Hypersalivation in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Hypersalivation in Cats - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Hypersalivation in Cats - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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. 

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.

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Hypersalivation Average Cost

From 270 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Hypersalivation in Cats

While most signs of drooling are associated with the mouth, many underlying issues will create multiple signs throughout the body. All of these secondary signs should be noted, as they can make identifying the health problem easier. Some signs 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
  • Vomiting
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Labored breathing
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Causes of Hypersalivation in Cats

The cause of the excessive drooling may be local to the mouth, or may be a sign 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.

  • Excitement
  • Nervousness
  • 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
  • Rabies
  • Pseudorabies
  • Cancer of the mouth
  • Nausea
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Liver shunt
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Heat stroke
  • Viruses (such as feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia virus or feline herpesvirus)
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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 signs will be noted to see how they match with possible health problems. The veterinarian will look for obvious injuries, abscesses, foreign objects, or masses within the mouth.

Full blood work will likely be recommended, 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.

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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.

Poisoning 

If your cat has been poisoned, the stomach may need to be emptied, depending on the timing. 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 Issues 

Dental surgery may be necessary if abscesses or cavities are found. Singular or multiple tooth extractions may also be needed. Any wounds should be cleaned, and antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate infection.

Cancer 

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, medications, humidifier use and appetite stimulants.

Kidney or Liver Issues 

These complications may require 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.

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Worried about the cost of Hypersalivation treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

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. Most cats will typically 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 suspected of having rabies, it will need to be quarantined. Vaccines to prevent rabies should be a part of your annual veterinary visit. 

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Hypersalivation Average Cost

From 270 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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Hypersalivation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

Tabby

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Nine Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Drooling

My cat started drooling a couple of days ago. She won’t eat or drink much. Spends most of her time outside or hiding underneath the couch

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, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is okay. If they are still having any problems, 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. 20, 2020

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Domestic short hair cat

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Nine Years

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6 found helpful

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6 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Drooling

My cat has started drooling. It mostly seems to be when she’s happy — coming to sit on me to get pets. But, she has never done this before. She has been on chlorambucil and prednisolone for almost a year, after being diagnosed with small cell lymphoma in her small intestine last August. Her cancer is well managed and at her last oncologist visit, her numbers were good (just 2 weeks ago). I’m tempted to write it off as officially now being a senior cat, or even as being on prednisolone for a year. Do you think that’s reasonable?

Aug. 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Cats will drool sometimes if they are nervous, nauseous, painful, or have dental disease. Sometimes, some cats will also drool if they are really content. If she recently got a checkup and seems to be doing well, and does not have any dental disease or infected teeth, and is not nauseous., this may be something she's doing because she's happy. If you notice any kind of odor from her mouth, or her appetite seems down or less than normal, or she is vomiting, then it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian to make sure that things are okay. Otherwise, this may be something that she is doing because she is feeling good. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 11, 2020

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Hypersalivation Average Cost

From 270 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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