Stomatitis in Cats: Causes and Treatment

Cats are notoriously independent and sassy individuals, which can make it difficult to recognise signs that they’re in pain or that their health isn’t quite in tip-top shape. Dental disease is a common problem for cats that is too commonly missed by their pawrents. One painful dental disease that affects our kitties is Gingivostomatitis or Stomatitis for short. Today we’re going to unpack stomatitis in cats, delving deep like a root canal into the causes of it and how it can be managed, so that you have the skills to recognise stomatitis early and keep your floof grinning from ear to ear.

What is Stomatitis in Cats?

Stomatitis in CatsI’m sure you’ve heard the term gingivitis or gum inflammation being thrown around by your dentist when they bang on about how important flossing is. Well, stomatitis is a more severe form of gingivitis whereby it’s not just the gums that have become inflamed from poor oral hygiene, but the whole mouth. The inflammation in cat stomatitis is severe and painful, with the gums and the inside of the mouth appearing red and swollen. If the swelling is more severe, it can also cause bleeding.

Signs and Symptoms of Stomatitis in Cats

The symptoms of stomatitis in cats are similar to other forms of cat dental disease.

Here are some of the main ones:

  1. Gum Inflammation or Bleeding

Gum inflammation is the number one sign for cat dental disease such as stomatitis. In stomatitis, the inflammation is more severe than gingivitis and will also affect other parts of the mouth and throat. Their gums may also bleed if stomatitis is left untreated, particularly when eating hard food such as kibble.

  1. Smelly Breath:

The last thing you want to smell when you go in for a kitty-cat smooch is stinky breath. This is also a symptom of poor oral hygiene and stomatitis in cats.

  1. Signs of Oral Pain

Cats are tough creatures and often hide oral pain, so it can be difficult to recognise whether your cat’s mouth is painful. However, if they start having difficulty with eating their food, drool excessively, paw at their mouths frequently or refuse their food, these may be signs of cat dental pain which will tell you that it’s time to take them to the vet for a check-up.

  1. Weight Loss

If your cat starts refusing their food or is losing weight, this can also be a sign of dental disease and stomatitis in cats. This is more common in cats that eat mainly dry cat food as the tough texture can be more painful to eat. If your kitty is running to their dinner bowl quickly showing signs of hunger but struggling to finish their food or they are eating more slowly than usual, it may be a sign that your cat is struggling to chew or swallow their food due to painful mouth inflammation from stomatitis.

  1. Lack of Grooming

Cats are clean freaks and can spend nearly half the day grooming themselves. So if your cat is looking more shaggy or dirty than usual, it might be a sign that they’re not grooming themselves regularly due to the pain they experience in their mouth when they try do so.

What are the Causes of Stomatitis in Cats

Stomatitis occurs when there is a disproportionately high inflammatory reaction to plaque. We don’t know for sure the exact reason for this, however, research suggests a link between viral infections and developing stomatitis. Many cats with stomatitis have a concurrent viral infection, so it’s thought that this may be the trigger for the immune system over-reacting to plaque buildup.

Infections such as calicivirus which is a respiratory disease, feline aids, feline leukaemia and cat flu are all thought to be potential triggers for stomatitis in cats. Poor oral hygiene and excessive plaque build-up are also strong contributing factors to cats developing stomatitis.

Treatment of Stomatitis in Cats

If you think your floof may have stomatitis, it’s impawtent to get them checked by your vet as soon as you can. As there is no known cause for stomatitis, unfortunately, there’s no cure for it either. However, there are many ways that the disease and its symptoms can be managed.

  1. Steroid and Antibiotic Medication

Steroids and antibiotics are usually the first line of treatment. Steroids will help reduce pain and inflammation of the gums whilst antibiotics treat bacterial infections which are commonly seen in conjunction with stomatitis. It’s not great for your cat’s general health to be using these types of medication long-term, so they are usually only used at the beginning to calm severe symptoms or when flare-ups occur.

  1. Tooth Extraction

Since stomatitis is an immune response to the bacteria and plaque that live on a cat’s teeth, tooth extraction surgery may be needed to help fight stomatitis. To date, this is the most effective form of treatment for stomatitis in cats. 

Sometimes all of a cat's teeth will need to be removed particularly when the stomatisi is severe. This sounds drastic, but in fact, domestic kitties can continue to thrive with no teeth at all. As cats can only move their jaws up and down they don’t actually chew their food, rather they rip and tear meat into small easily-swallowed chunks. Therefore their teeth aren’t made for chewing so they can still swallow down kibble and wet food easily. 

For more fun facts about cats' teeth for your next pub quiz why not read our article on 10 facts about cats teeth?!

Why Choose Scrumbles Cat Dental Treats?

Scrumbles Cat Dental Gnashers

With cat oral hygiene, prevention is always better than a cure. That’s why we love to feed our kitties our Gnashers Cat Dental Treats to naturally reduce smelly breath and plaque by 80%. 

With added SHMP, an active ingredient proven to reduce plaque and promote fresh oral hygiene, as well as prebiotic slippery elm bark to soothe sensitive tummies and reduce painful hairballs, they’re the purrfect addition to any cat diet.

Whilst you're here, why not read:

  1. Cat Teeth Cleaning
  2. Ways To Prevent Cat Dental Disease
  3. Cat Loosing teeth ? Here is why 


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