Gum Disease in Cats
One of the first signs of periodontitis is an offensive mouth odor. It may
have been present for some time-perhaps even accepted as normal. Another sign
is a change in the cat’s eating habits. Since it hurts to chew, the cat may sit
by her food dish but decline to eat. Weight loss and an ungroomed appearance
are common. Teeth may be loose or even have fallen out.
If you look closely at a cat with periodontitis, you will see tartar
deposits on the premolars, molars, and canines. Pressure against the gums may
cause pus to exude from pockets alongside the teeth. This can be very painful
to the cat, so do not try it at home.
Treatment: The mouth must be thoroughly cleaned and restored to a near
normal condition. This involves removing dental tartar and calculus, draining
pus pockets, extracting any damaged teeth, and polishing the teeth. This must
be done by a veterinarian, because your cat will require general anesthesia for a thorough cleaning. While under
anesthesia, the veterinarian will use a dental probe to see how deep the damage
is to the gums. X-rays will reveal whether the teeth themselves are damaged.
Antibiotic gels may be placed into deep pockets of infection.
Afterward, the cat should be placed on an antibiotic for at least 7 to 10
days. At this time, it is important to begin a good home dental program.
Continuing regular home care is essential to treat periodontitis and to prevent
further degeneration of the teeth.