What Is Stomatitis In Cats?

And what you should do about it 😿

stomatitis in cats

Your cat may not love it when you try to brush his teeth, but taking care of your cat’s mouth is super important for his health.

In fact, it might help prevent oral issues like stomatitis in cats, according to Dr. Aliya McCullough, a veterinarian on staff at Fetch by The Dodo.

What is stomatitis in cats?

Stomatitis happens when your cat’s mouth becomes inflamed.

While gingivitis just affects his gums, stomatitis causes most or all of your cat’s mouth to swell — that means his gums, tongue, lips and roof of his mouth can get inflamed.

“Stomatitis is a very painful condition and requires prompt veterinary attention,” Dr. McCullough told The Dodo.

What causes stomatitis in cats?

Experts aren’t exactly sure what causes stomatitis in cats, but not brushing your cat’s teeth might have something to do with it.

“The current theory is that an exaggerated immune response to the presence of plaque or a viral infection leads to this debilitating condition,” Dr. McCullough said.

What are the symptoms of stomatitis?

According to Dr. McCullough, symptoms of stomatitis in cats include things like:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding from his mouth or gums
  • Drooling
  • Oral pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

What is treatment for stomatitis like?

Treatment for stomatitis in cats is going to take a trip to the vet’s office.

And once your cat’s there, the first thing your vet will do is conduct a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment (aka COHAT).

“During a COHAT, a thorough examination of the teeth, gums and all other oral structures is performed and dental X-rays are taken,” Dr. McCullough said.

After that, your vet will typically remove the plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth, and may even remove teeth if necessary.

Your vet may also prescribe some things to help your BFF recover.

“Cats with stomatitis may also receive medications and therapies to control inflammation, infection and pain,” Dr. McCullough said. “​​In some cases, veterinarians may prescribe a special diet, such as a hypoallergenic diet. Pet parents should also slowly acclimate their cat to tooth brushing using positive reinforcement.”

A little at-home dental care can also help with your cat’s stomatitis. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the vet visit.

“In some cases, dental home care such as daily tooth brushing may be recommended by veterinarians after a COHAT,” Dr. McCullough said. “Pet parents should not attempt any home care without their veterinarian’s approval because they can inadvertently cause more pain and make it harder to establish a dental home regimen later.”

How to prevent stomatitis in cats

To prevent stomatitis in cats, it’s important to get rid of the plaque in their mouths through brushing and regular professional dental cleanings.

“This can be accomplished by regular dental care at the vet and at home,” Dr. McCullough said. “In some cases, routine dental care will not be sufficient to prevent stomatitis, and tooth extractions will be necessary.”

So to keep stomatitis at bay, staying on top of your cat’s dental care is key. But if your cat does develop stomatitis, make sure you bring him to the vet so you can treat it ASAP.

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