If your cat's teeth are not cleaned regularly they can develop gum diseases like gingivitis. Our Austin vets provide information on gingivitis in cats, its signs, causes, and treatments.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum which surrounds the teeth. The disease can range from moderate to severe. In extreme cases, cats with gingivitis may have problems eating. 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.
Signs of Gingivitis
The common signs of gingivitis in cats are:
- Bad breath
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all
- Difficulty picking up toys or food
- Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
- Red or swollen gums
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
Diagnosing Gingivitis in Cats
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. Your cat should come in for their annual routine exam which is essential to the detection of dental disease. Vets are often able to identify signs of conditions while observing an animal and checking for symptoms listed above.
Treatment for Gingivitis in Cats
Gingivitis treatment focuses on eliminating accumulated plaque and dental calculus, as well as treating or extracting bad teeth. To deal with dental issues in cats routine tooth cleanings and dental X-rays should be conducted under anesthetic.
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 can show you how to clean your cat's teeth at home.
How to Prevent Dental Issues in Cats
Regular brushing of your cats teeth is recommended. Brushing should be introduced gradually and consistently so that cats become accustomed to it. Cat-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste are available for purchase at pet supply stores.
Establish Familiarity and Positive Feelings With the Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
We suggest leaving snacks near the toothpaste and toothbrush so cats can associate something positive with them. Try placing a dab of toothpaste for them to lick off your finger so they get accustomed to it.
Get Your Cat Accustom to You Touching Their Mouth
Choose a dental treat your cat enjoys and place it on their teeth. This gets them used to you touching their mouth and makes it easier for you to introduce the toothpaste.
Brushing Your Cats Teeth
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. We recommend a reward for them afterward.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.