Stomatitis is a common disease of animals, characterized by chronic inflammation and ulceration of the soft tissues in the mouth. Its exact cause is not yet known. However, veterinarians believe that it can be caused by various factors, mostly by autoimmune reactions.
Stomatitis is generally first visible in the back of the mouth, where the lower jaw meets with the upper jaw. This area is known as fauces. The affected area becomes painful, red, swollen, and ulcerated. Some other common symptoms are anorexia, weight loss, bad breath, difficulty in eating, excessive salivation, reluctance to groom, and bleeding gums.
There are several factors that may lead to feline stomatitis. The most common among them is a combination of hyper-responsiveness, immunosuppression, and microbial infection. Hyper-responsiveness is described as the allergic reaction of the cat's immune system to microbial plaque on their teeth. Such cats are called plaque-intolerant. Hyper-responsiveness involves excessive movement of lymphocytes and plasma cells to the tissues of the mouth, causing inflammation. The part that is most affected by hyper-responsiveness is the spot where the tooth meets the gums. Hyper-responsiveness may also be triggered by certain foods, or fleas.
The appearance of the affected tissues helps a lot in the diagnosis of this condition. The examiner may conduct an oral biopsy to find out whether the lesions are caused by diseases like neoplasia, eosinophilic granuloma complex, etc. If the biopsy reveals a dense infiltration of lymphocytes and plasma cells, further tests are carried out. The vet may conduct FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (feline leukemia virus) tests to collect information about retroviral infections which may lead to oral inflammation. The examiner is most likely to study the data obtained by biochemical profile of the affected cat. The information generally helps clinicians to rule out other oral conditions resembling stomatitis. The examiner may take a full mouth X-ray of the cat. This is done to check the condition of the dental roots and bones. The disease commonly affects the molars and premolars more than the canines and incisors.
The veterinarian is most likely to follow a more or less standard treatment method to cure your cat. The cat will have to fast for up to 4 hours. This is necessary to prepare it for anesthesia. The veterinarian will administer an intravenous combination of antimicrobials or antibiotics, in addition to fluids if the cat is severely dehydrated. The veterinarian may perform scaling and root planing on your cat. The purpose of both these procedures is to clean the mouth―particularly the teeth under the gums. Anesthesia is required to conduct both these procedures.
In case the result obtained by X-rays indicate severe damage of the teeth, the veterinarian may carry out tooth extraction and crown amputations. The latter is a procedure wherein the visible portion of the tooth, termed as the crown, is removed, and the part of the tooth under the gums, called the root, is left behind. The root serves the purpose of a bone graft. This helps reduce the healing time as well as discomfort. The gum typically gets seamed over the root.
A very effective way of treating stomatitis is carbon dioxide laser vaporization of granulomas and other infected areas. This is a procedure which involves induction of rapid change of tissue, bacteria, debris, and water, by carbon dioxide gas. All the mentioned substances are inhaled into a filtration system. During the procedure, the bacterial protective coating gets disrupted. The veterinarian care may also involve regular fluoride application, prescription of antibiotics, and corticosteroids, and administration of vitamin and mineral supplements.
You can accelerate the treatment of stomatitis in cats by following some basic measures. Brush your cat's teeth on a daily basis. Use chlorhexidine-based rinses and toothpastes to get impressive results. Also, use a soft toothbrush, so as to avoid unnecessary tissue injuries and damages. Give him dental care diets. You may ask an expert on cat food to learn about such a diet, as it help maintain a healthy mouth.