Pain Management for Feline Stomatitis

Simon receives laser therapy at Fairgrounds Animal Hospital to provide pain management for feline stomatitis.

What Is Feline Stomatitis?

Feline stomatitis is a severe, painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums. In most cases, the condition causes ulcers to form in the mouth; these ulcers can involve the lips, tongue, gums, and back of the throat. Cats of any age or breed can be affected.

  • Feline stomatitis is a severe, painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums.
  • Dental disease, certain viruses, and some other inflammatory conditions can cause feline stomatitis.
  • The long-term outcome can vary. Many cats require long-term treatment to control the condition.

How to Recognize Feline Stomatitis

Feline stomatitis is extremely painful. In some cases, a cat suffering with this condition may be in too much pain to open his or her mouth to eat. Other signs may include the following:

  • Drooling (sometimes with blood)
  • Unkempt hair coat (because grooming is painful)
  • Refusal to eat
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Pawing at the face or mouth

How Is Feline Stomatitis Diagnosed?

The diagnosis is commonly based on clinical signs and physical examination findings. A dental examination and dental X-rays can help your veterinarian determine the extent of periodontal disease.

Your cat will need a full examination that may require for your cat to be sedated. Your veterinarian may need to run several blood tests or send a small sample from the mouth to the laboratory for biopsy.

How is Feline Stomatitis Treated?

Feline stomatitis is very painful. Treatment includes medication including antibiotics to control pain and inflammation. Your veterinarian may recommend laser therapy to help with pain management. Your cat may be willing to eat soft food, so you may want to puree canned food until the cat’s mouth heals.

Severe periodontal disease is often the cause of feline stomatitis. Stomatitis is difficult to completely cure and treatment tends to be long term, your veterinarian will likely recommend managing dental disease as part of the overall treatment plan. A dental cleaning may be recommended, and some teeth may need to be removed. Cats tend to do well without their teeth.

Many cats with stomatitis require long-term treatment with anti-inflammatory medications and laser therapy to provide pain management and control the condition.  Tooth-brushing and a good dental care plan is recommended to reduce the accumulation of plaque and associated inflammation in the mouth.