This type of infection and inflammation of the gums is common in cats, and symptoms include damaged teeth, swelling and redness of the gums, bad breath, drooling, presence of tartar on the teeth and pain while eating. While it is common in cats, it can be easily treated if dealt with quickly by a veterinarian and by having the owner ensure their cats’ good dental hygiene at home.
Symptoms of feline gingivitis
Just like with humans, gingivitis appears as swelling of the gums and overall redness of the inside of the mouth. These first symptoms can quickly deteriorate and can become painful for the cat, especially when it is time to eat a meal. This pain at mealtime can cause cats to quickly lose their appetite and can cause noticeable halitosis (bad breath). If no care is given, and if the cats’ dental hygiene is not ensured once the condition has started, gingivitis can lead to gum recession, eventually leading to loose teeth and creating an opening for bacteria to reach internal organs.
Diagnosing feline gingivitis
If you notice that your cat shows signs similar to those mentioned above, bring them quickly to their regular veterinarian for a dental exam, as these professionals can evaluate the level of severity of the condition, treat the condition, and most importantly, relieve your cat of the pain it may be enduring. Other dental conditions can easily occur in cats and only a veterinary professional has the means to properly diagnose them. The medical exam begins by analysing the interior if your cats’ mouth, but may also include additional examinations to more precisely determine the cause of you cats’ dental problems.
Treatment methods for feline gingivitis
Feline gingivitis can be easily treated if caught early, by utilising drug treatments, a dental gel that can be applied daily, and even by using dental-specific food and treats. If your cats’ gingivitis is more advanced and ulcers or infection is present, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed. Once the oral infection is treated, if the cats’ teeth are gravely damaged a professional dental cleaning with potential extractions may be necessary to fully heal your cats’ mouth. A blood test may also be necessary as it may help your veterinarian establish or eliminate the possibility of another illness being the cause of the feline gingivitis. These illnesses include (but are not limited to) renal failure, feline leukemia and feline AIDS, all of which may cause gingivitis as a symptom.
How to ensure your cats’ good dental hygiene
The cause of feline gingivitis is often due to bad dental and oral hygiene. Some cats can quickly become affected by bad dental hygiene due to small quantities of plaque that, little-by-little, transform into tartar. In order to prevent feline gingivitis and the associated risks, good dental hygiene must be practised at home. Owners can do this by regularly brushing their cats’ teeth, and offering them treats and/or toys made specifically to clean teeth. In addition, owners can change their cats’ food to a dental diet, or any food designed specifically for their cats’ individual health concerns, as well as scheduling regular professional dental cleanings (performed by veterinarians) for their cats. Finally, an owner can ensure their cats’ well-being by keeping their cats’ vaccines up to date, as annual boosters and examinations are essential to a cats’ health.