Many cats suffer from gingivitis and other inflammations of the oral cavity. When they become chronic and degenerate into stomatitis, it is painful for the cat and difficult to eradicate for its owner. Goblet virus is often the cause.
What are the symptoms and causes of stomatitis, how to avoid it and treat it? We explain to you what is the feline chronic gingivostomatitis (GSCF).
Feline chronic gingivostomatitis (GSCF)
The GSCF goes by several names. It is also called chronic stomatitis, granulomatous stomatitis or lymphoplasmacytic stomatitis. Behind all these words hide the same symptoms: a inflammatory reaction of the lining of the mouth. Often, a virus is at the origin: the calici virus. However, carrier cats are very numerous and do not necessarily develop this inflammatory phenomenon. They are then said to be healthy carriers. In the case of affected cats, it is a virulent and disproportionate immune reaction to calici virus or dental infections.
Symptoms of stomatitis
Stomatitis brings together significant gingivitis (a periodontitis), mouth ulcers and lesions as well as gingival hyperplasia, that is to say that the gums are red, bleeding and swollen. It is very painful.
Other signs, which vary according to the animals, are added. We often find several of the following:
- Anorexia (or dysorexia) that is to say that the cat eats less or differently because of the pain it feels when chewing;
- weight loss;
- Enlargement of lymph nodes mandibular, that is to say the ganglia located near the mandible (lower jaw) and which are used to fight infections;
- Dirty fur due to lack of grooming (too painful);
- Salivation (ptyalism);
- Bad breath (halitosis);
- Gingivitis (red and inflamed gums).
When the master has waited too long before consulting, the veterinarian finds a malnourished animal which may even suffer from kidney complications.
Causes Of Stomatitis In Cats
The origins of feline stomatitis are multiple:
- Calicivirus: as studies have shown a link between calicivirosis and stomatitis, the veterinarian generally carries out a PCR search for this virus in order to identify the cause. But this virus is not the only origin.
- Immune system imbalance: the latter reacts too strongly to a micro-aggression which leads to inflammation in the mouth.
- Dental plaque and tartar: they are breeding grounds for bacteria that increase the risk of stomatitis and dental infection. Dental hygiene in cats is therefore not to be neglected.
- Foreign body: especially when it has remained planted in the cavity buccal (a spikelet, for example). It increases the risk of stomatitis and complications in the mouth.
- Tooth abscess.
- Mycosis (fungus or yeast).
- Dental fistula.
- Burning in the mouth.
Treatment Of Oral Inflammation In Cats
It is very difficult to overcome chronic stomatitis by self-medication. It is essential to make an appointment with a veterinarian.
Generally, care begins with a prescription for anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. If it calms the symptoms, it is only temporary to soothe the animal.
At the same time, it is necessary to eliminate everything that stimulates the immune system and contributes to inflammation. Must therefore tackle all infectious foci which have developed in the mouth. A descaling is very often recommended. Sometimes tooth extractions are unavoidable. Only surgery can soothe the animal.
The veterinarian must sometimes reconstruct the bone of the gum when he had to remove parts that were too inflamed. The remaining teeth are treated with antibiotics. Of the painkillers are added to the treatment for several days, before and after the operation. Then a regular good oral hygiene is necessary, in particular by the application of gels.
There surgery improves the situation for 80% of cats and cures 60% of them. Unfortunately, 20% remain affected by stomatitis. The latter can then be treated with recombinant omega interferon of feline origin (very expensive) for 1 to several months.
Of the immunomodulatory treatments, in the form of corticosteroids and cyclosporine help reduce the inflammatory reaction. As they reduce the cat’s immunity, they can cause side effects in the face of viral infections.
Finally, laser therapy is used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, but it is still underdeveloped in veterinary practices. It is done under general anesthesia and is quite expensive because it requires several sessions.
Is there a natural treatment for gum-stomatitis in cats?
There is no real treatment, only ways to relieve the pain. So, give a frozen food or toy plays a soothing role for the gums.
Some masters use homeopathy, such as Borax 5 CH or Apis 5 CH. Others give their cat herbal medicine or aromatherapy to calm the inflammation. So, aloe vera, lemon balm and cat’s claw soothe inflammation and have a healing and anti-ulcer effect. They would also modulate immune reactions. Grapefruit seed extract added to the bowl of water, would act as a natural antibiotic.
Trace elements can also be useful. Colloidal silver is renowned for its effects on inflamed gums, as is zinc, magnesium chloride and the gold, copper, silver mixture which is known for its anti-infective and antiviral properties.
Finally, CBD oil is sometimes used even if no study has proven its effectiveness.
For the use of all these natural treatments, the ideal is to ask the opinion of a specialized veterinarian in alternative medicine. Indeed, improper use can delay an intervention that would be necessary, which would then lead to a worsening of the cat’s condition.
Is Stomatitis Contagious?
Yes, stomatitis is contagious and cats can pass it on through direct contact. However, some will react strongly while others will maintain a healthy mouth. It all depends on their immunity. It seems that purebred cats, especially Maine Coons, Siberians, Siamese, are more easily affected.
However, it is not transmissible to humans.
How To Help Your Cat Have A Healthy Mouth?
The best prevention against stomatitis is brushing your teeth. Very few owners manage to resolve it because their little feline is often recalcitrant. The ideal is to train the animal from an early age, when it is still a kitten, so that it becomes a routine.
It is not necessary to do it 3 times a day as in humans, but at least 3 times a week and, if that proves impossible, once a week, for example, at the weekend.
When the little feline is too refractory, there are gels to pass with the finger on the gums. They have an antibacterial effect, although they are less effective than real brushing.
Food can also help: some kibbles are known to help cats with a form that rubs their teeth and rids them of dental plaque. They would therefore have a cleansing effect on their oral cavity.
Finally, there are also solutions with anti-scaling properties and anti-dental plaque to be diluted in drinking water. They also reduce bad breath. They do not remove tartar (only descaling allows this), but they prevent it from coming back if it has been removed, or from adding to that already present on the teeth.
Stomatitis is not a disease, but a set of clinical signs whose origins are diverse. It is not to be taken lightly because it is painful for the cat and can even lead to euthanasia if the latter can no longer eat. It is contagious between cats. Good oral hygiene should therefore be maintained as much as possible in cats to avoid complications.