We don’t always think about the oral health of our cats, but it’s something we should consider. Inspecting their teeth and gums can be risky. Gingivitis is an oral disease that can happen in humans, dogs, and cats. It’s as common to felines as it is to people. It causes sore gums and misery for your cat. Gingivitis in cats is a treatable condition but when left untreated it can cause severe illness and even death. If you suspect your cat has gingivitis it’s wise to follow up with your pet’s medical health care provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. If you suspect your cat is having oral health issues, here are some things you should know about feline gingivitis.
What is gingivitis in cats?
Hills Pet explains that gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that happens from buildups of plaque. The materials that build upon the teeth are much like concrete. They’re hard to scrape away and it’s difficult to do from home. It causes the gums and periodontal ligaments to swell and bleed. Gingivitis can cause deterioration of the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is an inflammatory disease of the gums. The blood vessels in gingival tissue become irritated and swollen and are more prone to bleeding. Bacteria present in the cat’s mouth also increases the chance of infection developing in the open sores and irritated tissues.
What causes Gingivitis in cats?
Gingivitis in cats is usually the result of years of accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Not all cats experience the condition, but some seem predisposed to the condition, possibly through genetics. gingivitis in cats can occur because of the presence of an infectious disease such as feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia. Some teething kittens may experience a slight case of gingivitis that goes away after they get their adult teeth. Other causes of gingivitis in cats are inflammatory diseases of the lips, mouth, gums, and tongue, sensitive oral tissues, misaligned teeth, fractured teeth, or decaying teeth. We can see that many different things can cause or worsen gingivitis in cats. Lack of oral care may also cause gingivitis in cats. A soft diet can allow plaque to build on the teeth more quickly. Chewing hard food helps to remove some plaque from the teeth and it could help to prevent the development of the condition.
What is plaque and how does it develop?
Pet MD explains that plaque is a collection of food, bacteria, dead skin cells, debris, and mucus that all collect on the teeth. A cat’s tooth surface may be clean, but plaque can start developing within 24 hours. Some cats are more sensitive to plaque than others and small amounts may lead to the development of gingivitis with swollen red gums. the blood vessels in the gingival tissue become inflamed and cause pain and discomfort. Some cats diagnosed with gingivitis may have minimal plaque buildup. Some cats with massive amounts of plaque do not develop gingivitis. It’s an individual thing that is assessed on a case-by-case basis. It’s worth reiterating that plaque buildups are as hard as cement. It’s difficult to remove them from the teeth of a cat without causing the animal a high level of stress. This is the reason why most vets prefer to sedate cats before they begin the cleaning process.
What are the symptoms of feline gingivitis?
Your cat may have the beginning stages of gingivitis and not show any symptoms. Unless you watch your cat eat, he may experience mild discomfort without your knowing. As the condition worsens, the symptoms become hard to miss or ignore. You will likely see changes in your cat’s behaviors. Eating may become difficult for cats with sore gums. They may show symptoms of slobbering or avoid eating hard food because of the discomfort. Cats may also lose teeth as a result of severe gingivitis. The gums may appear red at the gumline of the teeth. Cats may also experience oral pain. Some cats may also avoid drinking water because of the discomfort. They may sit in front of the food or water bowl but not eat. those who do eat may chew on one side of the mouth or dry when eating. Your cat may also lose weight because of his inability to tolerate food in his mouth. Your cat may also isolate himself from the company of humans and other pets while trying to cope with the discomfort. You may see changes in personality and mood. Your cat may also have foul breath. Cats who are feeling miserable, hungry, and in pain from severe gingivitis may become irritable and bite or scratch when the behaviors were previously uncharacteristic.
Are some cat breeds more susceptible to Gingivitis?
The Spruce Pets confirms that any breed of cat can develop gingivitis, but some breeds are more susceptible. Those with short noses tend to develop tooth misalignment that can cause the condition. Persians have higher incidences of gingivitis than some other breeds.
How is gingivitis diagnosed in cats?
Your cat’s veterinarian routinely inspects the cat’s mouth and gums in a simple physical examination. The vet is trained to recognize the visual signs of gingivitis. If he sees minor inflammation or redness, he may diagnose the condition and recommend a course of treatment. If a deeper infection is suspected, he may order X-rays to understand the full extent of the damage. Some vets can do this without sedating cooperative cats. When cats are unwilling to allow the vet to inspect the mouth, they may require sedation.
Is sedation required to diagnose and treat gingivitis in cats?
Cat bites can be dangerous and even lethal to humans because of the risk of severe infection. It’s unwise to force your cat to allow you to inspect his gums if he is in pain. Even loving and friendly cats are likely to bite and scratch to avoid discomfort. Cats are usually defensive about people opening their mouths and inspecting their teeth and gums. It’s especially true if his gums are sore and swollen. It’s instinctual to prevent more pain and discomfort. Cleaning the cement-like plaque from your cat’s teeth can be an invasive process as the vet may need to go beneath the gum line to remove plaque that has collected beneath the surface. Most vets are not willing to take the risk of an animal bite to avoid the potential risks of sedation. Most cats are not harmed by the mild sedative your vet administers. It’s essential to know that any form of sedative does come with risks. Adverse reactions are rare and most drugs used to mildly sedate felines are approved and noted as safe by the FDA for use in cats. You should tell your vet everything you know about your pet’s health history including any adverse reactions he may have had to medications in the past. The information will help your vet decide the best course of action when sedating your pet before he attemps to examine the gums or clean his teeth.
How do you Get Rid of Gingivitis in Cats?
VCA Animal Hospitals explains that the treatment for ridding your cat of gingivitis begins with a complete oral evaluation to determine the extent of the tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth. Your cat will need to undergo general anesthesia to safely begin the process. The veterinarian removes the deposits of tartar from all tooth surfaces. Ultrasonic equipment is effective to scale and polish each tooth. They must also clean the tissue lying beneath the gumline to remove all the accumulated tartar and plaque. Depending on the severity of the condition, your pet’s healthcare provider may recommend a regimen of medications. He may prescribe antibiotics or cyclosporine to clear up any infections. Your cat may need to have some teeth extracted. He will also require to follow up with regular dental cleaning approximately every six months. if your cat tolerates it, you may need to brush his teeth daily at home. The vet may also prescribe vitamin supplements and a solid nutritional diet. Nutrition plays a vital role in gum health and the recovery from oral infection.
What can you do at home to treat feline gingivitis and prevent its recurrence?
Martha Stewart recommends preventing the recurrence of feline gingivitis in your cat by regular teeth brushing. Some cats will cooperate, but others will not. If your cat declines your offer, you can take other preventative measures. You can also use an antibacterial spray to help keep feline gingivitis at bay. Consult your vet for suggestions on rinses with herbal oils, and other therapeutic solutions. Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution is one example of an exceptional preventative mouth spray. You can also obtain products with chlorhexidine over the counter, to treat gingivitis. In addition, your cat will need to see the vet for frequent dental cleanings. Keep your cat current with his vaccinations and feed him a healthy diet as suggested by his pet healthcare provider. Some types of daily preventative measures are necessary because plaque begins to build on clean teeth within a day.
Is it necessary to take your cat to the vet for gingivitis treatment?
Most cats experience mild forms of gingivitis during their lifetimes, and not all cases become chronic. They may experience swollen or bleeding gums from an injury or when teething. Not every gum issue is a reason for concern unless it persists. When your cat has symptoms that persist for over a week, it’s an indication he should see a licensed animal healthcare provider. An examination is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. Veterinarians are trained to spot the signs of gingivitis in animals and they can usually distinguish between gingivitis and some other condition. Your cat may have problems that are worse than you think. He may require more extensive testing to determine the nature of his oral problems, and the extent. Some gingivitis cases cause infections that go into the teeth and beyond, into the jawbone. Severe gum infections may become life-threatening. Some treatments can solve the problem, that you’re unable to render at home.
Professional care is in everyone’s best interest
Treating cats with gingivitis is a task that comes with two important considerations. Cats are emotional creatures, and when they’re in pain, they become hypervigilant. Imagine your gums were swollen and bleeding. You wouldn’t want a stranger poking around at them. The fear and anxiety your cat would experience without sedation would be agonizing. The pain and discomfort caused by the work required to remove the plaque from his teeth would exacerbate the pain. Lack of sedation would cause a situation that would be intolerable. The stress on the cat is just one more reason to seek professional medical care for cats suspected of having gingivitis.
Gingivitis in cats is a medical condition that is as common for felines as it is for humans. It’s an issue that happens when there are buildups of plaque and tartar. They form on the teeth and below the gumline. Some cats are more prone to the condition than others. If you notice your cat has any of the symptoms of gingivitis, including drooling, lack of appetite, trouble chewing, and irritability, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with his vet. The only way to know for sure is to get a checkup. Gingivitis in cats is a treatable condition that is easier to cure when caught in the early stages. There are things you can do at home to help prevent gingivitis. Some cats will develop the condition regardless of what you do. Still, follow the recommendations to help reduce the chances of the dreadful gum affliction. It’s best to check out all concerns for professional medical advice to ensure your cat lives a long and healthy life.