What is Excessive Production of Saliva?
The causes of drooling are many, so when you notice a sudden change such as excess drooling, getting a proper diagnosis is essential. It’s best to take your pet to the veterinarian so he or she can conduct a proper investigation to discover the cause and give you an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.
The salivary glands constantly produce and secrete saliva, but when there is an excessive amount, especially when your cat suddenly starts drooling, it may be a sign of a serious problem. Excessive saliva can indicate an infection, injury, inflammatory disorder or tumor in the mouth of the cat.
Symptoms of Excessive Production of Saliva in Cats
Excess drooling is an important symptom by itself and is often not accompanied by other symptoms. In some cases, it can go together with behavioral or physical changes, such as:
- Low or no appetite
- Bad breath,
- Difficulty swallowing
- Approaching but then avoiding food
Causes of Excessive Production of Saliva in Cats
Most reasons for excessive saliva secretion are non-threatening and short lived. However, there are many reasons for your cat’s excessive drooling, and even though many are simple, non-serious causes, some reasons could indicate a serious disease. For your peace of mind, err on the side of caution and take your pet to see your veterinarian. The causes of excess drooling in cats can include:
- Exposure to toxic pesticides and insecticides or poisonous plants
- Reaction to medications
- A piece of a stick or bone stuck in the mouth
- Rabies, heat stroke or oral cancer
- Inadequate oral health and gum disease
- Pain and swelling in the mouth
- Wounds caused by self-trauma
Diseases of the mouth that are not very common, but can cause drooling, include:
- Salivary Fistula: Caused by trauma to the sublingual salivary glands as a result of a serious injury such as a bite.
- Feline Stomatitis: A severe painful inflammation of the gum and upper throat. Caused by oral infections and some viruses and most often seen in adult cats.
- Tumors in the Salivary Gland: Tumors are rare in young cats but can develop in cats over 10 years old.
- Sialadenitis: Inflammation of the saliva glands caused by systemic infection. In such cases, symptoms also include swollen glands, fever, depression and pain.
Diagnosis of Excessive Production of Saliva in Cats
Excessive production of saliva can be a symptom of a larger, more serious health issue, so your veterinarian will want to analyze every detail of your pet’s physical condition as well as understand behavioral changes. Your veterinarian will want to know the complete history of your cat’s health, including:
- Vaccination status
- Current medications
- Possible exposure to poisons
Your veterinarian will ask you to remember all the details you can of how and when the drooling started and any other unusual symptoms or signs you thought were surprising for your pet.
The doctor will then conduct a thorough oral exam and continue with a full physical and neurological examination of your cat. The doctor may recommend an ultrasound or x-ray to eliminate the possibility of liver and kidney disease and any issue with other organs.
Examining the blood lets the veterinarian have a clear idea of the cat’s overall health and allow him or her to quickly pick up signs of dehydration and infection. Medical tests the veterinarian may conduct include:
- A complete blood count (CBC)
- A biochemical profile
- Urine analysis
If the veterinarian suspects the cause is related to the immune system, he or she will also conduct a biopsy of cells and tissues.
Treatment of Excessive Production of Saliva in Cats
Treatment for excessive drooling depends on the cause. Some common causes and their treatments include:
- Poisoning: Pumping the stomach, administering activated charcoal and sometimes induced vomiting
- Poor oral hygiene: Dental cleaning, pulling out a tooth and antibiotics in cases of infection
- Tumor: In cases of a tumor, surgical removal of the tumor is necessary
- Respiratory infections: Antibiotics
- Heat stroke: reducing body temperature, administering electrolytes and providing supportive care
Recovery of Excessive Production of Saliva in Cats
Depending on the cause and the subsequent treatment, the recovery and management process will differ. If the cause is a serious disease, you’ll have to have regular checkups as your doctor will want to continue to monitor blood, urine, internal organs and any details specific to the cause.
You’ll need to discuss feeding, environment, or activity changes required after treatment with your veterinarian. Each cat’s needs will vary, and to ensure your pet is on the right track for a complete recovery, you should follow the recovery plan your doctor provides. It’s important to stay in regular communication with your veterinarian so you can inform him or her of any new developments as quickly as possible.