Cats can experience pain from gingivitis, and it requires immediate care. In this article, our vets in Southborough discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of gingivitis in cats.
Gingivitis occurs when the gums, which surround the teeth, become inflamed. The severity of this condition can vary from moderate to severe, causing discomfort and eating difficulties in cats. To address this issue, a tooth cleaning under anesthesia is necessary. Similar to humans, the accumulation of plaque - a mixture of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food - on the teeth contributes to this dental problem.
Causes of Gingivitis in Cats
Some common causes of gingivitis in cats may include:
- Crowded teeth
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Old age
- Soft Food
- Bad Dental Care
Signs of Gingivitis in Cats
Common signs of gingivitis in cats can include:
- Plaque build-up
- Bad breath
- Difficulty picking up toys
- Difficulty eating
- Not eating at all
- Red or swollen gums
Diagnosing Gingivitis in Cats
Cats skillfully hide their pain, making it challenging to notice signs of oral discomfort, even when it's severe. Your cat could maintain its usual activity levels and eating habits while silently suffering from dental disease. Regular veterinary dentistry check-ups are crucial. They allow your vet to detect any dental issues early on. Vets can often identify conditions by observing and checking for the abovementioned symptoms during routine exams.
Feline Gingivitis Treatment
Gingivitis treatment actively targets the removal of accumulated plaque and dental calculus, along with the extraction or treatment of destabilized and/or diseased teeth. Ensure regular tooth cleanings and dental X-rays are performed under anesthesia to combat inflammatory dental diseases.
Achieving a comfortable mouth often requires veterinary teeth extraction, if necessary, for cats suffering from stomatitis.
The frequency of your cat's dental check-ups depends on the severity of their periodontal disease. If your adult cat has overcrowded teeth or retains baby (deciduous) teeth, your vet may recommend a tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will instruct you on proper cat teeth brushing, and scheduling follow-up exams is crucial.
Caring for Your Cat's Oral Health
You can purchase toothpaste and brushes specifically designed for cats at most pet supply stores. These can help prevent gingivitis. You should gradually and consistently introduce your kitty to the toothbrushing process so they can get used to it.
Make Your Cat Comfortable With Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Leave snacks on the counter near the toothpaste and toothbrush so cats can associate something positive with them. You can also place a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.
Getting Your Cat Used to You Touching Their Mouth
Select a dental treat your cat likes and position it on their canine teeth. Gradually advance by placing it deeper into their mouth, directly onto their teeth. This familiarizes them with your touch on their mouth and facilitates a smoother introduction of the toothpaste.
Brush Your Cat's Teeth
Once your cat recognizes your touch on their mouth and gets used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, brushing their teeth becomes easier. Brush their gum line (only on the outside of their teeth) for about 15 to 30 seconds, and reward them with a treat when finished.