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What are Cysts on the Gums?

Cysts or masses in the mouth are a fairly common ailment among cats. In some cases, symptoms may not show in obvious ways, especially if the cat is eating mainly wet food. This can allow the cyst to grow to a dangerously large size before detection. A cyst can contain bony growths or trapped saliva. Cyst development may or may not involve the teeth, however, an unerupted tooth is often the root cause of the issue. These are called “dentigerous” or “follicular” cysts and can lead to the weakening or even fracturing of facial bones. Cats of all ages are susceptible to gum cyst formation.

A cat's gums are made up of soft, vulnerable tissue. Any injury, infection, or dental issue may lead to the development of cysts (hard or soft cavities filled with liquid or other bodily materials). These cysts may or may not be painful, and can grow to the point that both eating and breathing can be negatively impacted. This can lead to anorexia in the affected cat, which can be a life-threatening issue if nutrients are not being ingested to the point of weight loss.

Cysts on the Gums Average Cost

From 483 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Cysts on the Gums in Cats

Outward signs of an existing cyst will vary depending on the cause of its development and the extent that it has grown. If a cyst is discovered, do not wait to see if it will grow. The cyst should be identified by a veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out the presence of cancer or other harmful diseases. Signs to watch for include:

  • Inability to eat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Aversion to food
  • Weight loss
  • Drooling
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Painful mouth movement
  • Mass or lump in the mouth or neck
  • Asymmetry of the face
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Absence of a tooth
  • Bad breath
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Causes of Cysts on the Gums in Cats

Gum disease is generally the cause of gum cyst formation. It is the most common oral problem in cats. While the cause is usually mouth related, other issues in the body can lead to cysts in the gums. Known causes are listed below.

  • Salivary Mucocele
  • Unerupted tooth
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Viral infections such as FIV, FHV, FeLV or feline calicivirus 
  • Tumors
  • Feline stomatitis
  • Trauma to the mouth
  • Inflammatory disorders 
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Diagnosis of Cysts on the Gums in Cats

If you suspect your cat has a cyst in its gums, take it to your veterinarian. You will need to also provide the cat's full medical history to help determine possible causes of gum disease. A physical examination, including an in depth look at the oral cavity, will be performed. Sedation may be necessary for a proper evaluation, as a cat in pain may not allow fingers or tools in its mouth. The vet will palpate the mouth and neck for masses. 

The cyst will need to be differentiated from cancerous tumors of the mouth. A deep tissue biopsy may be taken for a histopathological examination to determine the composition of the growth. If it is obvious that the mass is filled with fluid, the fluid may be removed with a syringe for further testing. Dental x-rays can show any unerupted teeth or tooth fragments in the gum line. A CT scan may be needed to see the cyst three-dimensionally to see if surgery is possible, and if so how to perform it. Full blood work including a complete blood count and a biochemical profile should be performed to assess overall body health and to determine liver and kidney function. A sample may be taken for a culture test to confirm the presence of bacteria. Feline viruses should be tested for.

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Treatment of Cysts on the Gums in Cats

The best treatment for gum cysts and their associated symptoms will depend on both the location of the cyst and its underlying cause. Primary health issues may need additional and possibly extensive treatment.

Surgical Removal 

Often, the best treatment for a gum cyst is to fully remove it via a surgical procedure. It is imperative that the cyst be completely removed to ensure that it does not redevelop. General anesthesia is required for a cyst excision surgery. 

Tooth Extraction 

In many cases in which gum cysts are present, a tooth or multiple teeth may be broken or diseased. In these instances, the tooth should also be completely extracted to remove all decaying matter in the mouth.

Antibiotics 

If any bacterial infection has been identified, a corresponding antibiotic will be prescribed to rid the body of all harmful bacteria. Antibiotics may also be prescribed post-surgery to prevent infection from developing.

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Recovery of Cysts on the Gums in Cats

If your cat has undergone oral surgery, follow all at-home care instructions closely to promote the healing process. Monitor the incision site daily to ensure that it is clean, free of food bits and that no signs of infection are present. Your cat may need soft or wet foods while its mouth heals from surgery. Administer all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian. If the incision heals correctly and the cyst has been completely removed, prognosis is excellent and cyst reformation is unlikely.

Making sure that your cat has a good dental hygiene routine is an excellent way to prevent gum cysts and other forms of oral disease. Brushing your cat's teeth a minimum of once a week should be enough to keep it free of plaque build up. An examination of the oral cavity should be performed as a part of the cat's annual veterinary visit. Depending on the underlying cause of the cyst development, regular check ups may be needed, with repeated x-rays to evaluate the healing of the mouth. 

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Cysts on the Gums Average Cost

From 483 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,000

Average Cost

$800

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Cysts on the Gums Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Domestic long haired cat

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bump On Gums

There is a bump on her gums by her fang tooth

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. The bump that you are describing may be normal tissue growth, or an infection in the tooth, or an epulis. Without seeing it, it is difficult to say, and having her seen by a veterinarian if it is not getting better would be a good idea. They will be able to examine her and let you know if there is anything to worry about.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Persian

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

My cat has small lump on her front-side gum. It came to notice after i saw.her drooling while she was eating her food. Also, noticed some very little blood on her stool.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Since she is drooling, and you noticed this lump, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

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Black cat

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Cysts

my cat has a cyst or bubble under his tongue on the right side of his mouth its huge. Had no idea until today. What is it? He has no teeth due to having gum disease he got from momma cat had all of his teeth pulled a year ago. Does not seem to be in pain. Help

Aug. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. That looks like he may have an infection, or a salivary gland problem. It is good that you have an appointment with your veterinarian tomorrow, as they will be able to look at it and see what might be going on, and they will be able to give you a better idea as to what treatment might be needed. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 29, 2020

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Tabby

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Gum

My cat Merv appears happy and in no pain, however his gums appear swollen. He eats, but very little and for a short amount of time (although he is naturally thin and not much of a foodie). He still grooms himself and his brother AND doesn’t seemed bothered when my bf or I tough his mouth. Any suggestions of what it could be? I have pictures!

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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Hi there, thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that your cat is having swelling of his gums! Without examining him, it is very difficult to know what might be going on. This platform is not set up for pictures, but you could use the Wag! vet chat feature to send photos and live chat with a vet. It sounds like your cat definitely needs to be examined by his veterinarian. Swollen gums often indicate several dental disease, or could indicate a mass in the mouth. Your veterinarian may recommend a dental procedure to make sure there is no infection under the gums. The fact that he isn't eating much makes me concerned that it might hurt when he chews. Best of luck! I hope that he starts feeling better soon!

July 11, 2020

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Hershey

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DOMESTIC

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8 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Can'T Eat Properly But Is Hungry

Hi! My kitten had a lump on the left side onbher mouth. We thought it'd disappear since my other cat had one and it disappeared for him but then later on my kitten's overall smell just smelled like a dead rot and then I just found out that her lump just popped. She hasn't been eating for days but we've been giving her milk and antibiotics for her respiratory infection. What should we do?

Sept. 14, 2018

Hershey's Owner

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Kitty

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Persian

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bad Breath
Difficulty Eating
Discomfort

Regular shaped mass in Kitty's mouth. Looks like it is either attached to the inside cheek or on a tooth gum in the back left side of her mouth. Two days back we went to the vet and it looked more granular and reddish. After 2 days of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by the doctor, the mass (which was granular) seem to have changed into a very regular elongated shape (one big with 2 smaller ones attached to the big one, all three having clearly defined shape). Her general well being did not change, except for: difficulty eating (but no weight loss), bad smelling breath (this is not new) and rubbing her left cheek from time to time and meowing. She eats normally, has clear eyes, her coat looks excellent, clean years, cold wet nose.

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Bruno

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Domestic chort hair

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5 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lump
Bad Breath
Inflamation
Red Gums

About a week ago my fiancé said my cat had a lump in his mouth and wanted to show me but my playful boy didn’t want fingers prying his mouth open so I said “don’t worry it’s probably a bump from playing” well today he brought it up again so I turned my flashlight on and looked in his mouth and there is a huge round lump that almost looks like a piece of bubble gum in between his gum and gum line/ teeth, ever since we rescued him I have noticed he has terrible breath, I don’t know if this is relevant but he breaths very heavy when laying around or sleeping and I noticed redness and inflammation on his gums where his teeth are, no matter what he is going to the vet because he needs fixed and shots due to his previous abusive and neglectful owners. He also eats very well, maybe over eats which I worry is worms? He is very hyper, happy and loving. He also needs help with fleas!

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Elvis

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mixed

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Growth

My 12 year old cat had a cyst on his outer lip that was removed 9 months ago. (He had no issue eating or no discharge). The vet told me that it was benign and may grow back. I just noticed it is coming back in the exact same spot. Should I assume it is the same thing or put him through surgery again?

Cysts on the Gums Average Cost

From 483 quotes ranging from $500 - $1,000

Average Cost

$800

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