What is Inflammation of the Soft Tissues in the Mouth?
Inflammation of the soft tissues is not just a dental problem. It could be a symptom of a more serious condition that needs to be treated, such as diabetes. This condition is characterized by redness and swelling of the gums, and it is very painful. Swelling of the soft tissues of the mouth is usually caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. It could also be caused by thyroid disorders, cancer, or certain immune disorders.
Also described as ulcerative stomatitis, this condition presents as a painful oral disorder that can prevent the dog from eating and drinking. Inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth is usually caused by a dental problem, such as plaque build-up, but can also be a symptom of an underlying disorder. It is essential to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment.
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Symptoms of Inflammation of the Soft Tissues in the Mouth in Dogs
Some symptoms of ulcerative stomatitis include:
- Swollen gums, mouth, or tongue
- Sores in the mouth or tongue
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Pawing at mouth
- Blood in food or water dish
- Mood changes (not playing)
- Whining when eating
- Refusal of food or water
- Weight loss
- Bacterial stomatitis
- Lymphocytic stomatitis
- Periodontal disorder
- Canine oral granuloma
Causes of Inflammation of the Soft Tissues in the Mouth in Dogs
Inflammation in the mouth of any kind is usually due to a dental problem. However, it could be from other reasons, such as infections, metabolic disorders, and a lowered immune system. Some common reasons for this condition are:
- Plaque or tartar build-up
- Bacterial infection
- Thyroid disorders
- Immune disorder
Diagnosis of Inflammation of the Soft Tissues in the Mouth in Dogs
Your veterinarian will want to know of any symptoms your pet has experienced and why you brought your dog to the clinic. He will also ask you about your dog’s eating habits, activities, and how long the symptoms have been going on. It is best if you write down all the details, symptoms, and other things you think the veterinary team may need to know before you go.
The veterinary caregiver will examine your dog’s teeth and gums thoroughly to check for plaque or tartar build-up and sores. If your dog is in a lot of pain, he will be put under general anesthesia during the exam.
CBC and blood chemistry panel, bacterial culture, fungal culture, oral swab, and glucose test will be done to rule out other medical reasons for the stomatitis, such as diabetes, bacterial or fungal infection.
The veterinarian will take radiographs (x-rays) to determine whether there is any bone loss or other internal causes for the inflammation of the soft tissue in the mouth.
A fine needle biopsy, urinalysis, ACTH, and fecal exam may also be done to check for cancer, immune and thyroid disorders, uremia, or toxicosis.
Treatment of Inflammation of the Soft Tissues in the Mouth in Dogs
The veterinarian will first perform a thorough cleaning of your dog’s teeth and mouth while he is under general anesthesia. During the cleaning, he will remove the built up plaque and tartar and excise any teeth that are unable to be saved. Once this is done, the veterinarian will do root planning (cleaning under the gums) and rinsing.
If any teeth are infected or damaged, they will have to be removed. After this is done, your veterinarian will apply antibacterial and antiseptic gel to the teeth. This will slow the reformation and subsequent buildup of plaque and tartar.
Your vet will prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. He may also prescribe pain medicine and steroids to reduce pain and swelling. Home care and follow-up appointments are essential to prevent recurrence of the swelling.
Recovery of Inflammation of the Soft Tissues in the Mouth in Dogs
Inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth is usually a chronic problem but is easily treated with home therapy. Some of the recommended home treatments for your dog are antibacterial and antiseptic gels, sealants that prevent plaque, and Vibrac Enzyme oral hygiene chews.
Continued home therapy is essential to successful treatment, including a daily treatment done at home. This should include thorough brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a day and using a veterinarian approved mouth rinse. This should be continued indefinitely.
Frequent professional dental cleaning is the most important treatment. You should plan to bring your dog back to see the veterinarian at least once per month until the swelling has been gone for three months. Although this condition is chronic, it can easily be treated and controlled with these simple home treatments.