What is Stomatitis in Cats?
What is it?
How is it Treated?
Siamese Himalayan Persian Abyssinian Devon Rex Oriental Shorthair Burmese Scottish Fold
It was a typical evening for Sarah, snuggling up on the couch with her furry companion, Luna, when she noticed something unusual. Luna seemed to be pawing at her mouth and drooling more than usual. Concerned about her feline friend’s wellbeing, Sarah scheduled a visit to the veterinarian. After a thorough examination, the vet diagnosed Luna with stomatitis, an inflammatory condition affecting a cat’s mouth. Suddenly faced with a myriad of questions and concerns, Sarah embarked on a mission to learn everything she could about stomatitis in cats.
Up to 10% of cats suffer from feline stomatitis, also known as feline chronic gingivostomatitis FCGS. This is often linked to periodontal disease in cats. Feline stomatitis is a painful inflammation in the mouth and gums. Bacterial or viral infections cause it. This disease causes lesions or ulcers on the gums, tongue, cheek, roof of the mouth, and inside of the oral cavity. These lesions are painful and cause irritation. They often bleed easily and may become infected. It can occur in both young and old animals.
The virus is spread through saliva, urine, and mucus secreted by infected cats. Infection occurs when the cat licks its face, nose, ears, eyes, genitals, anus, or any part of another cat’s body. However, it can also spread through indirect contacts, such as sharing food bowls or grooming equipment. Cats who share their homes with other animals are at higher risk of contracting this infection. The condition usually occurs when the cat eats something contaminated with the fungus. For example, this could happen if the cat eats dry food from another animal or eats raw meat.
Causes of Stomatitis in Cats
In cats, the most common cause of stomatitis is chronic plaque or tartar buildup, allowing bacterial or fungal growth in the affected area. This makes it essential to ensure that your pet’s teeth are regularly cleaned and maintained by a veterinarian. While brushing your cat’s teeth daily at home helps remove some plaque buildup, professional cleaning may be necessary to prevent future problems.
Allergies and infections can also cause stomatitis in cats. Allergies happen when the cat’s body overreacts to certain substances such as food additives, medication or dust mites. Common symptoms include excessive licking of their fur or coat, swelling of the face, and skin lesions around their mouth area.
Infections such as feline herpes virus (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV) or Panleukopenia (FPL) are all known contributors to causing stomatitis in cats. These viral infections can spread through contact with affected animals, contaminated surfaces or even through fleas carrying the virus on their bodies.
Stress is another significant factor that can cause inflammation of the gums and mouth in cats. Animals who suffer from anxiety-related disorders like separation anxiety are especially prone to developing stomatitis due to changes in behavior from stressors like environmental changes or unfamiliar people visiting their home environment.
Lastly, autoimmune diseases can trigger stomatitis in felines due to dysfunction with the body’s immune system resulting in chronic inflammation throughout the body – but mainly focusing on areas around the mouth such as its gums and tongue, making them swollen and irritated, leading to uncomfortable chewing difficulties for your furry friend due to pain associated with every bite they take.
Symptoms of Feline Stomatitis
Many cats infected with FHV1 typically experience mild symptoms, including fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In addition, some cats develop ulcers in their mouths.
Cats who contract the virus typically recover within two weeks, although symptoms can linger for several months. Fortunately, the disease is sporadic; most cats exposed to the virus never develop signs of illness.
The most common clinical signs of stomatitis in cats include the following:
- excessive salivation
- painful sores
- increased thirst
- bleeding gums
- bad breath
Diagnosis of Stomatitis in Cats
There’s no specific test for diagnosing stomatitis in cats. Mainly, veterinarians should perform a thorough physical examination to determine whether your cat has feline stomatitis. Your vet will examine your cat’s teeth, gums, tongue, palate, throat, nose, ears, eyes, neck, abdomen, chest, heart, lungs, and spine. She will also test your cat’s blood for signs of infection.
She will also test your cat’s blood and saliva for signs of infection. She might order additional tests if she suspects your cat has an underlying health problem. For example, she might recommend x-rays or blood work.
Biopsies are often performed to rule out neoplasia, such as lymphoma or oral squamous cell carcinoma. Although a biopsy of oral cavity tissue may be required for a conclusive diagnosis, she notes, “you can determine that it’s gingivostomatitis in about 85 percent of cases just by looking into a cat’s mouth.” Other tests to evaluate stomatitis include blood work, urinalysis, fecal analysis, radiographs, and endoscopy.
Treatment for Stomatitis in Cats
Treatment of stomatitis depends on several factors, including the disease’s severity and a cat’s reaction to therapy. So, your veterinary dentist should be able to monitor your pet’s condition regularly. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice anything unusual about your cat’s behavior or appearance. Also, it’s essential to discuss treatment plans with your vet.
When treating severe stomatitis, veterinarians usually recommend antibiotic therapy because these drugs are effective against many bacterial strains. However, corticosteroids and anesthetics should be considered when necessary.
Antibiotic therapy is typically recommended for mild cases of feline stomatitis. This type of treatment involves administering a single dose of antibiotic twice daily for five days.
Veterinarians often prescribe a second course of antibiotics after the initial treatment ends. This helps prevent the recurrence of the disease.
Corticosteroid therapy is appropriate for severe cases of feline stomatitis. These medications work quickly and effectively to relieve painful conditions, severe inflammation, and anti-inflammatory medication.
Recovery and Management for Stomatitis in Cats
Cats who eat dry food tend to have better outcomes after dental surgery. Dry food helps prevent postoperative complications such as vomiting and diarrhea. Some owners feed wet food during healing to keep their cats hydrated. However, wet food can cause problems because cats require extra chewing and swallowing.
Medications are available for cats that don’t like to eat soft foods to stimulate their appetite. These drugs include phenylpropanolamine (PPA), megestrol acetate, medetomidine, and dexmedetomidine. PPA stimulates the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being. Megestrol acetate increases the production of growth hormones. Medetomidine suppresses pain signals and reduces anxiety. Finally, dexmedetomidine causes sedation without affecting breathing.
Once the gum tissue has healed, the teeth have been removed, and the cat can chew normally again, most cats are ready for regular meals. You can offer your small cat amounts of canned food every few hours. Make sure to give plenty of water throughout the day.
Prevention of Feline Dental Disease
Prevention Tips for Feline Stomatitis
- Feed your cat fresh soft food every day.
- Dental cleanings (Dental Care). Brush them at least once a week. If you notice any signs of infection, take your cat to the vet immediately.
- Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise. Exercise helps keep their body strong and healthy.
- Don’t let your cat lick his lips excessively. This could lead to bacterial infections.
- Avoid giving your cat too many treats. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay.
- Keep your cat away from other animals. They may carry infectious diseases that could infect your cat.
- Be careful not to allow your cat to eat or drink anything he shouldn’t.
- Clean up any spills promptly.
- Consult your veterinarian before giving your human-cat medicine.
- Do not use household products such as bleach or ammonia near.
Frequently Asked Questions
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