Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or stomatitis (inflammation of the oral mucous membranes) is commonly referred to as feline gingivostomatitis or lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivitis stomatitis (LPGS). Severe inflammation is seen at the tooth and gum line junction, and can even affect the throat and tongue of an afflicted cat. This disease can affect cats of any age, and certain breeds are predisposed to it (Siamese, Abyssinian, Persian, Himalayan, Burmese and Somali).
Feline stomatitis is most likely of multifactorial etiology, although the primary thought it is an inflammatory condition, a hypersensitivity reaction to the presence of plaque and bacteria, referred to as “plaque intolerance”. It is also speculated that certain viral or bacterial infections such as calicivirus, herpesvirus and Bartonella henselae can play a role. In addition, it is estimated that 15% of cats that are immuno-suppressed due to viral infections, including feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), or both, are diagnosed with feline stomatitis.
Stomatitis can cause severe pain, and symptoms include hypersalivation, difficulty eating, weight loss, halitosis, and in severe cases, bleeding of the gums. Behavioral changes include depression, aggression, irritability, decreased grooming, and pawing at the face or mouth.
The inflammation that accompanies feline stomatitis is usually treated with oral or injectable steroids; antibiotics are added to treat bacterial overgrowth. Extreme surgical intervention can include the extraction of all “cheek teeth”, sometimes even involving the canines and incisors. Along with surgery, many animals still require regular doses of anti-inflammatory medication and potent immuno-suppressive drug therapy (cyclosporine) to keep the disease at bay.
Early identification, management and being proactive with daily dental home care are extremely important in keeping this disease under control. Feline stomatitis can be managed with Oratene Veterinarian Antiseptic Oral Gel, a “brushless” dental hygiene product for both dogs and cats of any age. It contains natural antibacterial enzymes that inhibit harmful odor-causing bacteria and help remove plaque biofilm. Its gentle formulation relieves, soothes, and protects mouth tissues against dryness, irritation, inflammation and redness.
The patented LP3 Enzyme System present in this formula is shown to be antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, and aids in the management of stomatitis, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. One component of Oratene Veterinarian Antiseptic Oral Gel is lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein with immunomodulation capabilities that can help reduce the excessive response of the immune system associated with inflammation of the mouth. This product doesn’t contain alcohol, antibiotics, xylitol or chlorhexidine.
Utilizing the Oratene Veterinarian Antiseptic Oral Gel on a daily basis may help control the inflammation and pain associated with feline stomatitis and may help prevent the need for early surgical tooth extraction.
Dr. Naomi Kirby is the Technical Services Manager at PKB Animal Health (pkbanimalhealth.com). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.