If your cat is anything like my house-lion Preid, thoroughly examining their mouth is likely not an easy task! It’s important, however, to regularly check your cat’s mouth for any signs of dental disease and oral inflammation. Because cats are so good at hiding signs of discomfort and pain, they may not necessarily exhibit obvious clinical signs. Often cats will continue to eat despite significant oral disease. I encourage you to regularly examine your cat’s entire mouth.
Two of the most common oral conditions we see in cats are stomatitis and gingivitis.
Stomatitis: Is essentially inflammation of the oral mucous membranes that can range in location from the gums and surrounding tissues all the way to the back of the mouth (oropharyngeal area). There are several possible underlying causes of stomatitis, including hyperresponsiveness, bacterial/viral infections, trauma, immunosuppression, and various disease states.
Gingivitis: Is inflammation of the gums. Again, there are many possible causes of gingivitis, which are similar to those for stomatitis. Proper dental hygiene can help reduce gingivitis by lower plaque and tartar levels.
Affected mouths will have areas that are bright red in color. Often the oral tissue bleeds more easily than normal and may also be “cobblestone” in appearance. Subtle changes in your cats’ behavior such as decreased grooming, hiding more, and acting less social, all the way up to more noticeable changes, such as, drooling and aggression, can point to oral inflammation causing problems. Depending on the underlying cause, your veterinarian can recommend treatments to help resolve these issues and provide your cat with a pain-free healthy mouth.
The team at Cumberland Veterinary Clinic is happy to provide oral exams to our feline friends. We realize it isn’t always easy to examine a cat’s mouth, but it is necessary. A complete oral exam is more than just teeth!
Written by: Dr. Mike Bugg