If cats suffer from chronic gum inflammation (chronic gingivitis), the owners often do not notice it for a long time. But it is not only painful but can also have fatal consequences for the cats. Learn all about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of gingivitis in cats here.
If gingivitis in cats is not recognized or only recognized late, there is a risk of many secondary diseases. These can be:
- tooth loss
- Inflammation or destruction of the jawbone
- Heart, liver, and kidney damage
- Weakening of the cat’s immune system
Causes Of Gingivitis In Cats
The most common cause of gingivitis is bacterial deposits (plaques) on the teeth. These deposits form when food residues stick to the teeth. For bacteria, the leftovers are a feast for the eyes: They multiply explosively and form a veritable bacterial lawn. Some of these bacteria create toxins that attack the gums. The gums become inflamed.
In addition to a plaque, other causes of gingivitis in cats can be:
- Viral infections (e.g. cat cold, leukosis)
- autoimmune diseases
- genetic disposition
A special case is plasma cell gingivitis. These are crimson growths on the gums that bleed easily when touched. A malfunction of the immune system may be behind this disease.
Recognizing Gingivitis In Cats
Gingivitis can be recognized in the early stages by the dark red seam that can be seen at the upper edge of the gums. However, many cats are reluctant to have their mouths looked at. The first symptom of gum inflammation – the red coloring of the gums – often goes unnoticed. In cats, you have to pay special attention to other symptoms:
- bad breath
- increased salivation
- It is important to watch the cat eat. Does she go to her bowl hungry but then eat hesitantly? Does she prefer to chew with just one side of the jaw? Does she leave her usual dry food and only eat the wet food?
Any noticeable change in eating behavior should be seen by a veterinarian. Because the sooner something is done against gingivitis, the greater the chances of recovery.
Everything can still be fine in the early stages of gingivitis: if the teeth are cleaned professionally now, the gums can recover. However, if the inflammation progresses, periodontitis can develop, with the consequences of which the gum tissue is destroyed. Unlike a broken bone, gums that have been destroyed cannot heal. Even the destroyed tooth socket is no longer built up by the body.
- Often the sanitation of the dentition has to be prepared with antibiotic treatment. In addition, chlorhexidine adhesive gel, which is applied to teeth and gums, can be of good service.
- After about a week of antibiotic treatment, the veterinarian can carry out the dental restoration under anesthesia. In addition to cleaning your teeth, you may also need to remove gum pockets and loose teeth.
- Sometimes the vet can fill the gum pockets with Doxyrobe. Doxyrobe is an antibiotic gel designed to disinfect and harden the periodontium. This is to protect the jawbone.
- The follow-up treatment consists mainly of oral hygiene. If possible, you should brush your (inflammation-free!) cat’s teeth every day. Tooth-friendly food or tooth-friendly snacks help to keep the teeth clean.
- In severe cases, antibiotic treatment and therapy with anti-inflammatory drugs are also necessary after the dentures have been cleaned. The drugs used vary. Certain sex hormones have proven effective in many cats. The active ingredient interferon can help with inflammation caused by viruses. Cortisone preparations and the active ingredient cyclosporine can also be of good service.
Disinfectant mouthwashes for humans are not suitable for cats!
Cat owners can do a lot to keep their cat’s teeth healthy for a long time. In order to prevent infections caused by viruses such as cat colds, the animals should be sufficiently immunized. Oral hygiene comes first. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to convince an adult cat to brush its teeth. Therefore, cats should be accustomed to brushing their teeth as kittens.
Tooth-friendly feed from the vet serves as a supplement to dental care. However, regular dental checks at the vet are crucial. Because if you are predisposed to gum problems or tartar formation, only regular and professional tooth cleaning helps to prevent worse.