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Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs

Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Chronic Gingivostomatitis?

Chronic gingivostomatitis is a moderate to severe infection of the gums, and also affects other tissues of the mouth beyond the gums. This condition is one stage away from periodontal disease and is very painful. 

Stomatitis is inflammation of the mouth, and can cause the dog to have difficulty eating, drinking, and even sleeping due to the intense pain it can cause. Although stomatitis can be found anywhere in the mouth, gingivostomatitis is limited to the gums and tissues surrounding the teeth of the dog. 

Gingivitis, the inflammation of the tissues of the gums, begins with the plaque and tarter that is deposited on the teeth without being cleaned off. The bacteria from this accumulate, thus causing infection to spread into the gums and tissues. 

When a dog is taken to the veterinarian for a check-up, the medical professional checks the teeth for signs of buildup of plaque and tarter, before they become too calcified.  A dental examination is a part of a regular physical examination and should be routine in order to prevent this condition. Once the condition does occur, the care of a veterinarian and medical treatment is the only way to ensure your dog can recover.

Chronic gingivostomatitis in dogs is a chronic condition in which dogs are affected by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. This chronic build-up causes inflammation and infection, and must be treated by a veterinarian.

Symptoms of Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs

If your dog has chronic gingivostomatitis, he will be in a lot of pain. Symptoms can also include:

  • Bad breath, or halitosis
  • Inflamed and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Difficulty eating and drinking
  • Signs of pain, such as whimpering and crying 
  • Agitation
  • Depression


Inflammation of the mouth due to oral health issues can be a serious condition if not treated by a veterinarian. Other types of teeth, gum, and mouth conditions include:

  • Periodontitis
  • Alveolar mucositis
  • Sublingual mucositis
  • Mucosa of the lip and cheek
  • Glossitis
  • Caudal mucositis
  • Faucitis
  • Palatitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Pharyngitis

Causes of Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs

Chronic gingivostomatitis in dogs may be caused by several different factors. Causes of this condition include:

  • Bacterial
  • Viral
  • Plaque protein hypersensitivity
  • Immune-mediated response
  • Severe accumulation of plaque upon the teeth

Diagnosis of Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs

If you suspect your dog has chronic gingivostomatitis or any other mouth condition, make an appointment with your veterinarian. To begin, your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination of your dog, which will include an examination of his teeth and mouth. He will gather more information about his symptoms by asking you when they began and what you have witnessed.

Your veterinarian may then choose to perform laboratory testing to rule out any other underlying health issues. He may conduct blood work, a biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. He will then look more closely at his mouth, namely the teeth and gums.

If your dog is diagnosed with chronic gingivostomatitis, your veterinarian will share with you the treatment options he suggests.

Treatment of Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs

Upon diagnosis, and depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, your veterinarian discuss a treatment plan. Treatment methods may include:

Cleaning and Scaling

To begin with treatment, the first action your veterinarian will want to take is to professionally clean and scale your dog’s teeth. The reason for this is so the calcified deposit can be removed to ward off any more bacteria from forming. For this, your dog will need to be put under anesthesia.


Your medical professional may recommend that a section of his affected gum tissue is removed. Once this is accomplished, your dog will be put on antibiotic treatment to prevent any infection.

Teeth Extraction

A full or partial extraction of the dog’s teeth may be recommended if the condition is severe. Once the teeth are extracted, which is a type of surgery, your dog will be placed on antibiotics to prevent any infection.

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Recovery of Chronic Gingivostomatitis in Dogs

Depending on the method of treatment for your dog, recovery may differ. Once you are home with your dog, it will be very important follow your veterinarian’s instructions for aftercare. He will explain to you the procedure of administering any antibiotics to your dog. It will be very important for your dog to take each dosage until the pills are gone.

Your veterinarian may also recommend specific mouth rinses and will show you how to perform these rinses on your dog in order for them to be effective. He will also recommend a specific diet for your dog, such as a very soft food diet until he begins to heal and show signs of less pain.

In order to prevent any gingivitis from forming in the future, you can brush his teeth each day and give him chew toys that naturally clean the teeth. Your veterinarian will also recommend regular dental visits for your dog.

When at home and during recovery time, especially if your dog had any teeth extracted, closely monitor your dog and check his mouth often for any signs of infection or other symptoms. If any new symptoms occur, please contact your veterinarian.

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