Franklin Vets Blog

Hugh the cat with stomatitis

August 26, 2019

Hugh is a lovely tabby and white male cat and he is only 1 year old. He presented to our clinic dribbling and with very smelly breath. On examination, he was found to have gingivitis and stomatitis.

His gums and the back of his mouth were very inflamed and painful. Treatment improved his symptoms but only temporarily. During our dental month, Hugh was booked in to have his teeth cleaned. He ended up having a number of extractions and we are hoping it will be easier to manage his inflammation now for a while.

Cat with inflamed mouth

Inflamed mouth

Cat with mouth inflammation resolved after tooth removal

Inflammation resolved after tooth removal

A small percentage of cats can develop this painful ongoing inflammation of the gums and soft tissues in the mouth and associated with the teeth known as feline stomatitis. The long-term outcome can vary. This condition is very hard to completely resolve. This condition usually involves an infection but is partly caused by the cat’s own immune system reacting over exuberantly and making the inflammation much worse.

Contributing factors to stomatitis starting are thought to include various viral infections, bacterial infections and occasionally allergies.

Treatment includes antibiotics, steroids and pain relief. Dental hygiene is very important, and these cats will need regular veterinary visits to have their teeth cleaned and to remove teeth that are contributing to the ongoing inflammation.

Unfortunately, these cats often lose all or most of their teeth early in the course of the disease. The good news is that in 60% of cats with this problem the inflammation resolves once all the teeth have been removed. And, they can still eat normally – their teeth are their knives and forks, so as long as you provide food in a form that can be swallowed there are no issues (and this includes biscuits). They just wouldn’t be able to eat a rabbit that they caught because they wouldn’t be able to chomp it into chunks that can be swallowed.

Dr Nick Twyford BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine of Dogs)