Consider feline stomatitis, an aggressive inflammatory condition, as a potential reason if you see your cat displaying strange behavior or discomfort, particularly in and around the mouth. Although the exact origin of stomatitis in cats is unknown, dental problems and immunological disorders are known to play a role. Reduced hunger, excessive drooling, red gums, and an untidy coat are all signs of stomatitis in cats. Although feline stomatitis can be excruciatingly painful, the majority of cats react favorably to medication treatment, routine dental care, and surgical intervention. Stomatitis poses a life-threatening risk if neglected. Visit your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has stomatitis.
What Is Stomatitis?
A cat's mouth and gums can become severely inflamed and painfully sore from feline stomatitis. Not to be confused with gingivitis, a common and less painful gum infection, is stomatitis. The term "stomatitis" describes a more widespread inflammation of the mouth's mucous membranes. Most frequently, the illness results in painful oral lesions and ulcers. These sores can form on the tongue, gums, back of the throat, lips, and gums.
Symptoms of Stomatitis in Cats
Severe pain is one of the most typical stomatitis symptoms. This may show up in a number of different ways. A cat with stomatitis could occasionally be in too much agony to open its mouth to feed. Wet food is a preferable choice for your cat if it can open its mouth because dry food is probably too unpleasant for it to chew. Your cat may occasionally display behavioral changes like becoming withdrawn or irritated due to the chronic discomfort. When your cat complains of mouth it may be mistaken for being a finicky eater.
Symptoms of stomatitis in cats may include:
While drooling in dogs is common and perfectly healthy, it is not normal in cats. If you notice your cat drooling, you should take it to the vet for further examination.
A sign of stomatitis in your cat might be exceptionally unpleasant breath. Mucus membrane irritation and plaque and tartar accumulation are the causes of the foul breath. Additionally, the buildup could have occurred earlier than the stomatitis, aiding in the disease's emergence. In either scenario, be aware of how your cat's breath smells.
Stomatitis in cats may cause weight loss as extreme mouth discomfort will prevent your cat from eating. Stomatitis can result in lack of appetite in cats even if they are physically able to eat.
Pawing at Face or Mouth
If you notice your cat pawing at its face, it may be a symptom of oral discomfort caused by stomatitis. Pay attention to accompanying symptoms that may connect the pawing to stomatitis.
Decreased appetite is a common symptom of stomatitis. In addition to oral pain making chewing too difficult to eat, the pain itself can cause a decrease in appetite.
It's possible that your cat isn't maintaining regular grooming routines. It can hurt too much to lick its fur. Consider stomatitis and associated mouth discomfort as a cause if your cat's coat appears untidy or if you notice your cat grooming less frequently or not at all.
Red and Inflamed Gums
As the mucous membranes of the mouth deteriorate due to stomatitis in cats, the gums can become extremely inflamed and discolored. Consider sending your cat to the veterinarian to receive the proper diagnosis as gingivitis can also result in redness and irritation.
Pain When Its Face Is Touched
If your cat has stomatitis, its face will likely be sensitive to the touch. Oral pain from the disease can permeate throughout the face, affecting your cat's response to facial touch.
Lethargy Due to Pain
Chronic pain due to stomatitis can exhaust your cat. Additionally, lack of nutrition following a loss of appetite will lower your cat's energy and lead to lethargy.
Your cat's difficulty swallowing might be a sign of stomatitis. Another symptom of stomatitis, excessive salvation, may be the cause of this. Swallowing difficulties are also exacerbated by mouth irritation.
Causes of Stomatitis
Sadly, there is still much to learn about the causes of cat stomatitis. The etiology is frequently thought to be immunological-mediated, which means that the cat's immune system assaults the tissues in its mouth as an aberrant reaction to oral germs.
- Dental disease: A variety of dental diseases can contribute to the development stomatitis. For example, periodontal disease results from the accumulation of plaque on and around the teeth, which causes inflammation involving the gums and tooth support structures.
- Infectious or systemic disease: Feline calicivirus, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, and autoimmune disease can contribute to the development of stomatitis in cats.
Diagnosing Stomatitis in Cats
Make an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup if your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed above. To check for any underlying systemic diseases, your veterinarian will start by doing an examination of your cat and basic bloodwork, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and chemical panel. Additionally, your veterinarian could advise specialized tests for underlying illnesses like FeLV and FIV.
Because the discomfort makes the cat hesitant to open its mouth, it might be challenging to examine the mouth of a cat with stomatitis. To provide a more thorough and pleasant examination, your veterinarian may advise sedation.
The diagnosis is frequently made using a mix of physical exam results and clinical indicators. Your veterinarian can assess the level of periodontal disease through a dental examination and dental X-rays. A veterinarian can occasionally advise submitting a little tissue sample from the mouth for biopsy.
Stomatitis management and therapy might be difficult because the exact origin of the condition is unknown. Treatment options for cats with stomatitis will change based on the condition's stage, severity, and response to medications.
The two most common first lines of therapy are routine dental care and medical supervision. To address any inflammatory dental disease, eliminate plaque and tartar, and clean the tissues below the gum line, your veterinarian should conduct a routine dental cleaning and dental x-rays while your pet is under anesthesia.
After the dental cleaning, you should ideally brush your cat's teeth often. However, cats with stomatitis frequently have too much oral discomfort to allow for brushing. Gels or rinses for the mouth might be helpful.
The goal of treatment is to manage pain and decrease inflammation. Some cats will respond to routine dental cleanings under anesthesia and at-home care like chlorhexidine rinses or gels.
If medicinal treatment is ineffective, your veterinarian may advise having all or some teeth removed under anesthetic. Although it may sound extreme, cats can survive without teeth. The surfaces of teeth offer places for germs to adhere. In cats with stomatitis, removing the teeth can reduce the germs that trigger the immune system and help treat periodontal disease. Cats without teeth may still eat and enjoy their lives.
Prognosis for Cats with Stomatitis
Stomatitis is a difficult (and frequently expensive) condition to treat. Although cat stomatitis can be challenging to cure and even be fatal in some cases, many cats respond well to therapy. While non-surgical treatments are possible, cats typically need a mix of surgery and medication. Stomatitis in cats can be successfully managed with care and attention, but there is no known cure. If you choose to have your cat undergo a full mouth extraction, no more medical care will be required, even though it is regarded as a therapy rather than a cure. You can anticipate an improvement in your cat's general quality of life if they react well to therapy.
How to Prevent Stomatitis
Stomatitis in cats is very hard to avoid. The best strategies to safeguard your cat are to keep up with regular vet visits and proper dental care. Making sure your cat has all of the necessary vaccines is crucial for preventing contagious illnesses that might cause stomatitis.
What are the symptoms of stomatitis in cats?
The symptoms of stomatitis are wide-ranging and severe. Stomatitis might be to blame if you notice symptoms such as your cat drooling excessively, losing weight, or grooming less frequently.
Can stomatitis in cats be treated?
Typically, stomatitis in cats can be managed well with medical therapies or surgery, often in conjunction. Many cats respond well to treatment, but stomatitis cannot be cured.
What causes stomatitis?
Unfortunately, the cause of stomatitis in cats is still unknown. Several diseases go hand-in-hand with stomatitis, but they can't be considered definitive causes.