Stomatitis is an inflamed, sore
mouth, and should be suspected when you see drooling, refusal to eat,
difficulty chewing, head shaking, pawing at the face, and reluctance to allow a
mouth examination. The inside of the mouth looks reddened, inflamed, swollen,
and tender. The gums may bleed when rubbed. Bad breath is present. Lack of
self-grooming is evident. Cats
may show pain when yawning or opening their mouths to eat.
Cats with any form of stomatitis must be examined by a veterinarian. In some
cases, stomatitis is directly attributable to periodontal disease or a foreign object caught between
the teeth or imbedded in the tongue. Other cases are associated with an immune
deficiency disease such as feline immunodeficiency virus,
feline leukemia, feline viral respiratory disease complex, or
kidney failure. Cases caused by
a specific infection include the following.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats, dogs and humans. This preventable disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii, and annually causes the deaths of more than 50,000 humans and millions of animals worldwide. There’s good reason that the very word “rabies” evokes fear in people-once symptoms appear, rabies is close to 100-percent fatal.
This is an extremely painful stomatitis caused by a bacteria-like pathogen,
a spirochete. There is a characteristic offensive mouth odor, usually
accompanied by a brown, purulent, slimy saliva that stains the front of the
legs. The gums are beefy red and bleed easily. Trench mouth occurs in cats with
severe periodontal disease and in those who are run-down because of chronic
illness or dietary deficiency. Frontal sinus infection can occur as a
complication of trench mouth. Cats with diabetes, feline leukemia virus
infection, or FIV may be predisposed to this disease.
Treatment: Your veterinarian may decide to thoroughly clean the cat’s mouth
under anesthesia. This provides the
opportunity to treat any decayed roots, loose teeth, and dental calculus.
Ulcers may be cauterized with silver nitrate. Infection is treated with an
antibiotic. Afterward, the cat is placed on soft, canned food diluted with
water or plain broth to a liquid consistency. Aftercare involves daily
mouthwashes using 0.1 percent chlorhexidine solution, accompanied by a home
program of good oral hygiene.
Ulcerative (Viral) Stomatitis
This is an extremely painful stomatitis in which ulcers form on the tip of
the tongue and hard palate. The saliva is clear at first, then becomes
blood-tinged and foul smelling. A yellow puslike exudate forms on the surface
of the ulcers. Ulcerative stomatitis is seen most often in association with the
feline respiratory disease complex, especially calicivirus.
Treatment: It is the same as for Necrotizing Ulcerative Stomatitis, except
that antibiotics are not recommended
unless the problem is complicated by a secondary bacterial infection.