Lack of proper oral health for cats can lead to the development of gingivitis in cats, a type of bacterial infection that affects the gums of the cat. If left untreated, this can lead to the development of periodontitis, a severe form of infection which eventually leads to teeth falling off as a result of decay and teeth loosening.
Causes of gingivitis in cats
•Poor oral hygiene resulting in plaque formation and bacterial infection on teeth.
•Immune suppression as a result of viral and bacterial infection.
•A poor diet comprising of soft food with low fibre content.
•Poor chewing habits.
•Underlying diseases such as diabetes.
Symptoms of gingivitis in cats
•Reddened, inflamed and bleeding gums.
•Loss of appetite.
•Irritability, pain and discomfort.
•Receding gums and loosened teeth.
Diagnosis of gingivitis in cats is done by a veterinarian who performs a physical exam on the cats’ mouth, blood tests and even X-rays to determine the extent of the disease.
Treatment of gingivitis in cats
This is highly dependent on the severity of the disease. This involves;
•Administration of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications which will help reduce the extent of pain and inflammation on the gums.
•Administration of antibiotics such as cyclosporine and anti-viral medications that help in treating bacterial and viral infections.
•Proper dental cleaning and polishing to remove plague which harbours bacteria.
•Teeth extraction for severely affected teeth.
It is important to ensure good oral hygiene in cats to prevent the occurrence of infections which can lead to the development of gingivitis. This can be achieved by;
•Brushing the cats’ teeth using a cat toothpaste which does not contain fluoride and specially formulated toothbrushes for cats.
•Using mouth rinses which help in eliminating bacteria and preventing plague formation reducing the risk of infection.
•Ensuring the cat has proper nutrition and diet supplements recommended by the veterinarian.
•Taking the cat for a regular dental exam and dental cleaning which ensures that the cat has good oral health preventing the occurrence of infections.