Stomatitis is an inflammation of the mucous lining any soft-tissue structures in the mouth. It often includes ulcerated tissue in the back of the mouth, inside the cheek-pouches, and even the back of the throat. It also manifests itself as severe inflammation where the teeth and gums meet.1
Feline Stomatitis is largely seen in adult domestic cats; however, purebred cats and those living in multi-cat households tend to develop stomatitis at a younger age.There can be a number of factors that can cause stomatitis and they range from exposure to viral infections such as calcivirus, bacterial infections such as Bartonella henselae, or an autoimmune condition where the cat's body attacks what it thinks to be a foreign substance, such as the enamel in its teeth.2 There are also some who feel that it could also be caused by a food allergy (To rule-out a food allergy, try putting your cat on a limited-ingredient grain-free, poultry or rabbit diet3).
Cats who have stomatitis often have a history of halitosis (bad breath), pawing at the face, drooling, pain when eating, refusing to eat, running away from the food bowl, not wanting their face touched, being less active, and weight loss.4
Treatment of a cat with stomatitis can be very challenging to both the veterinarian and the cat's owner. The veterinarian will have to try a variety of treatments in order to find one that will actually be effective.
- The first thing that should be done, will be to have your cat tested for feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or both.
- An oral examination to determine the extent of the illness. It may be necessary to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums, usually done under general anesthesia.
- It is also generally advocated to conduct a systematic administration of antibiotics such as amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, clindamycin, metronidazole, and doxycycline.5
- Along with the antibiotic treatment, your vet may teach you how to daily brush your cat's teeth and then irrigate his mouth with a 0.2% solution of chlorhexidine6. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to brush your cat's teeth, due to the pain.
- Repeated CO2 laser treatment of inflamed oral tissues has been reported to result in dramatic improvement and reduce the pain7.
- Lastly, "Removing healthy teeth is an option for cats with stomatitis that do not respond to medication or when side effects of drug therapy are not acceptable. Tooth extraction removes the surfaces that retain plaque, thus decreasing accumulation of bacteria and the associated inflammatory response"8.
Although this is a radical step, in most cases this will provide long-term success.9
Ulceration of a cat's pharynx
due to feline stomatitis
Resolution of ulcers
two weeks after
extraction of cheek teeth
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