Gingivitis is a common dental issue not only in humans but in cats too! Here, our vets at Marcello Veterinary Hospital discuss gingivitis in cats, including its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
What is Gingivitis in Cats
Gingivitis is a condition that occurs when the gums around the teeth become inflamed. In cats, this condition can cause great oral pain. To repair this condition, a tooth cleaning while the cat is under anesthesia would be needed.
Like humans, plaque, which is a mix of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food, can build up on the teeth and lead to gingivitis if not brushed away. This is why consistent daily dental care is important, even for cats.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Gingivitis in Cats?
The common signs of gingivitis in cats are:
- Red or swollen gums, especially around the area of the inner cheek
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all
- Difficulty picking up toys or food
- Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
What Are the Causes of Gingivitis in Cats?
The common causes of gingivitis in cats include:
- Bad Dental Care
- Old age
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Soft Food
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
- Crowded teeth
How Is Gingivitis in Cats Diagnosed?
Because cats often conceal their pain and sickness, it's important for owners to be vigilant in observing any potential signs of oral health problems. Even if cats are eating well and appear active, they can still have serious dental issues.
Regular annual check-ups for your cat are crucial in detecting dental diseases. Vets are skilled at spotting signs of conditions by observing the animal and checking for the symptoms mentioned earlier.
What is the Recommended Treatment for Gingivitis in Cats?
Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting destabilized and/or diseased teeth. To address any inflammatory dental disease, routine tooth cleanings and dental X-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.
If your cat is suffering from stomatitis then it will be likely that your vet will recommend the extraction of the affected teeth in order to make your cat comfortable again.
The frequency of dental checkups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it has baby (deciduous) teeth, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will show you how to clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up exams.
How You Can Help Care For Your Cat's Teeth
Cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste are available for purchase at pet supply stores and can help avoid gingivitis. Brushing should be introduced gradually and consistently so that cats become accustomed to it.
Show Them The Toothpaste and Toothbrush
To help cats develop a positive association with toothpaste and toothbrushes, you can leave snacks near them on the counter. Additionally, you can apply a small amount of toothpaste on your finger for the cat to lick, gradually getting them used to it.
Start Touching Your Cat's Mouth Often
Choose a dental treat your cat enjoys and place it on its canine teeth. As they become accustomed to it, start placing it deeper and deeper into their mouth, on their teeth. This gets them used to you touching their mouth and makes it easier for you to introduce the toothpaste.
Begin to Brush Your Cat's Teeth
With your cat used to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and you touching their mouth, it should be easier to brush their teeth. Brush along the gum line for about 15 to 30 seconds, only on the outside of the teeth, and reward them with a treat afterward.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.