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What is Gum Disease?

The inflammation caused by the bacteria does more than cause the teeth and gums to separate. The related infection can cause damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. The infection occurs when the bacteria flows through the blood and spreads throughout the body. It is vital to treat the gum disease before it leads to other health problems for your furry friend.

Periodontal disease is a gum disease that is common among cats. When plaque formed from saliva and bacteria inside the mouth is left untreated, it turns into a yellow layer known as tartar. The bacteria releases toxins below the gum line, that causes an inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. The gums start to weaken and cannot support the teeth. If left untreated, this condition will cause a separation of the teeth and gums. The condition cannot be reversed once the teeth separate from the gums, and the separation results in loss of teeth.

Gum Disease Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,200

Average Cost

$850

Symptoms of Gum Disease in Cats

It is vital to contact your veterinarian the minute you notice any signs of gum disease so you can take your cat to the veterinarian before the problem becomes worse. Your cat may display the following symptoms in the early or late stages of gum disease:

  • Foul breath
  • Nasal discharge
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pawing at mouth
  • Swelling of face
  • Redness on gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Yellow on teeth
  • Pus near teeth
  • Loss of teeth

Types

There are four stages of gum disease, and the cases range from mild to severe:

  • Stage 1:

    Shows the signs of gingivitis, such as tartar, swelling and red gums. The tooth and gum do not separate.

  • Stage 2:

    The gums are swollen and painful, and tooth crowns are becoming weak.

  • Stage 3:

    Plaque has accumulated under the gum line, and it is now affecting the tooth or teeth. The teeth and gums are starting to separate.

  • Stage 4:

    The tartar has accumulated and caused the gums to recede. The roots are exposed and the teeth must be extracted.

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Causes of Gum Disease in Cats

The main cause of gum disease in cats is inadequate oral hygiene. Cats cannot brush and floss their own teeth to remove plaque and tartar. 

Food, bacteria, and saliva create plaque inside a cat’s mouth, which builds up under the gum line and turns into tartar. This condition eventually causes a separation of the teeth and gums. What starts as gingivitis can turn into severe periodontal disease if you do not take care of the teeth.

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Diagnosis of Gum Disease in Cats

The symptoms of gum disease are a sign that you need to take your cat to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose and evaluate the severity of the gum disease. 

Your veterinarian will give your cat an examination of the mouth to confirm the gum disease. The examination includes looking for clinical signs, such as bad breath, red or bleeding gums and accumulated tartar. 

Your cat will need to go under anesthesia so your veterinarian can determine the severity of the disease. The disease is usually found below the gum line, and your veterinarian needs to check this area without upsetting your cat. Your veterinarian will use a dental probe to check the attachment around each tooth. Expect your veterinarian to order dental x-rays to evaluate the bone loss, gum line and other dental problems.

Taking your cat to the veterinarian during the early stages of gum disease can save their teeth and gums from separation.

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Treatment of Gum Disease in Cats

The treatment depends on the severity of the gum disease, and it can range from preventive care to extraction.

Treatment for Early Stages

You can prevent the disease from progressing if it is still in the early stages. The first step of preventive care is brushing the cat’s teeth with a toothpaste designed for cats. Your veterinarian will also order a prescription fluoride and professional cleaning for your furry friend.

Treatment for Stages Two and Three

It is necessary to clean the space between the teeth and gums when the disease hits the middle stages. It helps to remove the tartar and reverse the damage caused by the bacteria. Your veterinarian may also apply an antibiotic gel to help regenerate the tissues.

Treatment for Advanced Stages

It is difficult to reverse the damage once the disease reaches the advanced stage. However, procedures such as a deep cleaning, root canal and bone replacement may prevent further damage. There is a chance your cat will have to undergo surgery so your veterinarian can reach the gum line and roots. 

Tooth Extraction

Your cat may need to have the tooth extracted if it is loose, broken or dying. The extraction makes it possible to slow down or reverse the damage from the gum disease.

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Recovery of Gum Disease in Cats

You should always schedule a follow-up appointment once the gum disease has been treated. Your veterinarian will make sure your pet is healing and the disease has not progressed.

You may need to switch to soft and wet food if any teeth were extracted. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an antibiotic while your cat is recovering.

Diagnosing and treating gum disease in the early stage is the best way to prevent it from progressing. Failure to treat the disease early can lead to discomfort, pain and missing teeth for your cat.

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Gum Disease Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,200

Average Cost

$850

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Gum Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Little girl

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

17 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Seem A Little Uncomfortable

Older female cat lost tooth last year now she's having problems with another otherwise healthy eats well drinks water kkkklllkllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

Sept. 23, 2018

Little girl's Owner

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Lian

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Siamese

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling
Bad Breath
Lack Of Appetite
Difficulty Chewing Food

Do cats die from a dental problem? Mine has one and we don't have vets nearby. He's drooling and lost appetite. He also has bad breath, We brush his teeth every other day.

July 17, 2018

Lian's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Cat’s don’t die directly due to a dental issue but starvation through loss of appetite because of dental pain, septicemia from dental infections etc… may result in death over time. If there are some dental issues, you should travel regardless of distance to visit a Veterinarian for an examination and treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 18, 2018

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Coconut

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Female cat

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Black Circle On Her Gum

My female cat, 4 yrs old, Coconut has a black spot on her gums inside her mouth on the outside part/next to side of mouth - (not the tongue side). I adopted her from Larimer Humane Society, Loveland, CO in February 11, 2018. Her background: Larimer Humane Society received her into the clinic on January 26, 2018, on their report the vet exam noticed that she was drooling (but eating well) and had several small lesions/had an ulcer on her tongue. They suspected calici virus causing mouth lesions and foul odor was secondary bacterial infection. They used clavamox and meloxicam. After 3 days no drooling and was eating great. No developing URI signs. When I adopted her, she was still slightly drooling, but they said that was OK, just left over from numbing her tongue with medicine left over from the ulcer treatment. They said she was fine to go ahead and adopt her. I took her to Blue Sky Animal Clinic /Vet for a checkup on Feb. 15, 2018 and they said she was fine. This morning, July 8, she was lying on her back as I was petting her, and slightly had her mouth open. To my horror, there is a circle of black on her gum under her side teeth. She has been eating fine and drinking water fine, no difference in her sweet attitude, and doesn't seem sensitive to touch when I pet her, but what the heck is going on? Is this the recurring calici virus (that I have no idea what that means - please explain this to me) is this gingivitis? Is taking her to the vet the only option? Or can I just get medicine for her? I don't have much money to spare but I will call Blue Sky Animal Clinic on Monday morning and get an appointment for treatment.Can you give me an estimate of the cost involved of a vet exam and process of treatment? Thank you immensely! I love her! I want her to be well! Barbara Johns-Schleicher joy2baj@gmail.com

July 8, 2018

Coconut's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Coconut it is difficult to confirm exactly what is occurring, it may be lentigo which is a flat, black, painless, nothing to worry about spot (a Veterinarian should check whether it is lentigo or not); however other issues like melanoma (among others) may also cause black spots but they tend to be raised and painful. Recurring calicivirus just means recurring flare ups of infection during the cats lifetime, whilst ulceration of the gums may occur with calicivirus it doesn’t cause black spots on gums. Blue Sky Animal Clinic doesn’t post their prices online and pricing does vary, but a typical consultation would run between $40-$90 in general for practices. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 8, 2018

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Audi

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Cat

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11 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Seizures
Drooling
Dental

Indoor cat, male, around 11 years old. Went in to vets with extreme drooling for a gingivitus diagnosis. Given pain medication and scheduled dental work. Same night cat has a small seizure (less than 1 minute, inc run in circles, few seconds of shakes / hyperventalating, then yowling, then fine). Vets do blood work and it came back with high liver enzymes. Given diazepan for if it gets worse, with idea to still go ahead with dental. Had a seizure last night, not long enough for tranquiliser. Today his mouth has swelled on one side enough that his teeth have cut through his lips. Seems fine in himself, still eating food (and stealing the other cats crunchy food), though is a little clingy. Planning to sort out referal to have a MRI tomorrow when vets reopens. Would like possible second opinion what it could be. Brain related, teeth, infection, etc? Thank you

May 13, 2018

Audi's Owner

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0 Recommendations

You didn’t mention how high the liver enzymes are, if they are moderately elevated then anaesthesia shouldn’t be an issue but if they are very high then this should be managed before considering any anaesthesia; also it should be noted that liver function may have an effect on the brain which I am sure your Veterinarian has considered. For the high liver enzymes, speak with your Veterinarian about giving Denamarin (silybin and SAMe) which normally helps. There are various different causes for seizures which may include neurological conditions (obviously), liver disease, kidney disease, head trauma, poisoning among other causes; an MRI is expensive and may be unrewarding, discuss with your Veterinarian your options during your next visit to see what they feel is best based on Audi’s symptoms and general condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 14, 2018

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lulu

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American Shorthair

dog-age-icon

17 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Dried Blood In Gums

Hi my cat is 17 years old and she's not eating food, and she stopped drinking water has'nt drank that much today, has'nt gone poop since 12/31/17 and i think she is having pain in her gums because of her teeth

Jan. 4, 2018

lulu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. It is quite common for older cats to have periodontal and dental disease. It can affect their life and be quite painful if not treated. It would be best to have her examined by your veterinarian to make sure that that is the problem and that nothing else is going on. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action for her, given her age and health status. I hope that she does well.

Jan. 4, 2018

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Blinkue

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Siamese

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Can'T Eat
Bad Breath, Loss Of Appetite
Thick Saliva

My cat is not eating for five days now although he wanted to eat but it seems that his tooth aches. But I am bottle feeding him with water and sometimes milk. I am so worried :(

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Kaluha

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blue point birman

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

My cat has a loss of appetite and is having mood swings. She is also growling when anyone touches her face (close to her mouth area). We bought a kitten in January this year and I'm wondering if a big change like that has caused anything to disrupt her in any way?

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Penelope

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

Four Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Stomatitis

I recently took my 4 year old cat to a new vet, who was highly recommended, he diagnosed her with Feline Stomatitis. What I understand of this issue is cats are in extreme pain, they drool, cannot eat or clean themselves. None of which our cat is experiencing. Our previous vet never diagnosed our cat with gum issues let alone something as severe as stomatitis. Our current vet would like us to bring our cat back for a cleaning and possibly an extraction of the majority of her teeth. It seems pretty extreme for a cat who acts normal, eats, cleans and interacts playfully with our other cats. Would you recommend getting a second opinion?

dog-name-icon

Sage

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gum Inflamation

I adopted a 9-year-old cat about 1.5 months ago. Her owner had just taken her for vaccines a few weeks prior (end of 2018) and said she was healthy, other than the fact that she had gum disease and 12 teeth removed a year prior. I took her for a check up anyway and the vet said she had advanced stage gum disease, as evidenced by red and inflamed gums. They put her on antibiotics and steroids for two weeks and when I went back for follow up, the vet said she would need a dental x ray and to have her teeth extracted regardless of what we found. I'm a little skeptical since the cat has been behaving normally and eating fine, and only has 4 teeth left (canines), none of which are in the region of inflammation near the back of the mouth. I don't want to have her teeth removed if it's not necessary or won't address the problem. Can anyone advise? Of note, she has not been experiencing any of the other symptoms listed above such as drooling, bad breath, receding gums, or bleeding gums. Also notable, she tested negative for FIV/FELV a few years ago and has not been outdoors or in contact with other cats since then.

dog-name-icon

Rigby

dog-breed-icon

Rag doll

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Gums
Stinky Breath
Pawing And Yowling At Mouth

Eats regularly plays with toys but when he eats or opens his mouth to bite down on toy or when you pet him on his lower jaw line or even yawns hell yowl and paw at his mouth for a few seconds,it doesnt happen all the but it does happen here and there possibly 3 times a week i try to look at his mouth and possibly into his mouth but im to afraid ill hurt him or cause him to freak out and paw at his mouth he doesnt have his cute little meows anymore they sound all raspy like hes.been smoking

Gum Disease Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $400 - $1,200

Average Cost

$850

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