Gingivitis is one of the commonly observed dental diseases in cats, and this condition inflames their gums. Gingivitis in cats is often a result of inadequate oral hygiene and neglected dental care. It is a reversible condition and can be treated with utmost ease.
Gingivitis In Cats – Understanding The Condition
Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease caused by microbial organisms like peptostreptococci, porphyromonas, and actinomyces. Normally, the teeth in both humans and animals fit snugly into the gums. When a cat is affected with gingivitis, rough tartars form over the surface of the teeth and at the interface of the teeth and gums.
Tartars (hard yellowish dental deposits) are generally a mixture of organic and calcium compounds (Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Phosphate). These tartars force the gums to loosen out the teeth at those sites. The separated gums-teeth interfaces form gum-pockets, the sites where foods particles get lodged. Millions of bacteria grow in these areas and form soft colourless plaques, composed of bacteria and food particles.
Tartars are yellowish brown patches that can be pointed out easily. The irregular surfaces of teeth favour the formation of tartars, which are ideal sites for plaque formation.
The Symptoms Of Gingivitis In Cats
The following are the symptoms of gingivitis in cats.
- Red and swollen gums that bleed easily while chewing
- Halitosis or Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling and redness along the teeth and gums
- Tooth decay
- Drooling while chewing
Cats above 2 years of age are susceptible to gingivitis. In very rare cases, younger cats are affected.
The Common Risks Of Gingivitis In Cats
Loss Of Affected Tooth/Teeth
Untreated gingivitis leads to local tissue destruction in the form of:
- Loss of bone
- Spacing between teeth
- Pus formation in ‘gum-pockets’
Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Gingivitis
It is a painful condition under which eating and swallowing becomes difficult.Once serious infection sets in, the bacteria may travel through the blood to distant organs like the kidneys and the heart. Some cats may exhibit severe oral infection that extends up to the back of the throat.The resulting condition is known as ‘Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Gingivitis’ (LPG). The mechanism of LPG is not exactly known, but has been attributed to the body’s extensive reaction to the microbes present along the teeth.
This is a serious complication that may prove to be fatal. It is also known as Feline Distemper, and is caused by the Panleukopenia virus, which destroys white blood cells.Infected cats present with high fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Treatment Of Gingivitis In Cats
Gingivitis treatment principally involves clearing up the existing infection and preventing its further recurrence.
Get A Dental Check-up Done
If the tartar is well settled, the teeth should be thoroughly cleaned by a veterinarian. This is very similar to the dental procedures that you might have gone through. Gingivitis being a painful condition, you can’t expect your cat to sit still during the procedure, so the doctor will mostly administer prior anaesthesia.
Provide The Right Medication
Antimicrobials, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs are generally used to treat gingivitis in cats, and these can be administered orally or through injections.
Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Brushing your cat’s teeth everyday or at least twice or thrice a week is essential, as this helps in maintaining good oral hygiene and prevents the recurrence of the disease.
Tartars can be cleaned up through dental cleaning and polishing, and if ignored, they may redevelop within a week after cleaning. Regular brushing is the key to prevent its recurrence.
To begin with, gently rub your cat’s teeth with your finger. You can use toothpastes and brushes that are specially designed for cats for this disease. Never use brushes and pastes that have been manufactured for general use.
Frame A Special Diet
Use food items that have been specially developed to protect your cat’s oral hygiene, as these will make it easier to reduce plaques and tartars in cats. Run the diet by your veterinarian once and get his approval before you implement it. A well framed diet always helps in managing gingivitis in cats.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure, So…
It is always better to avoid the problem than to worry about a solution or remedy, so ensure that you read up on preventive steps that explain how to stop gingivitis in cats. Brushing the teeth regularly, incorporating adequate measures for oral hygiene, and keeping an eye out for the anticipated risk will definitely serve the purpose.