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Gingivitis and 1.5 year old cat! How to fight it!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We noticed that our cat's bottom gums are red. It looks like her upper back teeth penetrate the gums at the bottom.
Last week we took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with gingivitis!
She was given a Depo Medrol shot, which we totally hate!
The vet said that possibly we gonna have to pull both upper teeth. I still dont understand how the teeth penetrating the gums causing inflamation and gingivitis are connected!
We bought today the dental care kit at Petsmart (toothbrush and paste), we hope that it will help to fight the gingivitis.
Any suggestions how to fight the gingivitis and what could we possibly do to avoid pulling our kittys teeth out! Without them our kitty will not be able to eat hard food, that means no treats! She is only 1.5 years old and we hate it!

Thank you!
post #2 of 11
Keeping the teeth clean is the best way to fight it. It is not easy but possible to get a cat to accept having its teeth brushed. Start by getting it used tot he taste of the tooth paste by rubbing a little on the side of the outh for a few days, then try and introduce the brush at the side of the mouth while scruffing hte cat gently. Give a treat afterwards. But even if the worst happens, and hte vet has to pull the teeth (1.5 years is very young for htat) the cat will still be able to eat hard food. I have a ten year old cat (Cinders)who has now lost five teeth and loves her kibble.
post #3 of 11
Marlee was diagnosed with this at her yearly check up two years ago. We had her first teeth cleaning done, and they had to pull one tooth. Since then yearly cleanings with her checkup has kept it in check. But the year after she was diagnosed, Milo got it too My vet said that since they share food bowls and water bowls (no way to keep them from doing that) they can pass the bacteria back and forth. So maybe just plan to have your vet do a cleaning, and maybe yearly cleanings will help your problem too!
post #4 of 11
There are some toothless kitties that are able to eat dry food. They do it the way cats with teeth sometimes do it, just swallow it whole. But hopefully your furry one won't get to that point. Brushing with a enzyme toothpaste can help reduce tarter build up. If your up to it, and if your kitty is up to it and likes it, You can try and feed, as a treat, raw chicken necks or wings. The amount of meat and bone on those is usually enough to scrape the teeth pretty much clean. You can also just throw down large chunks of meat but usually doesn't work as well as bone. Another meat option are chicken gizzards. Not up to bone level but may be a little better than regular meat. Thats all I can think of

Take care
post #5 of 11
Gingivitis that early may be a sign of stomatitis. Did your vet mention this at all? Does the roof of her mouth look inflamed? May be worth checking into.

Also, have you gotten her FIV/FELV tested? Teeth problems this early can be signs of FELV.

Of course it is possible she just has bad teeth/gums for genetic reasons. I would discuss getting a dental done with your vet and some dental x-rays to make sure she's not getting any abscessed teeth. Also a round of antibiotics such as clindamycin may help. As mentioned above, if she does have to have some teeth extracted it isn't the end of the world. We just had a three year old in that we had to pull virtually all of her teeth and she's bounced back fairly well. We also have a 3 year old clinic cat that has terrible teeth. We have to do a dental on her every 6-10 months and put her on a round of antibiotics every once in awhile. Thus far we haven't had to pull anything.

Best of luck to you and your kitty!
post #6 of 11
The only thing I have to add is the paste at the pet stores is generally useless.

The only toothpaste that will helps is called c.e.t. and can only be purchased through a vet. It is an enzymatic toothpaste (breaks down bacteria). the OTC pastes don't do any thing.

However I recommend a second opinion. Gingivitis should not warrant extractions. Severe dental disease, stomatitis, or FORL would be a reason for extractions, all very painful serious conditions. Simple gingivitis can be reversed with a professional cleaning, with home care (and the c.e.t) to prevent a return afterward.
post #7 of 11
My boy Stumpy had all of his teeth pulled about 2 years ago and he prefers dry food over wet. In fact, he's taken to eating dry dog kibble, which is twice the size as the cat kibble. He also gobbles up treats. Never assume that because they lack teeth, that they can't eat kibble.

I've had problems with gingivitis and stomatitis with various cats over the years. The trick to treating them is to find the underlying cause. Sometimes it can be a general disease that triggers problems in their mouths (calici, FeLV, auto immune disorders), it can be poor nutrician, or it could be that they are just genetically pre-disposed to mouth problems.

I'm with you on not wanting to give steroids to my cats, but my Stumpy has been on them non stop for 3 years with no issue. Without them his auto immune disease would cause his mouth condition to get out of control and he will die. With close monitoring, they are better than leaving a cat in pain.

But if you don't get to the reason why the cat has gingivitis and it becomes chronic, steroids are the simplest thing to prescribe. If you find the underlying cause, then you can treat that rather than just the symptoms. If good dental care and a healthy diet doesn't correct this, you can ask for a biopsy to find out more.

Feed them a good diet, keep them healthy through exercise, and keep them stress free. Those things alone will go a long way to getting past some of these problems.
post #8 of 11
Just for the record - I have had dental extractions done of 4 cats - all of which have no teeth left (except Tab - she has 2 teeth left). They all eat dry food just fine. Two of them have had dental issues since a very young age (about a year), the other two were seniors.
post #9 of 11
Dr Addie has a very good website on gingivitis and doesn't recommend steroids at all, as long term they make the condition worse. I have had a few toothless cats, including one at the moment - he is likely a calici carrier, as despite taking all his teeth out, he still gets mouth ulcers - his don't stop him eating though, so we dont give him ab's or painkillers, I want to wait till he needs them so he doesn't get resistant to them. He is the second toothless cat I have had that could still eat raw meat.
post #10 of 11
Bugsy has Gingivitis- he is 2 years old - he took one injection of Depo medrol, and I hated! he became an Zombie, eating machine... dead-alive... awful. He also had a couple of rounds of clindrops. IMO depo-medrol should be given only when it is the last option available, and I mean LAST, as the long term effects can be quite disastrous.
Since I started him on some supplements he has gotten considerably better. He will need to have his teeth pulled, but this will have to wait until I get a job; I can not afford right now. Per His vet, he has gotten so much better, that his surgery is not imminent right now.
I can't wait until he has his surgery... He has no signs of pain though... He is eating normally, and acting completely normally...

Good luck with your kitty!
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by CatNurse22 View Post
Gingivitis that early may be a sign of stomatitis. Did your vet mention this at all? Does the roof of her mouth look inflamed? May be worth checking into.

Also, have you gotten her FIV/FELV tested? Teeth problems this early can be signs of FELV.

Best of luck to you and your kitty!
That was Leo's first sign of FELV. When I treated him with clindimycin it went away for a bit but always returned.
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