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What is Feline Stomatitis?
Feline Stomatitis is a condition seen in many cats where chronic inflammation affects the soft tissues of the mouth (gingiva and mucosa). It is also known as gingivostomatitis, lymphoplasmacytic stomatitis, or more accurately mucositis.
What Causes Feline Stomatitis?
- Stomatitis is a condition caused by a cat’s immune response to bacteria in the cat’s mouth.
- It is not fully known yet why some cats have a severe reaction to their oral bacteria and why others do not.
What are common symptoms of Stomatitis?
- Feline Stomatitis is a very painful condition. Frequently, the pain is so severe that your cat will not want to eat.
- Other common signs of stomatitis include:
- Bright red, inflamed gums and oral mucosa that extends throughout the inner lining of the mouth and cheeks.
- Drooling (sometimes blood tinged saliva)
- Bad breath
- Crying out or running off suddenly when yawning or eating
What are my treatment options?
- Without treatment, there is persistent pain, gingival recession and bone loss from chronic inflammation.
- Since feline stomatitis is an inappropriate immune response to the bacteria that lives on a cat’s teeth, we must remove the structures the bacteria attach to, the teeth, before the signs can resolve. Treatment options for feline stomatitis can vary depending on the severity of the disease. Surgical extraction is the first and most effective treatment to decrease your cat’s oral inflammation. In some cases, we are able to save the canine teeth for continued function.
- Medical treatment (usually steroids and antibiotics) repeatedly used before addressing the teeth will actually decrease the chance for a cure.
- Since your cat may be severely painful, a thorough exam prior to anesthesia may not be possible. Once your cat is under anesthesia and we have taken intra-oral radiographs we will have a better understanding of what treatment options will be best for your cat. If our treatment plan changes from the plan previously discussed during the initial consultation, we will call you to discuss these treatment options.
What will my cat’s recovery be like after the procedure?
- The first 72 hours after surgery, your cat may have facial swelling and blood tinged saliva. This is normal and expected after surgery. We provide the highest level of care to our patient’s and post-op pain control is very important! This is one of the reasons why we have multiple follow up evaluations, to ensure complete healing and address any post-operative concerns you may have. All patients go home with pain medications and anti-inflammatories that are appropriate for their age and health status.
- We closely monitor your cat’s progress in the days and months following surgery. We will make recommendations based on the speed and quality of recovery for each patient as an individual during these follow up appointments.
Laser therapy for your cat’s stomatitis may be recommended!
- Using laser therapy increases circulation and promotes healing, all while decreasing inflammation. This is why laser therapy can be beneficial for cats with stomatitis.