What is Inflammation of the Mouth?
Chronic ulcerative paradental stomatitis (CUPS), also known as gingivostomatitis, and oral ulceration are both severe, painful oral diseases that affect cats. The conditions cause the development of inflammation and painful ulcers on the cat's lips, tongue, back of the throat and gums. The condition occurs when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to the oral plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Though poor dental hygiene can cause the condition to occur, it can occur after a routine dental cleaning that loosens the plaque and bacteria from the teeth.
The condition may evolve into lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis (LPS), which causes inflammation of the cat's entire mouth. Himalayans, Somalis and Persians are more likely to develop inflammation of the mouth than other breeds of cats.
Stomatitis, or inflammation of the tissues of the mouth, can be caused or influenced by a number of diseases, infections, and injuries and creates a painful condition for cats.
Symptoms of Inflammation of the Mouth in Cats
Symptoms may be mild at first before progressing to a more severe form. These symptoms include:
- Frequent drooling with or without blood
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Red gums
- Swollen gums (gingivitis)
- Inflammation of the fauces in the back of the mouth (faucitis)
- Inflammation of the back of the throat (pharyngitis)
- Ulcers in the inner cheeks (buccal/buccitis mucosal ulceration)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swallowing difficulties
- Thick saliva
- Plaque on teeth
- Exposed necrotic bone
- Tongue scarring
- Unkempt coat due to lack of grooming
- Pawing at face or mouth
Causes of Inflammation of the Mouth in Cats
There are a variety of diseases, viruses, and conditions that trigger the strong immune response that causes the mouth inflammation to occur. These causes include:
- Uremic syndrome due to advanced kidney disease
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma
- Lack of food resulting in protein-calorie malnutrition
- Deficiency of riboflavin
- Feline leukemia virus
- Feline immunodeficiency virus
- Periodontal disease
- Herpes virus
- Consuming chemicals, acids or thallium
- Wood or bone fragments in mouth
- Electric cord shock
- Foreign body
Diagnosis of Inflammation of the Mouth in Cats
Diagnosing a cat with stomatitis can be difficult due to the pain the cat is experiencing. It's important to take the cat to a veterinarian if any symptoms of CUPS or LPS are present. The veterinarian will ask for the cat's health history, when symptoms first began and a detailed list of all symptoms. If the cat had any accidents, illnesses or injuries that could have caused the inflammation to occur, it's important to include these in the health history.
The veterinarian will physically examine the cat, carefully examining its mouth and noting any dental problems, such as plaque, that are present. The veterinarian will run several tests, which will include a complete blood count, a biochemical profile, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. These tests will help the veterinarian determine the cause of the inflammation. X-rays of the mouth will also be performed. An X-ray can show if any bone involvement is present that can complicate treatment and healing. A small sample of tissue may be removed from the cat's mouth and sent to an outside lab for analysis.
Treatment of Inflammation of the Mouth in Cats
Nutritional and Fluid Therapy
Because the ulcers often prevent cats from eating normally, the cat may need to be hospitalized in order to receive intravenous fluid therapy and nutritional therapy through a feeding tube. These will continue until the ulcerations have healed and the cat is able to eat and drink on its own.
Corticosteroids will be prescribed to the cat in order to reduce inflammation and reduce the immune system's reaction. Painkillers will also be given to the cat in order to decrease pain levels. Antibiotics and antimicrobials may be prescribed if an underlying infection is causing the inflammation to occur.
If the death of bone tissue has occurred, the necrotic bone will need to be removed with surgery. The cat will be placed under general anesthesia during surgery and will be prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics to prevent infection from occurring. Because the surface of the teeth provides a surface for bacteria to attach, the veterinarian may recommend that cats with chronic ulcerations have their teeth removed to reduce the immune system's response to the bacteria.
Recovery of Inflammation of the Mouth in Cats
The prognosis of cats with CUPS and oral ulceration is guarded as recovery will depend on the successful treatment of the primary condition. The cat will need to follow up with the veterinarian on a regular basis in order to check on recovery and responsiveness to treatment. Cats who have had surgery will need to be on a soft food diet. Preventative treatment will need to occur twice a day in order to prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth and causing the ulcers to form again. Cats will need to have their teeth cleaned regularly by the dentist in addition to at-home care.
Inflammation of the Mouth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My cat went to vet in Aug 2017 for dental cleaning and the vet removed five teeth. Sinc that time he paws and tears at his mouth with one paw, soemtimes two paws and then loses his balance . The vet has been giving him one steroid shot every three months but it is no longer having a
an effect past two weeks. He has lost several pounds and is obviously in distress. It is very upsetting t see him suffer. What other options do I have. Nine have been offered.
Add a comment to Huey's experience
Was this experience helpful?
My 4 month old Kitten recently presented with redness then pronounced swelling in the corner of his lips, left side, he is not off food or water and still playing and seems ok but to touch the area is sensitive, He and his brother fight often and I believe its a claw injury, I do clip nails often but this was just before a clip. I am just worried about it, anything I can do to help? oh I feed raw and use Royal canin kitten as dry
Add a comment to Caspian's experience
Was this experience helpful?
My cat started not eating 2 days ago , he first vomited his recent lunch then he slept for the rest of the day , the next day he had a diarrhea and continued to not to eat and I noticed a red spot around his mouth , since I live in a small town and we don't have currently a vet , I contacted with some veteran i know and he recommended to give him antibiotic and vitamins ( we suspected of Panleukopenea ) and force him to drink water . He didn't get better , and I noticed that he feel pain when I touch his mouth ,today there is a big spot of blood around his mouth and his lips are sore , i don't know if he has infection inside his mouth because he won't let me . Now that i read about this ilness (CUPS ) I suspect that he has it , is there something I can do for him ?
Add a comment to Fadi's experience
Was this experience helpful?