Sadly, yes. Oral tumors in cats are very serious and require immediate and aggressive treatment. Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are the most common malignant oral tumor in cats, although many other forms of cancer occur. If you observe any lumps, swelling, or discolored areas in your cats’ mouth, have it seen by your veterinarian right away.
The biggest concern is your cat may have a condition called stomatitis (more correctly referred to as lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivitis pharangitis syndrome). This condition is also very painful and most cats have problems eating and swallowing, weight loss, and excessive salivation. Treatments vary widely and cats respond differently to an assortment of options. The exact cause is unknown although an underlying immune-mediated disorder is strongly suspected. Be patient and work closely with your veterinarian; cats with stomatitis require extended periods of treatment.
If not brushing your cat’s teeth is your worst offense, then you’re not a bad kitty momma. Instead, you can have their teeth regularly cleaned (typically at least once a year) under anesthesia by a Registered Veterinary Technician. While your kitties are sleeping, dental x-rays can be taken to ensure there are no hidden problems underneath the gums. Also, give them chew treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to help reduce tartar in cats. Some cats will tolerate oral antimicrobial rinses, so they get their “mouth wash” a few times each week. Finally, make it a habit to (carefully) lift the lips of your cats and examine their teeth and gums each week to make sure everything looks healthy. So don’t fret; take your cats to your veterinarian at least once a year, have the teeth cleaned by a professional when needed, conduct routine home mouth checks, and use products proven to help keep your kitty’s mouth healthy.
…stay tuned for Top 10 Cat and Dog Toxins coming soon.
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