Drooling in Cats

Drooling in Cats

Excessive drooling in cats might signal a dental diseases or some oral trauma. This Buzzle article provides detailed information about the causes of cat drooling.
As I sat holding my cat in my arms, she relaxed and started kneading, purring softly, and drooling. While most cat owners are quite familiar with the usual signs of contentment in a cat, excessive drooling in cats and kittens might signal a medical problem.

The medical term used for this condition is Ptyalism. Usually, increased salivation is an indication of a stimuli like the smell of food, nausea, excitement, or a hot and humid environment. Some cats also drool due to motion sickness. However, if the problem persists for a longer period of time, then it might be a cause for concern. Here are some causes of excessive salivation in cats and how to treat them.

Why do Cats Drool?

The most common causes of drooling include:
  • Sometimes the nausea, caused by car sickness or gastrointestinal upset, is a frequent cause of drooling and hypersalivation.
  • Some cats may also salivate profusely when they are anxious or scared.
  • Intaking certain foul-tasting foods or oral medication may cause drooling or foaming at the mouth.
  • Some cats smack their lips and foam at the mouth when they are about to vomit a hairball.
  • Feelings of pleasure when being petted.
Most of these conditions are benign and short-lived, however, if the problem persists for more than half an hour it might signal a more serious problem. The reasons for excessive drooling include:

Dental and Oral Diseases: Certain dental and gum disorders are common reasons for drooling. According to Dr. Theresa Paoloni, "Periodontal disease and the accompanying gingivitis, if severe, can lead to halitosis (bad breath), dysphagia (difficulty eating), and drooling. Periodontal disease is easily diagnosed during an oral examination, however, determination of the true extent of periodontal disease often requires oral radiographs". So if you are plagued by persistent drooling, then look for problems like broken teeth, trapped foreign body between teeth, oral ulcers, odontoclastic lesions, enamel defects at the gum line, eosinophilic granuloma lesions, and gingivitis. The excessive salivation could also be the result of damage or infection of the salivary glands. In certain cases, the drooling caused by dental problems or oral trauma could occur in conjunction with halitosis or a malodorous hair coat.

Liver Shunts: The result of a congenital abnormality, liver shunts causes the blood to bypass the liver rather than flowing through it. This hinders the process of detoxification of the blood in the liver and causes several health problems, including an excessive amount of drooling and salivation in cats.

Toxins: In case your cat comes in contact with certain caustic chemicals and toxins present in common household cleaning products, it might trigger off the excessive drooling.

Certain Medication: Excessive use or intake of flea and tick sprays and other medications can also trigger drooling. Consumption of bad tasting, unpleasant drugs can cause cats to drool profusely. Drugs like Flagyl, Chlortrimeton, and the sulfa antibiotics are known to make cats salivate excessively. Also, if a cat happens to come into contact venom of a toad or a venomous spider, it may drool a lot.

Plants: There are also some household plants like laurel and ceriman that have toxic affects on cats. Trees like philodendrons, poinsettias, dieffenbachia, and even the Christmas trees can also cause almost immediate allergic reactions in your cat.

Rabies: Although it is quite rare, but rabies is perhaps the most famous cause of drooling or foaming at the mouth in cats.

In addition to these, certain disorders of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, an advanced feline kidney disease might also result in drooling. Regular oral checkups by the veterinarian, might prevent the periodontal disease. Regular home maintenance is essential for your cat's health. Brush your cat's teeth every other day using special toothbrushes and toothpaste available with your veterinarian. Oral rinses and special dental diet can prevent the accumulation of tartar and help protect your cat's teeth. Despite these remedies, if you observe persistent drooling in your cat, it is always best to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.
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