Keep your beloved safe from Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis
With the increasing number of cat pet parents, the awareness about felines and their health is also increasing–which is a great thing. A common disease seen in cats is Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS). Know more about this disease and keep your beloved safe!
Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is an oral mucosal inflammatory disease of cats. It is very painful, is mostly severe in nature, and is immune-mediated. Cats with this chronic, painful inflammatory disease can be severely compromised, and sometimes medical treatment can cause adverse effects.
There are different conditions related to the oral cavity i.e. gingivitis which is inflammation of the gingiva, also known as ‘gum tissues’ that surround the teeth and stomatitis is also inflammation, but it is inflammation affecting the other soft tissues in the mouth. It can include the insides of the lips, the back of the mouth, under the tongue, and the tongue itself. When these two terms are combined then it is known as ‘gingivostomatitis’.
Lookout for these signs and symptoms
FCGS is clinically characterised by pain on eating, pawing at the mouth, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), weight loss, deteriorating health condition, grooming deficiency, ptyalism (production of excessive saliva), and sometimes bleeding from the mouth.
Flaws that cause FCGS
The exact cause of gingivostomatitis is still not known. Dental-related conditions including periodontal disease and, possibly, dental resorptions are chronic inflammatory processes which may play a role. Recent research says that various viral diseases regarding gingivostomatitis are Feline Calicivirus (FCV), Feline Herpesvirus (FHV-1), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), and various other bacteria can also lead to gingivostomatitis. However, no specific bacterium is associated with this condition. Experts say that chronic gingivostomatitis is a result of an abnormal immune response to oral antigenic stimulation and there may be one or more initiating causes that trigger this disease. There are reports that states that if your cat is suffering from dental plague even in very small amount, it can stimulate the oral immune system i.e. hyper-immune reaction and may lead to chronic gingivostomatitis. This condition may first show up with the eruption of the adult teeth. Most cats are not diagnosed with this condition until they are over 6 years old because of the absence of severe clinical signs or the symptoms are mild and go unnoticed.If a cat is suffering from gingivostomatitis then the earliest signs include oral pain which can eventually lead to anorexia i.e. she’ll stop eating because of the pain caused during chewing. Some cats may also cry with mouth wide open.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis of gingivostomatitis can be done on basis of oral examination, dental radiography and histopathology of inflamed mucosa and gingiva. The treatment of FCGS includes medicinal and surgical treatments. In medicines various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed. Your vet might also suggest supportive therapy with vitamins and fatty acids that can aid in the treatment. The surgical treatment involves extraction of teeth, when extracting teeth to treat feline gingivostomatitis, the question arises whether to extract canine or incisor tooth. A suggested approach says to extract both canine and incisor teeth if they are diseased or if the surrounding tissues are markedly inflamed. If canine and incisor teeth are sound and inflammation is limited to the posterior portion of the oral cavity, the canine and incisor teeth may be spared.
Get in touch with your vet and they would recommend the best suitable treatment. The best treatment is to act early, keep an eye on these signs, surgical extraction (if required), and complete removal of all roots to make sure the recovery is speedy.
Handle with care: post-operative care tips
Post-operative nursing care with pain management is key to their recovery, and most cats are fully recovered in 7 to 14 days. However, resolution of the inflammation may take 4-8 weeks until it is fully resolved. During the healing period, wet food is ideal to let the oral cavity heal. However, after they have healed, many cats return to eating kibble, either dry or soaked with water, without issue. With the pain and inflammation in their mouths resolved, they tend to live happy, content lives.
(Dr Aeknath Virendra, Dr Apoorva Mishra, Dr Shashi Pradhan are from Mumbai Veterinary College and Jabalpur Veterinary College.)