February 23, 2016
Feline Stomatitis is a mysterious affliction that affects approximately 1% of cats. It is characterized by severe inflammation in the mouth including the gum line and may extend down the throat. Cats are usually in pain and they may salivate and have difficulty eating.
The cause of this disease is thought to be autoimmune, meaning the cat is rejecting its own teeth for reasons unknown. Often the treatment of choice is to extract all or most of the teeth. This treatment has been shown to be 80% effective in improving the affected cats. Other exciting new treatments are being studied at UC Davis and are in the clinical trial stages. This includes using stem cells from cats and injecting them back into the cat. A trial has proved promising and may translate well to human diseases.
We recently had a case of a cat with severe stomatitis seen at our clinic. Her name is Sasha and is relatively young at 5 years old. She came to see Dr. Brownlee because her mouth was bleeding, she was having difficulty eating and was generally not doing well. Looking at the severe gingivitis in her mouth it was decided that most of her teeth should be extracted. Her dental procedure was at the beginning of January and she was left with only her 4 canine teeth (pointy teeth in front).
Her owner brought her back a month later for a recheck. She reported that Sasha was acting like a new cat and noticed a change by the second day! Where Sasha was lethargic and not eating before, she turned into a playful happy cat. She has gained weight, her gums are not sore and bleeding and her coat looks so much healthier. This is definitely a success story but not every case is so straightforward. Hopefully additional treatments for stomatitis will surface and more cats can get relief from this debilitating disease.
Chris Morris, CVT
- Gingerich, Wade. Feline Tooth Resorption and Stomatitis.University of MN College of Veterinary Medicine, 2010
- Buck, Claudia, the Sacramento Bee. “From pets to people? UC Davis vets’ stem cell work gives humans hope” February 15, 2016