Does anyone out there brush their cats’ teeth?
If so, well done, it’s no easy task! As an animal health technician, I recommend it to virtually all of the clients at my vet clinic. But let's face it, not many people do it in practice! That said, brushing your pet’s teeth is still the best way to prevent periodontal disease.
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Are you familiar with feline stomatitis? This is another disease that occurs in a cat’s mouth and it can be very serious. Do you have a pedigree cat? This article is all the more important for you!
Have you noticed that your cat's gums are inflamed or even that it has ulcers or sores in its mouth? Read on to learn more about this form of chronic gingivitis which is caused by something much more complex than a simple build-up of tartar and bacteria in the mouth.
In this article, you will learn more about natural home treatments for treating stomatitis in cats.
What is stomatitis in cats?
Stomatitis in cats is a syndrome that usually has three main components: severe gingivitis, mouth ulcers and gum hyperplasia. Vets don’t agree on a precise definition for this syndrome, and there is not necessarily unanimous consensus on its causes and treatments either.
Although periodontal disease is attributed to stomatitis, the most common form of stomatitis in cats is characterized by severe gingivitis, not associated with periodontal disease. We speak most often of stomatitis when a cat, despite having beautiful, healthy teeth with little or no tartar buildup, suffers from significant inflammation of the gums.
I personally saw such a case at the clinic where I worked. It was a Siamese cat around the age of one with beautiful teeth that had severe gingivitis despite its young age. The poor thing had difficulty eating because of this condition. Despite several treatments, he continued to present with mild gingivitis.
What are the causes of stomatitis in cats?
The causes of cat stomatitis are rather nebulous, but most agree that it is probably an overreaction of the immune system to plaque (the bacteria on the surface of the teeth). The cat would be, if you will, allergic to its own teeth! This cause is suspected due to the large amount of plasma cells found during microscopic analysis of inflamed tissue.
One study showed that in many cases of chronic gingivitis and stomatitis, cats were also positive for calicivirus. It is therefore possible to make an association between this virus and feline stomatitis. Young cat breeds are also at greater risk of developing this disease.
Symptoms of feline stomatitis
As you would expect, the most common symptom of feline stomatitis is severe gingivitis. But feline stomatitis has many other surprises in store. Here is a non-exhaustive list of symptoms of stomatitis in cats:
- Disproportionate gingivitis for the stage of periodontal disease
- Severe inflammation of the gums at the junction of the teeth and gums
- Ulcers and lesions in the mouth
- Gingival hyperplasia
- Inflammation of the tongue, lips, palate and back of the throat
- Intense pain in the mouth
- Decreased or lack of appetite
- Weight loss
You will agree, this disease is not easy and affected cats must be taken care of quickly. Read on to learn all about conventional and natural treatments to relieve symptoms related to feline stomatitis.
Conventional treatments for feline stomatitis
As mentioned earlier, there is no scientific consensus on the therapeutic approach to feline stomatitis. There is no foolproof cure that works all the time. A good dental cleaning under anesthesia, antibiotics, corticosteroids and pain relievers are some of the things vets try to treat stomatitis in cats.
Natural treatments for feline stomatitis are detailed further below.
Dental cleaning and oral examination under anesthesia
Usually one of the first steps in treatment is a complete dental cleaning (under anesthesia) followed by polishing, like when we go to the dentist ourselves. During this, we remove as much plaque and tartar from the cat's teeth as possible, hoping to reduce its immune response against the bacteria in its mouth.
Under anesthesia, the vet can also truly assess the severity of the condition, as cats are well known to dislike having their mouths checked when they are awake!
Afterwards, vets will often prescribe antibiotics to control the oral bacterial flora of the cat and therefore, to control the gingivitis. However, they are not always easy to administer, especially when puss has a sore mouth.
For the Siamese cat that I mentioned earlier, antibiotic treatment was enough to improve his condition, but it did not cure him completely.
Some vets will talk about corticosteroids for treating cat stomatitis. Studies have shown beneficial effects of this kind of treatment in the short term, but the long-term results are less conclusive.
These drugs usually cause side effects, such as drinking more and urinating more frequently.
In cases of severe feline stomatitis, the only realistic solution for restoring a cat's comfort quickly is to extract several, if not all, of its teeth.
Domestic cats can live very well without a tooth, but yes, this is an extreme last resort. As a last resort it can, however, save the life of a suffering cat that is no longer feeding.
Natural treatments for stomatitis in cats
Now let's get to the heart of the matter. How to treat your cat of this dreadful gum disease and mouth sores with natural and home remedies? Of course, there are no quick fixes, but here are our home remedies; non-invasive ways to relieve your cat of this painful mouth pain.
Brush your cat’s teeth!
Yes, I’m coming back to this! What could be more natural than taking a good old toothbrush and removing bacteria manually from your cat's mouth! This is the best natural home treatment for infections in a cat’s mouth! You might find this a bit ambitious, but the ideal is to brush your cat's teeth twice a day (I will be happy if you do it once a day)!
You can even kill two birds with one stone by using a cranberry-based toothpaste, which acts as a natural antibacterial agent.
So, brushing your cat’s teeth is out of the question for you? Is it a question of safety for your hands? I understand! There are dental gels that can be applied simply to the gums to once again achieve this antibacterial effect. It's not as effective as good old-fashioned tooth brushing though.
When I talk about nutrition, I'm talking more about the shape and size of the kibble. Some veterinary dental-type foods generally offer larger kibbles and are literally engineered in the lab to achieve the perfect consistency to have a mechanical effect on a cat's teeth. This mechanical action is again no substitute for brushing the teeth, but it does a lot of help in preventing plaque from building up on the teeth.
On the other hand, if your cat already has a loss of appetite caused by pain in its mouth, I do not recommend changing its food. The important thing for your cat will be to feed it what it loves the most, because it will need all of its energy to heal.
A bit like teething babies, we can give our cat frozen toys to relieve painful gums. The cold acts as an analgesic. Not all cats will be receptive, but it's worth a try!
You can try making small ice cubes for your cat with canned food or with pieces of kibble in water to encourage them to chew the ice.
Our natural homeopathic product to support you cat gums during stomatitis
If you read our articles regularly, you probably often read about the importance of boosting the immune system for helping your pet to help itself. For cat stomatitis, this is the exception that proves the rule!
As we suspect the cat is having an autoimmune reaction to the bacteria in its mouth, like an allergic reaction, we don't want to stimulate its immune system any further! We therefore suggest a remedy of another nature.
Our GINGIVITIS product is recommended for cases of feline stomatitis. It’s made from a blend of four homeopathic ingredients that work together. As a pet parent, you want to reduce redness and swelling of the gums to avoid sores and pain.
It contains a powerful natural anti-inflammatory that can help during your effort to control your cat's pain and thus help them return to their normal eating habits. Try it out now, as it is even more effective in the early stages of gingivitis.
Is cat stomatitis fatal?
Several cases of feline stomatitis are resistant to treatment. Although an improvement can be observed, as in the case of the Siamese cat that presented at the clinic where I worked, this improvement is often temporary and the symptoms return when the treatment is stopped. Fortunately, in many cases only moderate gingivitis persists.
Untreated cases can quickly deteriorate; while the cat is in pain, it may stop feeding. Cats who also have feline AIDS (FIV) or feline leukemia (FeLV) have a much poorer prognosis.
FIV-positive cats generally respond less to treatment for feline stomatitis, and more than 70% of them die within 12 months of diagnosis.
Finally, a cat can live very well with feline stomatitis, as long as we give it every chance and are proactive with its treatments. Help your cat with its pain and sores caused by stomatitis. Take a look at our website for more information on our natural and homeopathic products.
I challenge you to brush your cat's teeth at least once this week (with animal toothpaste of course)! With realistic goals, we are more likely to create a habit! You can help you cat maintain impeccable oral health and increase its well-being and comfort!
Have you tried the experiment? How did your cat react? Share your tips with us in the comments below.