Cat Mouth Ulcers

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Cat mouth ulcers occur in pets of all ages. The ulcer might not necessarily be a condition in itself, but a symptom of an underlying disease. The most common type of mouth ulcers occur due to periodontal disease or tooth problems. Feline gingivitis is a periodontal disease, known to cause severe gum inflammation and abscesses.

Feline Gingivitis

Some cats are sensitive to plaque formation. Over a period of time, plaque sensitivity causes gum damage as the lymphocytes and plasma cells destroy the tissues surrounding the gum. Cats that have a weak immune system become more susceptible to chronic gingivitis. Pets suffering from gingivitis experience difficulty eating, due to mouth lesions or ulcers. The gums bleed frequently and the cat suffers from halitosis, commonly known as bad breath. Tartar buildup can also lead to infection in the roots of the teeth and cause pus formation. It’s important to treat infected teeth promptly to prevent the spread of infection to the internal organs in the cat’s body. Lesions are usually present on the roof of the mouth, tongue and around the cat’s molars and premolars.

Related Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:

  • Oral sensitivity
  • Inability to consume food
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Bleeding gums
  • Redness and gum inflammation
  • Receding gum line

Causes of Mouth Diseases in Cats

Although most dental conditions develop due to lack of adequate oral hygiene, cats can also develop tooth and gum diseases such as gingivitis, stomatitis and caudal stomatitis due to certain viruses. Viruses include feline calcivirus, feline immunodeficiency virus and feline infectious peritonitis. The onset of periodontal disease often begins as early as 3 months of age. In order to determine the severity and cause of oral ulcers, the vet will perform certain diagnostic tests.

Diagnostic Tests Include:

  • Physical examination under anesthesia
  • X-ray
  • Biopsy
  • Urine analysis

Cat Mouth Ulcers

The vet might perform a biopsy to determine if the mouth ulcer is malignant or benign. The biopsy will also detect the presence of plasmacytic-lymphocytic stomatitis. Mouth ulcers sometimes occur due to conditions unrelated to dental disease. Further diagnostic tests are performed to rule out conditions such as renal disease, squamous cell carcinoma and eosinophilic granuloma.

Treatment of Cat Mouth Ulcers

Most ulcers are cured after treating the principle tooth condition. Tooth extraction is necessary to completely cure oral diseases. The cat’s teeth and roots will also be cleaned to remove any infection present. Teeth procedures are conducted under anesthesia. The vet will prescribe medications such as antibiotics to reduce pain and kill bacterial infection. Anti-inflammatory medicines will reduce swelling and discomfort after tooth surgery is performed. It’s important to follow routine oral hygiene to prevent re-infection and further tooth damage. Pet owners should acclimatize cats to a toothbrush and eventually brush the teeth with pet toothpaste. Cats that experience periodontal diseases should also undergo a dental cleaning every 6 months.

Although ulcers and periodontal disease occur in all pets, purebred cats are more likely to develop gingivitis or stomatitis, and require periodic dental checks along with proper home care.


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