Dental diseases are not a rare problem for our smaller friends. The most common dental and gum disease in cats is gingivitis.
What factors contribute to the development of gingivitis
Gingivitis is understood as an inflammatory process that develops in the gums, affecting the area around one or more teeth. Gum inflammation is the beginning of a devastating syndrome in the tissues surrounding the bone structure.
The mechanism of action of gingivitis is as follows: first it affects the gums, then the ligaments and bones on which the teeth are attached. According to veterinarians, gingivitis is nothing more than the beginning of a serious and difficult to treat disease — periodontal disease.
The causes that provoke the development of gingivitis can be divided into internal (endogenous) and external (exogenous). Internal factors include:
- vitamin deficiency;
- abnormal location of the lower and upper teeth at the time of closing the jaws (bite);
- hardened dental plaque;
External causes of the disease are considered:
- wounds of the oral cavity caused by tubular bones and other sharp objects;
- radiation received as a result of radiation therapy, x-rays, etc.;
- viruses (calicivirus, herpes, etc.);
- exposure to chemical elements.
Gingivitis can occur in any pet, regardless of breed, in the risk group — animals from 5 years and older, an unbalanced diet, blood pathologies, autoimmune diseases.
The main symptoms
An attentive owner can easily identify the signs of gingivitis in his pet. The animal becomes lethargic and apathetic, sometimes showing aggression and irritability. Visual examination of the oral cavity shows reddened, swollen gums. A characteristic clinical picture of gingivitis is incessant salivation with an admixture of blood.
From the mouth of the animal comes a bad smell caused by the decomposition of food residues and the vital activity of pathogenic microorganisms.
The cat feels pain in the gums, because of which it can not chew and eat. As the disease develops, it loses a lot of weight and becomes weaker.
Suspecting a four-legged pet has gingivitis, the owner must immediately take the fluffy to the vet. Delay is fraught with the spread of infection of the entire body, damage to the liver, kidneys and other internal organs and systems.
To confirm or refute the diagnosis of “gingivitis”, the veterinarian needs to conduct diagnostic tests — x-rays, biopsies, tissue sampling for histological analysis.
Sometimes it is necessary to do tests to detect the immunodeficiency virus and leukemia.
Blood and urine tests are not prescribed: these studies are useless for the diagnosis of gingivitis.
A severe form of gingivitis is treated comprehensively. If the pathology was diagnosed at the initial stage, then brushing your teeth will be enough. Experts warn that toothpastes intended for humans can not be used.
The concentration of some components in the composition of cleaning products is very high and negatively affects the health of the fuzzy. In addition, the aroma of menthol, which is present in most formulations, does not like cats.
To clean plaque, a special brush is used, which you can buy at any veterinary pharmacy. If this is not possible, a regular toothbrush designed for children 3-5 years old will do. The bristles of these brushes are very soft and safe.
Miramistin, Chlorhexidine and other special disinfectant solutions are used to treat the oral cavity. After treatment the gums lubricated with ointment “tooth fairy” or “Gentamicin”.
In the later stages, medication and rehabilitation in a veterinary clinic are indicated. The cavity is cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler.
Interferon is effective in the fight against gingivitis. It stops the development of pathology, preventing its transition to severe stages. In addition, the drug has a powerful immunostimulating effect.
The drug is well absorbed by animals, belongs to the category of harmless, non-causing side effects, including allergies. Despite this, only a veterinarian can prescribe it and set the dosage and duration of treatment.
For the treatment of advanced forms of gingivitis, antibiotics (Lincomycin, Clindamycin, Stomorgil, Convenia), immunosuppressors (Prednisone, Azathioprine, corticosteroids) are used.
Tooth extraction is indicated only in the most severe cases, as a toothless cat becomes disabled. But if the veterinarian makes such a decision, it means that there is no other way to eliminate the cause of the disease and the direct source of pathogenic microflora.
With timely and adequate treatment, the prognosis is favorable.
What to do at home
The owner must provide his pet with the most comfortable living conditions and strictly follow the instructions of the veterinarian. You can not self-medicate, this can aggravate the situation and cause irreparable harm to the cat’s health.
To alleviate the suffering of a fuzzy, you can use a soda solution or decoctions of medicinal herbs that have a disinfecting and antimicrobial effect. However, traditional methods cannot replace traditional treatment and are used as additional measures.
Well-proven decoction of chamomile, oregano, strawberry leaves. You need to boil 1 teaspoon of dried plants, pour a glass of boiling water, put it on a slow fire for 10 minutes. Then strain the broth, cool it and use it to wipe the animal’s mouth.
During gingivitis, the cat usually refuses to eat, as even a small, hard-chewed piece causes her pain. However, to overcome the pathology, the body needs strength. Feed a four-legged pet with special soft food intended for weakened cats, mashed meat and vegetables, meat or chicken broth.
Even mild forms of gingivitis with improper treatment can result in the development of plasmocytic-lymphocytic gingivitis — an ulcerative lesion of the oral mucosa. The danger of the disease is that ulcers are formed not only on the gums and around the teeth, but also in the larynx and esophagus.
Since the animal can not eat normally and swallows food whole, violations of the gastrointestinal tract, metabolic processes, intestinal blockage are not excluded.
If left untreated, gingivitis flows into periodontal disease, characterized by destruction and loss of teeth. The pathology is characterized by severe pain, festering wounds, ulcers in the oral cavity. In the future, you can observe the complete destruction of individual parts of the oral cavity, in severe cases — fractures of the jaw.
In addition, running gingivitis threatens to infect the body with toxins that occur during the life of pathogenic microorganisms. The body gets the strongest poisoning, sepsis develops. Blood poisoning is accompanied by irreversible pathologies of internal organs.
Almost any disease can be prevented, and gingivitis is no exception. By following the simplest prevention measures, you can protect your pet from gum inflammation.
Regularly inspect the cat’s mouth for wounds, scratches, sores, bad smell, caries. By the way, caries that can cause gingivitis is successfully treated by cauterizing carious spots with sodium fluoride and silver nitric acid.
If the first signs of gingivitis and other dental diseases appear, immediately contact a veterinary clinic. The sooner treatment begins, the more likely it is to avoid health consequences.
The best prevention of gingivitis is to prevent the appearance of Tartar and plaque, through which infection of the gums occurs. Twice a month, clean your pet’s teeth with special toothpastes.
In order for a cat to perceive brushing his teeth as a normal procedure, it is necessary to train him to this manipulation from an early age.
Popular pastes such as “Elgidium”, “Radiance”, “Feline Oral Care”. In parallel, you can use special chewing toys. These items not only strengthen and clean your teeth, but also satisfy the need for chewing.
If the plaque is formed, you can’t do anything with it yourself. Removal of Tartar is carried out in the clinic, trying to get rid of it yourself, you risk injuring your pet.
Tartar usually appears due to poor nutrition: cheap dry food of economy class, the predominance of hard food, lack of vitamins (especially ascorbic acid). Make a cat menu with these features in mind.
Feed your cat with premium, super premium quality food from well-known manufacturers. The nutrients and vitamins in them are in the optimal ratio. Twice a year, it is advisable to transfer a pet to a special therapeutic food containing ingredients that effectively clean the teeth and oral cavity.
Consult your veterinarian about vitamin and mineral complexes. A cat needs dietary supplements fortified with vitamin C and calcium, but it is wrong to give them without consulting a specialist.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.