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Stomatitis in Cats

Stomatitis is a severe form of gum disease that could cause your cat quite a bit of pain. Our Yucaipa vets explain the potential causes of feline stomatitis, how to recognize it in your kitty, and how to get it treated.

What is stomatitis in cats?

Feline stomatitis is a very painful inflammation and ulceration of your cat's gums, cheeks, and tongue. The open sores caused by this mouth condition can cause your cat a lot of discomfort and pain, which often leads 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.

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 veterinarians will advise you to brush your cat's teeth on a regular basis to help prevent this painful condition from developing. Some breeds can have their teeth brushed once a day to remove food particles and bacteria, while others should have their teeth cleaned once a week or during professional grooming sessions. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best at-home dental routine for your cat.

How dangerous is feline stomatitis?

Feline stomatitis is a severe and painful condition that can cause difficulty eating, weight loss, and oral infections. If left untreated, the cat may lose teeth and develop long-term health complications.

Symptoms of Stomatitis in Cats

The most obvious sign of stomatitis in cats is, unsurprisingly, a change in their eating habits. Stomatitis in cats frequently causes severe pain and reduced appetite. Cats can become malnourished as a result of severe food avoidance.

Other stomatitis symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Red patches/blisters of the mouth
  • Oral bleeding
  • Foul odor in the cat's mouth
  • Excessive salivation/drooling
  • Less grooming than is typical
  • Dropping food/crying out while eating

How to Diagnose Stomatitis in Cats

Stomatitis in cats is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive oral examination, where veterinarians look for severe inflammation in the gums, cheeks, and back of the mouth. In addition to these symptoms, many cats with stomatitis also exhibit tooth resorption and periodontitis, further complicating their oral health.

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 it. 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 in order 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 the disease. 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 cats teeth and schedule follow-up appointments to review your feline's dental health.

Can I prevent feline stomatitis?

As mentioned above, the best way to prevent feline stomatitis is by maintaining good oral hygiene for your cat, including regular teeth brushing and dental check-ups. Additionally, feeding your cat a balanced diet and providing them with appropriate chew toys can help reduce the risk of developing this painful condition.

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.

If your cat is suffering from sores or bleeding of the mouth, it could be stomatitis. Contact our Yucaipa vets today for an appointment so we can take care of your feline friend.

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Green Valley Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Yucaipa companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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