Feline Stomatits Treatment

Feline stomatitis is a general term for inflammation of the oral cavity in a cat. It is a very painful condition, and it can be life threatening if left untreated. It can affect any breed of cat at any age, but the Himalayan, Persian and Somali breeds have been observed to be more susceptible.

Symptoms of Feline Stomatitis

Most people realize that their cat suffers from feline stomatitis when they notice that it has very bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis. Cats with feline stomatitis also have swollen, red gums. In advanced cases, the inflammation can spread outward from the teeth to other parts of the mouth. If the swelling spreads to the oropharynx, or the back of the throat, the condition can cause the cat to have trouble breathing and swallowing. Feline stomatitis can also lead to a painful condition called tooth resorption, analogous to a human cavity, where part of the tooth starts to deteriorate as a result of being adjacent to gum tissue that is affected by feline stomatitis. Tooth resorption may appear as though the gum tissue is growing into a tooth, or the tooth may look like it has a hole.

Causes of Feline Stomatitis

As a cat eats, food material gets stuck to its teeth and gums. This material, known as plaque, grows colonies of bacteria that feed on it. These bacteria can produce chemicals that are harmful to gum tissue and erode teeth. The swelling associated with feline stomatitis is the cat’s immune system responding to the bacterial infection. Some cats are hypersensitive or allergic to plaque, and these cats are called ‘plaque intolerant.’ The worst cases of feline stomatitis are in plaque intolerant cats.

Treatment of Feline Stomatitis

Since feline stomatitis is caused by a buildup of plaque in a cat’s mouth, treatment consists of removing all plaque from the cat’s gums and teeth and keeping it off. To prevent plaque accumulation, you should take your cat to have its teeth cleaned and polished at the vet’s office at least every six months, and regularly brush your cat’s teeth at home. If tooth resorption has already started to occur, the affected teeth must be removed. Some medications commonly used to treat feline stomatitis are topically applied chlorhexidine (apply during brushing), orally administered antibiotics, or medications such as cyclosporine. Unfortunately, even with the best treatment, the disease continues to progress. The only effective way to permanently cure feline stomatitis is to remove all of the teeth behind the cat’s canines.

Feline stomatitis is a painful and dangerous disease that affects domesticated cats all too often. It's difficult to treat, and treatment usually consists of removing the diseased teeth altogether. The best way to make sure that you will never have to have your cat’s teeth removed due to feline stomatitis is to meticulously maintain your cat’s dental hygiene. If you notice feline stomatitis developing in your cat, you should seek treatment immediately, because the disease progresses quickly and becomes much more dangerous over time.