Along with regular veterinary care, your kitty will also need routine dental care in order to help prevent serious dental concerns such as gingivitis. Our vets in Clinton Township talk about gingivitis in cats, the signs and possible causes as well as how it can be treated.
Dental Concerns: Gingivitis in Cats
Gingivitis is an accumulation of bacteria that can lead to the inflammation of the gums. While gingivitis is only the early stage of gum disease it can still cause serious dental pain and discomfort for your kitty. To remedy the condition, a tooth cleaning under anesthesia would be required. Just like humans, plaque - a buildup of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food - can accumulate on the teeth and contribute to this dental issue.
Typical Cat Gingivitis Symptoms
The symptoms that typically accompany gingivitis include:
- 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
Common Causes of Cat Gingivitis
Some of the known causes of gingivitis in cats are:
- Bad Dental Care
- Old age
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Soft Food
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
- Crowded teeth
Diagnosing Cat Gingivitis
Cats are masters at hiding any pain or injury. This means that you may not even be aware that anything is wrong until it is far advanced. Your cat may even suffer from severe gum diseases and not show any signs of pain while eating. Bringing your cat in for their annual routine exam is essential to the detection of dental disease, as a vet is often able to identify signs of conditions while observing an animal and checking for symptoms listed above.
The Treatment Options For Gingivitis in Cats
If your cat has gingivitis your vet will focus on cleaning it away or even remove the affected teeth if there is no way to save them. This, along with any X-rays, will be completed while your cat is under general anesthetic.
Stomatitis in cats is most commonly treated through the removal of the teeth which are causing pain.
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 vet will provide you with a recommended exam and cleaning schedule as well as show you how to properly clean your cats teeth at home.
Ongoing Dental Care For Your Cat
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 cats become accustomed to it.
Using a Toothbrush & Toothpaste
You may be able to help your cat find the toothbrush appealing if you leave it next to treats while they check it out. You can also place a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.
Touching Your Cat's Mouth
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.
Teeth Brushing For Cats
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.
Routine Professional Dental Care
To keep your cat's mouth pain-free and healthy the vets at Snider Veterinary Services suggest taking your kitty to a dental checkup at least once a year as part of a preventative care routine. This would be like taking them to the dentist. The vets will examine your cat's dental health as well as, perform a physical health evaluation to inform you if they need a professional dental cleaning or surgery to restore their overall well-being.
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.