What is Bad Breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) is only a real problem if it becomes chronic or is severe. Of course, your cat’s breath is most likely to smell like the food that it just ate. Some experts suggest that soft or canned foods might lead to worse breath; dry food can cleanse your cat's teeth. The following might signify internal problems - ammonia, citrus or sickeningly sweet feline breath.
Feline halitosis (bad breath in cats) could be caused by food, infections or something more serious, like diabetes or liver cancer. Chronic cat's bad breath could be due to a serious internal disease.
Symptoms of Bad Breath in Cats
Your family pet might like to rub noses with you or the kids, giving you a great chance to get a whiff of its breath. When a foul-smelling odor startles you, then your cat might have a significant problem. Here are the symptoms that may accompany bad breath in cats:
- Appetite loss
- Bleeding gums
- Excessive urination
- Mouth dysfunction
- Oral cavity lump
- Pawing mouth
- Poor coat condition
- Putrid odor
- Weight Loss
- Yellow, red or runny eyes
Of course, the difficulty with bad breath is that it also might be a symptom of other maladies. Is your cat more aggressive, irritable or reclusive with its bad breath? Does your cat start to eat, then jump back? This could be due to a painful tooth infection.
Swelling could occur in the gums, mouth or stomach. Does your cat have difficulties opening or closing its mouth? Mouth dysfunction could be a sign of a more serious ailment.
Causes of Bad Breath in Cats
Kitty halitosis can be caused by something as simple as smelly food or something as complicated as liver cancer. It could be a tiny obstruction, like food, a thread or a pebble. Bloody gums could be caused by an electrical cord injury.
Plaque or tartar can lead to viral, bacterial or fungal buildup. Tiny polyps, infections or an abscess might develop. Gastric acid reflux also stinks.
Your baby cat might be teething. Normally, cats have baby teeth fall out between 3 and 6 months.
Somewhat minor ailments causing bad breath could include endocarditis (inner heart tissue layer infection), esophageal tube enlargement, gingivitis, pharyngitis (inflammation of throat), rhinitis, sepsis (bacterial colonization of blood), sinusitis, stomatitis and tonsillitis (inflammation of tonsils). Coprophagia (eating of feces) could also be the cause.
Serious maladies leading to bad breath could include the following: Bartonella henselae, diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes), gastrointestinal, immunodeficiency virus renal failure, kidney, liver, neurological, periodontal, respiratory or skin diseases.
Diagnosis of Bad Breath in Cats
Veterinarians will conduct blood, biochemical or urinalysis diagnosis tests to determine the cause. These might include more specific FeLV or FIV tests. Ultrasound and X-rays display your cat's internal bone structure.
The veterinarian is likely to complete a physical examination of your cat's tongue, lips, gums, roof and back of the mouth. The vet might need to sedate your pet. The dental vet will also exam tooth mobility and sulfide concentrations, while your cat is under a local anesthetic.
Treatment of Bad Breath in Cats
Vets will search for any obstructions, injuries or infections. While you might want to simply give your cat human toothpaste, this is not advisable, because this is not meant to be swallowed. Also, cats don't like to have their mouths pried open forcibly.
Semi-annual professional cleansing, and polishing of your cat's teeth, gums, and mouth, is advised. Veterinarians might offer same-day blood work and general anesthetic tooth cleaning for removal of tartar, plaque, and abscesses. If severe oral disease is at fault, then tooth extraction may be necessary.
Corticosteroids and other antibiotics are used to treat stomatitis. Cancer treatment would require surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Recovery of Bad Breath in Cats
Of course, the recovery time for your cat will vary dramatically depending on the cause. If the feline halitosis is only due to something stuck under the gums, then your cat should enjoy a full and immediate recovery. On the other hand, liver cancer and others serious diseases could be life-threatening.
After a complete professional dental cleaning, your cat may be required to stay in the hospital for recuperation. Multiple tooth extractions could require the addition of fluids, pain medications, and oral antibiotics. The veterinarian will discuss what the owner can do to prevent the cat halitosis from recurring.