What is Hypersalivation?
Cats in general are not prone to drooling. Because it is uncommon, getting a veterinary assessment is the best course of action, to determine whether the hypersalivation is harmless or serious. The earlier that a health issue is detected, the more likely it can be successfully treated. Secondary bacterial infections can develop if mouth injuries are left too long. Saliva can also irritate the mouth and, in response, the immune system will cause the body to section the excess saliva off in a cavity. If the drool has a foamy appearance, the situation may prove to be fatal.
A cat may salivate or drool for many different reasons. While drooling is a normal body function, excessive drooling, or hypersalivation, can be cause for concern. Normal drooling is usually accompanied by excitement or pleasure in the cat. Abnormal drooling appears suddenly, and can last for hours. A cat who has overheated may begin to hypersalivate. Certain diseases, injuries, and viruses can also cause a cat to drool excessively.
Symptoms of Hypersalivation in Cats
While most signs of drooling are associated with the mouth, many underlying issues will create multiple symptoms throughout the body. All of these secondary symptoms should be noted, as they can make identifying the health problem easier. Symptoms are as follows:
- Excessive drooling (sometimes lasting for hours)
- Blood in the saliva
- Bad breath
- Inability to eat or drink
- Swelling or masses in the mouth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Labored breathing
Causes of Hypersalivation in Cats
The cause of the excessive drooling may be local to the mouth, or may be a symptom of an internal problem. Sudden onset is often linked with more serious issues. While cats may drool for numerous reasons, the following are the most common.
- Being near appetizing food
- Poisoning (from a variety of sources)
- Medication side effects
- Foreign body stuck in mouth tissue
- Teething (in kittens)
- Injury to the tongue or mouth
- Insect stings
- Gingivitis and other gum disease
- Abscessed tooth
- Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth and lips)
- Acid reflux
- Cancer of the mouth
- Upper respiratory infection
- Liver shunt
- Chronic kidney failure
- Heat stroke
- Viruses (such as feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus or feline herpesvirus)
Diagnosis of Hypersalivation in Cats
When bringing your cat to a veterinarian, be sure to provide the cat’s full medical history to help sort out potential underlying causes of excessive drooling. The veterinarian will perform a complete physical and oral examination. The cat may need to be sedated for the oral examination to be successful. All symptoms will be noted to see how they match with possible health problems. The vet will look for obvious injuries, abscesses, foreign objects, or masses within the mouth.
Full blood work will be run, including a complete blood count to help detect anemia or the presence of cancer, and a biochemical profile to find signs of metabolic disease. Urinalysis can help to assess how well the kidneys are functioning. A bile acid blood test will indicate the function of the liver. Cultures of the urine may identify bacterial infections present in the body. X-rays or ultrasounds may be used to assess organ health or to locate tumors or lesions in the mouth or body. A biopsy may need to be collected from any masses found.
Treatment of Hypersalivation in Cats
The best course of treatment will be based on the underlying issue that has been identified. Treatment is only necessary if a health problem is present.
If your cat has been poisoned, the stomach may need to be emptied either by a pump or by inducing vomiting. Certain medications may be administered to counteract the effects of the poison and activated charcoal may be given to stop toxin absorption in the body.
Dental surgery may be necessary if abscesses have been found. Singular or multiple tooth extraction may also be needed. Any wounds should be cleaned, and antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate infection.
If malignant tumors have been found, surgical removal may be attempted. This is only possible in certain locations of tumor growth. Both radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used to fight cancer on a microscopic level.
Upper Respiratory Infection
Many URIs are the result of viral infections, which have no curative treatment. Supportive care can greatly assist in recovery. This includes intravenous fluid administration, humidifier use, appetite stimulants, and feeding tubes.
Kidney or Liver Issues
These complications may require surgery and/or ongoing care and medication application for the remainder of the cat’s life. Special diets may need to be followed to help alleviate these organ problems.
Foreign Body Presence
To remove a foreign body causing salivation, the cat may need to be sedated. Certain cases may require surgery.
Recovery of Hypersalivation in Cats
If surgery has been part of your cat’s treatment, you will need to follow all at-home care guidelines provided by the veterinarian. This will include monitoring your cat for signs of infection near the incision site. Painkillers, medication or antibiotics may need to be administered daily. Your veterinarian will have you return for follow-up appointments to see how the surgery site is healing and to assess the overall health of the cat.
The prognosis greatly depends on the type of health issue that has been diagnosed. Dental issues generally resolve with surgical repair, cleaning, and a good oral health routine. Recovery from being poisoned greatly depends on how fast the the poisoning was identified and what substance has been consumed. Kidney and liver disease prognoses are guarded, and often require lifelong treatment. Usually, a cat will recover from an upper respiratory infection. If the underlying cause of the infection is a virus, it may stay in the cat’s system permanently. Cancer prognosis depends on how soon it is treated and how aggressive the cancer is. If your cat is diagnosed with rabies, it will have to be euthanized. Vaccines to prevent rabies should be a part of your annual vet visit.
Hypersalivation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My cat has been drooling for a couple days now. It’s dripping like a faucet. I looked inside her mouth. Everything looks normal and no different smell. She’s acting her normal self, chasing the older cat, jumping on counters and table. We have canned fresh clams which she had a couple tiny pieces. Could that be the reason ?
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Woke up to my cat all of a sudden drooling alot. He's still eating and drinking water. He's using that bathroom from what i can tell. He will paying if u use a laser pointer but if not his energy levels have decreased and doesn't play with my other cats which he normally runs around with them.
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My cat is drooling i came home from school today and he was asleep which is unusual and when i picked him up he made a sound like holding him was hurting him (very unusual) and hes drooling. Im taking him to the vet tomorrow but they dont know whats wrong with him and he has attachment issues i had to go away for a week and i had my friend house sit for me and when i came home my cat was way skinier
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