What is Inflammation of the Mouth?
Inflammation in your dog’s mouth might be referred to as stomatitis and/or ulcerative stomatitis. This oral condition is painful and can cause your dog to avoid eating and drinking. Typically, the result of a dental problem like a large amount of plaque on your dog’s teeth and gums, the condition can also result from an underlying issue (for example, diabetes, thyroid conditions, cancer or an autoimmune condition). You may observe redness and swelling of his gums and your dog will likely experience pain. Upon observing inflammation in your dog’s mouth, you will want to take him to the veterinarian.
Typically referred to as stomatitis, inflammation of the mouth of your dog can be due to a dental issue or can occur as the result of an underlying health condition.
Symptoms of Inflammation of the Mouth in Dogs
Should the inflammation in your dog’s mouth be the result of ulcerative stomatitis, you may observe the following:
- His gums, mouth and/or tongue are swollen
- He has sores in his mouth or on his tongue
- He has bad breath
- Appears lethargic
- Continuously paws at this mouth
- Excessive drool
- Blood is present in the bowl he eats or drinks from
- Disinterest in playing or other changes in his mood
- Whining sounds when he is consuming food
- Disinterest or refusing to eat or drink
- Loss of weight
Should your dog be experiencing inflammation in his mouth it may be from:
- Bacterial stomatitis
- Lymphocytic stomatitis
- Periodontal disorder
- Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis
- Glossitis (inflammation of his tongue)
Causes of Inflammation of the Mouth in Dogs
If your dog is experiencing inflammation in his mouth, it might be caused by a dental issue. Other causes of inflammation in a dog’s mouth include:
- Bacterial infection
- Thyroid or immune disorder
Diagnosis of Inflammation of the Mouth in Dogs
Should you notice that your dog has inflammation somewhere in his mouth, you should have him examined by your veterinarian, as this could be painful for him and may point toward his having other health concerns that should be addressed.
It is likely you will be asked for information regarding the signs you have seen, when you first noticed them and whether any changes have occurred. You will also be asked about your dog’s eating habits and regular activities and whether there have been changes in either.
After conducting a physical examination (to include a close look within your dog’s mouth for plaque, tartar build-up and sores), it is likely that your veterinarian will conduct a CBC and blood chemistry panel, so that it can be determined if your dog is experiencing swelling in his mouth as a result of an underlying medical condition. X-rays may also be taken so that your veterinarian can tell if there is any internal reason that there is swelling in your dog’s mouth. General anesthesia or sedation may be used if your dog is experiencing a large amount of pain.
Depending on what is seen during the physical examination and the results of these tests, your veterinarian may consider additional evaluations to rule out cancer, an immune or thyroid disorder, uremia or toxicosis.
Treatment of Inflammation of the Mouth in Dogs
Treatment for the swelling in your dog’s mouth will be dependent upon its cause. Often, your veterinarian will clean the teeth of your dog thoroughly while your dog is under general anesthesia. While the cleaning is taking place, your veterinarian will clean off the plaque and tartar, will clean underneath his gums and thoroughly rinse his mouth. Your veterinarian will also consider extracting teeth that are in bad shape. Antibacterial and antiseptic gel will be used on your dog’s teeth in an effort to slow down future build-up of plaque and tartar.
Should your dog be experiencing an infection, antibiotics will be provided. Pain and swelling may be reduced by pain medication and steroids. If the swelling in your dog’s mouth is the result of an underlying condition, your veterinarian will work on treating that condition so that your dog’s signs (including inflammation of his mouth) will be resolved.
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Recovery of Inflammation of the Mouth in Dogs
Your veterinarian will likely recommend that you provide dental care for your dog at home as well as attend follow up appointments for professional dental cleaning in order to minimize the chance of the inflammation returning. Special gels and hygiene chews may be recommended; other recommendations will depend on whether the inflammation is the result of an underlying condition.
Inflammation of the Mouth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
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