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Stomatitis in Cats

Stomatitis in Cats

Stomatitis disease can be painful and affects cats of all breeds and ages. While it can be fatal, the right treatment can help your cat live comfortably with this condition. In this article our Suwanee vets discuss Stomatitis in cats.

What is Stomatitis?

Stomatitis, a multifaceted and distressing condition, poses significant challenges for both cats and their caretakers. This ailment triggers a profound inflammatory response, inflicting agonizing discomfort throughout the entire oral cavity, encompassing the gingiva, which is the delicate gum tissue encircling the teeth, as well as the mucous membranes.

A concerning aspect of feline stomatitis is its relatively high prevalence, affecting approximately 10% of cats. Despite extensive research, the precise cause of this condition continues to elude veterinary experts. However, they have ascertained that stomatitis arises from an abnormal immune system reaction, characterized by an exaggerated response to the presence of bacteria and plaque on the teeth. This abnormal immune response plays a pivotal role in initiating the cascade of events leading to the development and progression of stomatitis in cats.

The interaction between the cat's immune system and oral bacteria triggers an inflammatory cycle that intensifies the severity of the disease. The immune system recognizes the bacterial presence as a threat and mounts a defensive response. However, in cats with stomatitis, this response becomes dysregulated, causing an exaggerated and chronic immune reaction. The immune cells release an array of inflammatory mediators.

How Vets Diagnose Stomatitis

The primary method employed by veterinarians to diagnose stomatitis in cats involves conducting a comprehensive assessment of the oral cavity. By performing a thorough oral examination, veterinary professionals can identify key indicators that point towards the presence of this condition.

Stomatitis is often characterized by pronounced inflammation of the gingiva, which is the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. Additionally, significant inflammation of the buccal mucosa, which refers to the inside of the cheeks, as well as the caudal oropharynx, located at the back of the mouth, further supports the diagnosis of stomatitis.

In many cases, cats afflicted with stomatitis also exhibit concurrent tooth resorption, a process wherein the structure of the teeth breaks down. This can be accompanied by inflammation of the surrounding bone, known as periodontitis. The simultaneous presence of these conditions serves as additional evidence to support the diagnosis of stomatitis.

Through a meticulous examination of these oral manifestations, veterinarians can accurately diagnose stomatitis in cats, enabling them to formulate appropriate treatment plans and provide much-needed relief for affected feline companions.

Signs & Symptoms of Stomatitis

One of the initial indications of feline stomatitis that pet owners may observe is the presence of an unpleasant odor emanating from their cat's mouth. This odor can be quite distinct and may serve as an early warning sign of the condition. Additionally, excessive salivation or drooling might accompany the foul smell, further drawing attention to the oral discomfort experienced by the cat. In some cases, caregivers may notice a decrease in the cat's grooming behavior, as they may be reluctant to engage in activities that exacerbate their oral discomfort.

Observing feeding habits can also provide insights into the presence of stomatitis. Owners may notice their cat dropping food from their mouth or displaying signs of distress, such as crying out while eating. The pain associated with stomatitis can become so severe that affected cats may exhibit reluctance to eat altogether, leading to weight loss.

It is important to closely monitor these symptoms and behaviors in cats, as they can indicate the presence of stomatitis. Early recognition and prompt veterinary attention can significantly improve the cat's quality of life and facilitate the implementation of appropriate treatment measures to manage the condition effectively.

How to Help Your Kitten With Stomatitis

The effective treatment of feline stomatitis necessitates diligent efforts to minimize the presence of bacteria in the cat's oral cavity. However, typical at-home dental care routines or even professional cleanings performed under anesthesia may fall short in achieving the desired bacterial reduction, especially in severe cases of stomatitis.

It is noteworthy that cats afflicted with stomatitis often experience persistent and unrelenting inflammation, which fails to resolve or swiftly reappears even after a comprehensive pet dental cleaning administered by a veterinarian. Consequently, the current recommended approach involves surgical intervention in the form of partial or full-mouth tooth extractions.

While this may initially appear to be a drastic measure, it stands as the most effective means to provide substantial and long-lasting relief to affected cats. It is important to acknowledge that tooth extraction surgery can be an extensive procedure, and in some cases, your veterinarian may suggest seeking consultation or referral to a veterinary dentist, who is a specialist accredited by the American Veterinary Dental College

To ensure optimal recovery, your veterinarian may prescribe an appetite stimulant if your cat displays hesitation to eat during the initial post-operative period. Additionally, you will be provided with medications to administer at home to manage post-surgical pain and inflammation.

You & Your Vet Can Help Your Cat With Stomatitis

In conclusion, stomatitis in cats represents a complex and perplexing disease characterized by severe inflammation affecting the entire mouth, including the gingiva and mucous membranes. While the exact cause remains elusive, an abnormal immune system response to oral bacteria and plaque is believed to play a significant role. Understanding the underlying mechanisms and developing effective treatment strategies remain ongoing pursuits in veterinary medicine, aimed at providing relief and improving the lives of cats affected by this painful condition.

Contact our Suwanee vets if your cat is suffering from an oral infection. We will book you an appointment to help your pet get taken care of. 

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