Stomatitis in Cats

If you have been told that your cat suffers from stomatitis it means that they have a very advanced and painful form of gum disease. Our Wake Forest vets share some of the common causes of stomatitis in cats, the symptoms of stomatitis to watch for and what can be done to treat this form of gum disease.

What is stomatitis in cats?

Feline stomatitis is a serious oral health condition that can cause a great deal of pain along with the swelling of your cat's gums and ulceration. The open sores caused by this mouth condition can cause significant discomfort and pain in your cat, leading to food avoidance or refusal. This condition is known to affect roughly 10% of the domestic cat population.

While some breeds are more susceptible to developing this condition, like Persians and Himalayans, any cat can develop stomatitis, but you can help prevent it.

Potential Causes of Feline Stomatitis

There are a substantial number of potential causes of stomatitis in cats. The main belief among veterinary professionals is that it is caused by viral and bacterial components, but the exact source of this type of bacteria is unknown. Inflammatory dental disease, such as periodontal disease, is linked to the development of feline stomatitis.

This leads to the main piece of advice for preventing stomatitis in cats being to brush your cat's teeth each and every day. Some breeds can have their teeth brushed once daily to remove food particles and any bacteria, while other breeds should only have their teeth cleaned once a week or during professional grooming appointments. Consult your veterinarian for what is the best at-home dental routine for your kitty.  

Stomatitis Symptoms in Cats

One of the first signs of feline stomatitis that you may notice will be a change in eating habits. Cats with stomatitis are frequently in excruciating pain and have diminished appetites as a result. Food avoidance can become so severe in some cases that cats become malnourished because it is so painful for them to eat.

Some of the other frequently seen symptoms of stomatitis in cats are:

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

Treating Cat Stomatitis

When you bring your cat in for irritation or bleeding of the mouth, your vet will first perform an oral exam. Treatment for stomatitis in cats can vary depending on the severity of their condition. If your cat has mild stomatitis, at-home care might be enough to treat their stomatitis. 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.

Instead of just general routine wellness exams, dental checkups will probably be added to your cat's medical regimen in addition to treatment. The severity of your cat's periodontal disease will dictate how frequently she needs dental exams. Again, your vet may advise tooth extraction if your adult cat's teeth are crowded or if it still has its "kitten" teeth.

Aside from medical intervention, your vet should show you how to properly clean your cat's teeth and schedule follow-up appointments to review your feline's dental health.

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.

Signs of serious oral health concerns such as pain or lesions should be evaluated by a cat dentist right away. Contact our Wake Forest vets today to schedule your feline friend in for a dental examination.