Gingivitis can cause cat pain and requires immediate care. Today, our Seattle veterinarians will discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of gingivitis in cats.
Gingivitis inflames the gum or gingiva surrounding the teeth. This condition can vary in severity and, in severe cases, cause significant discomfort and eating problems in cats. To treat it, a tooth cleaning procedure under anesthesia becomes necessary. Similar to humans, plaque accumulation, which consists of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food on the teeth, contributes to this dental problem.
Causes of Gingivitis in Cats
Some common causes of gingivitis in cats may include:
- Crowded teeth
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Old age
- Soft Food
- Bad Dental Care
Signs of Gingivitis in Cats
Common signs of gingivitis in cats can include:
- Plaque build-up
- Bad breath
- Difficulty picking up toys
- Difficulty eating
- Not eating at all
- Red or swollen gums
Diagnosing Gingivitis in Cats
Cats can adeptly conceal their pain, potentially showing no signs of discomfort even if they have severe oral pain. Despite appearing active and maintaining regular eating habits, your cat might still suffer from dental disease. To ensure early detection of dental problems, scheduling regular vet appointments for your cat is crucial. Vets can often spot signs of conditions and check for the listed symptoms during routine exams.
Feline Gingivitis Treatment
Gingivitis treatment centers on removing accumulated plaque and dental calculus, alongside addressing destabilized and/or diseased teeth. Ensure regular tooth cleanings and dental X-rays are performed under anesthesia to combat inflammatory dental diseases.
If your cat suffers from stomatitis and requires a comfortable mouth, a veterinarian may need to extract their teeth.
The frequency of your cat's dental checkups at the vet will depend on the severity of their periodontal disease. If your adult cat has overcrowded teeth or retains baby (deciduous) teeth, your vet may recommend tooth extraction. Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to brush your cat's teeth, and you should schedule follow-up exams.
Caring for Your Cat's Oral Health
Most pet supply stores sell toothpaste and brushes specially made for cats. These products can effectively prevent gingivitis. Gradually and consistently introduce your cat to toothbrushing to help them become accustomed to it.
Make Your Cat Comfortable With Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Place snacks on the counter near the toothpaste and toothbrush to help cats associate something positive with them. Additionally, apply a small amount of toothpaste to your finger and let them lick it off, helping them become more accustomed to it.
Getting Your Cat Used to You Touching Their Mouth
Select a dental treat that your cat enjoys, and position it directly on their canine teeth. Gradually advance it deeper into their mouth, targeting their teeth. This process familiarizes them with your mouth-handling and simplifies the introduction of toothpaste.
Brush Your Cat's Teeth
After your cat becomes comfortable with you touching their mouth and gets used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, you can make teeth brushing easier. Brush their gum line (only on the outside of their teeth) for about 15 to 30 seconds, and reward them with a treat once you're finished.