The vet will also give medication for post-surgical pain and inflammation.
Once the cat has recovered, it can willingly eat kibble again. Its appetite, attitude, and quality of life will significantly improve once it is free of pain and discomfort associated with stomatitis.
Due to unbearable discomfort and pain, cats could get uncontrollable and want to escape from where they are. Fences for cats prevent them from wandering off in unknown territories and keep them safe within your boundaries.
Stomatitis is a dental problem that causes great pain and discomfort in cats. Symptoms include inflammation and redness around the mouth. If left untreated, it could even lead to bleeding inside the mouth.
If your cat shows any of the above symptoms, you must immediately take it to the vet. The vet may recommend antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs, or in rare cases, even tooth removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Stomatitis In Cats Curable?
Stomatitis in cats is curable. It may require surgical removal of teeth and affected bone to remove the inflammation and pain associated with this condition.
Why Do Cats Get Stomatitis?
There’s no specific reason why cats get stomatitis. However, it is known to be an abnormal immune system response.
How Can Cats Live With Stomatitis?
The quality of a cat’s life can be severely impacted due to the inflammation and pain caused by stomatitis. It leads to a loss of appetite and weight loss in affected cats. Proper care and treatments like partial or full-mouth extraction could relieve the inflammation and pain.
Is Stomatitis Contagious In Cats?
Stomatitis is not contagious in cats as it occurs due to an abnormal immune system response.
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