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Gingivitis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Gingivitis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Dental care is one of the main components of care for our furry friends and helps to prevent dental diseases as well as others that can affect their entire bodies. Our vets in Rancho Palos Verdes explain what gingivitis in cats is, the signs to watch out for and how it can be treated.

Gingivitis in Cats

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum or gingiva, which surrounds the teeth. The disease can range from moderate to severe, and in extreme cases, cats with gingivitis may have problems eating and grow very uncomfortable. To remedy the condition, a tooth cleaning under anesthesia would be required. Just like humans, plaque - a buildup of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food - can accumulate on the teeth and contribute to this dental issue.

What Are The Signs of Gingivitis in Cats?

The common signs of gingivitis in cats are:

  • Red or swollen gums, especially around the area of the inner cheek
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty eating or not eating at all
  • Difficulty picking up toys or food
  • Drooling
  • Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
  • Calculi/tartar

What Are The Common Causes of Gingivitis in Cats?

The common causes of gingivitis in cats include:

  • Bad Dental Care
  • Old age
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Soft Food
  • FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
  • Crowded teeth

How Is Gingivitis in Cats Diagnosed?

Since cats are so adept at hiding their pain, they may not show any signs of discomfort even if they are in severe oral pain. Even cats who are eating normally and are active can have significant dental diseases. Bringing your cat in for their annual routine exam is essential to the detection of dental disease, as a vet is often able to identify signs of conditions while observing an animal and checking for symptoms listed above.

Treatment for Cats with Gingivitis

Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting destabilized and/or diseased teeth. To address any inflammatory dental disease, routine tooth cleanings and dental X-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.

For cats suffering from stomatitis to have a comfortable mouth, their teeth are frequently extracted by a veterinarian if it is called for.

The frequency of dental checkups will be determined by the degree of periodontal disease in your cat. If your adult cat's teeth are overcrowded, or if it has baby (deciduous) teeth, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will show you how to clean your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up exams.

How You Can Help Care For Your Cat's Teeth

Cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste are available for purchase at pet supply stores and can help avoid gingivitis. Brushing should be introduced gradually and consistently so that cats become accustomed to it.

Using a toothbrush & toothpaste

Leave snacks on the counter near the toothpaste and toothbrush so cats can associate something positive with them. You can also place a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.

Touch their mouth often

Choose a dental treat your cat enjoys and place it on its canine teeth. As they become accustomed to it, start placing it deeper and deeper into their mouth, on their teeth. This gets them used to you touching their mouth and makes it easier for you to introduce the toothpaste.

Get your cat used to having their teeth brushed

With your cat used to the toothbrush, toothpaste, and you touching their mouth, it should be easier to brush their teeth. Brush along the gum line for about 15 to 30 seconds, only on the outside of the teeth, and reward them with a treat afterward.

Are you concerned about the signs of gingivitis in your cat? Contact our Rancho Palos Verdes vets today for a consultation and possible treatment options.

New Patients Welcome

All Pets Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rancho Palos Verdes companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(310) 547-2784