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Gingivitis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Gingivitis in Cats - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Like humans, cats require consistent dental care for their health. Without it, they can develop a form of feline gingivitis. Here, our Toledo vets discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatment of gingivitis in cats.

What is Gingivitis in Cats

Gingivitis refers to the inflammation of the gums (gingiva) that surround the teeth. It can affect cats to different extents and result in discomfort and pain for your feline companion. To address this condition, a tooth cleaning procedure under anesthesia may be necessary.

Similar to humans, the accumulation of plaque, which consists of germs, debris, dead skin cells, mucus, and food, can contribute to the development of gingivitis in cats.

What Are The Common Symptoms of Gingivitis in Cats?

The common signs of gingivitis in cats are:

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

What Are The 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?

Gingivitis is a common dental problem in cats where the gums become inflamed. It can cause discomfort and pain for your cat. To treat gingivitis, a dental cleaning procedure under anesthesia may be required. Just like in humans, plaque buildup on the teeth can contribute to this condition.

What is the Recommended Treatment for Gingivitis in Cats?

The treatment for gingivitis focuses on removing plaque and tartar buildup while addressing any unstable or diseased teeth with the appropriate treatment. Regular tooth cleanings and dental X-rays are typically performed under anesthesia to help with inflammatory dental conditions.

If your cat is suffering from stomatitis - a more severe form of gum disease - your veterinarian may recommend extracting the affected teeth to alleviate discomfort and restore comfort.

The frequency of dental checkups will depend on the extent of periodontal disease in your cat. In cases of overcrowded teeth or retained baby teeth, tooth extraction may be recommended by your veterinarian. They will provide guidance on how to clean your cat's teeth and schedule follow-up examinations.

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.

Show Them The Toothpaste and Toothbrush

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.

Start Touching Your Cat's 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.

Begin to Brush Your Cat's 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, and reward them with a treat 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.

If you have questions about how to improve your cat's dental health routine, don't hesitate to contact our Toledo vets today!

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Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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