Stomatitis in Cats

Stomatitis in cats is a painful condition where the soft tissues in the kitty’s mouth become irritated and inflamed.  It can get so severe that your poor kitty is literally drooling blood.  Stomatitis can affect the cat’s gums, tongue cheek, tongue, and palate. Cats can also get caudal stomatitis.  This is a severe type of stomatitis where the area in the throat is affected and it can be a life-threatening condition.  If the inflammation is severe, it is so painful to your kitty that he or she will not/can not eat.

Stomatitis in Adult Cat

Stomatitis in Adult Cat

Caudal Stomatitis – if you look at the photo you can see folded “crypts” that allow bacteria and viruses to hide.  This results in the stimulation of the immune system to propagate continued inflammation.

Symptoms of Stomatitis

  • Pain

  • Bad breath

  • Ulcerated soft tissue in the mouth

  • Excessive drooling

  • Lack of appetite

  • Weight loss

Cause of Stomatitis

Veterinarians are not positive about the cause of stomatitis however, some metabolic disorders can cause stomatitis in cats including abnormal amounts of waste products in the bloodstream, inflammation of the blood vessels in the kitty’s mouth (which is common with diabetes), lymphoma and inadequate levels of the parathyroid hormone.  Veterinary dentists believe there may be an association between stomatitis in cats and feline calicivirus, as well as FIV.  In certain tests, it appeared that most cats with stomatitis are chronic carriers of feline calicivirus, but there is no foolproof evidence that calicivirus causes stomatitis.  Some veterinarians believe that gingivitis and stomatitis are the same diseases and that stomatitis is just a more severe form.  If you have a kitten with gingivitis, it would be prudent to have the kitten’s teeth professionally cleaned twice a year, as well as do teeth cleaning at home.

Treatment

There have been several suggested treatments for stomatitis.  Laser therapy has been used and while one study showed laser therapy to be effective, there have been other studies that indicate laser treatment does not work.  Homeopathic remedies have also been used, as well as stem cell therapy and the use of immunosuppressive agents.  The therapy that appears to have the greatest chance of success is total (or near total) extraction of the teeth.  It seems like a drastic measure, but if the stomatitis cannot be controlled, not only will your cat be unable to eat, lose weight and likely develop fatty liver disease, but the pain they endure often leads to euthanasia if you do not have total extraction of the teeth.

 

Extraction is not always successful, but it appears to have the highest success rate of treatments available for stomatitis.  Sometime the dentist will not extract the incisors if the dentists believe those teeth are not affected.  A large percentage of cats experience a permanent cure after extraction of all teeth and go back to eating what the same diet they were eating prior to the extraction.

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