Feline stomatitis is a condition which is becoming more common at much earlier ages. Cats as young as a year old are succumbing to this serious problem. Why is it so prevalent now and what can you do to prevent it or treat it?
Stomatitis is a mouth disease. The mouth become inflamed, causing redness, swelling, pain and infection. Rawness, which is tender to touch, and ulcers can appear. If it continues, the next problem is that the teeth can become loose. This is serious stuff for a cat. It rarely happens in the wild. If it did, cats would not have survived to the present day.
When you talk to older or retired veterinarians, they will tell you that they never had to treat feline stomatitis. In the intervening 50 odd years, what has changed to now make this such a common problem?
Two major changes have occurred – diet and veterinary care.
Let’s examine each separately.
Cats are hunters. When they eat their prey, they fully use their sharp teeth to hold and to crunch up all parts of the body. Their mouth was designed, or has evolved, to perfect this action. The crunching action effectively cleans their teeth and massages their gums. This action keeps their mouth in perfect condition.
The domestic cat has a very different diet. Commercial cat food abounds, and nearly all cats are now fed this, in the mistaken belief that it is the best food for them. Soft food doesn’t support the health of the mouth in any way at all. It leads to gum disease.
Hard biscuits, often advertised as being good for the mouth, has little or no effect, although you might expect it to. This is borne out by the fact that most cats are fed hard biscuits, but stomatitis in cats has never been so prevalent.
Diet is complicated. It isn’t just the texture of the food that is important for the health of the mouth. The quality of the food is also important. The quality supplies the essential nutrients, which ensure healthy tissue. This is lacking in the majority of commercial cat foods.
It’s important to supply your cat with a diet very similar to the one they evolved on, for nutritional value, for mental health, for digestive health and for the health of their mouth.
Veterinary care has become such a large industry that many practices have less concern for the health of their patients than they have for the health of their bank balance. Some veterinary schools now teach their students how to maximise their profits, whatever the consequences are for the animals.
Professional veterinary associations which, in most countries, vets must join to legally practice, have a strict code of practice. In general, this does not allow the members to speak freely on such matters as alternative therapies or medication.
Yet all veterinary medication has two enormous problems. They are all toxic to the liver. And they all suppress the symptoms, and so the immune system. This creates further health problem in the not too distant future.
The veterinary treatment of feline stomatitis is to first prescribe antibiotics. When this doesn’t work, even with stronger drugs or for extended periods of time, cortisone is used. As neither of these drugs address the cause of the problem, in most cases the diet, the condition is not resolved.
Sooner or later, it will return. And then surgery is suggested, with many teeth removed. While this drastic measure does mean that your cat no longer has a tooth problem, it doesn’t always prevent gum disease. As with all surgery, it also carries dangers.
It is not uncommon for vets to prop open the mouth too wide during surgery, causing great pain for an extended period afterwards.
The alternatives are much less drastic, not dangerous at all and are much more cost expensive. First, sort out the diet, whatever the stage of the problem, this is a priority. Unless you have to act immediately because your cat won’t eat, it is best to wait and see what effect this has. In many cases, it can completely cure the problem.
If the condition is dire, if your cat is in too much pain to eat, then you need to provide some treatment. The best curative treatment for feline stomatitis, as for any other condition, is homeopathic. This approach treats the unique expression of your cat’s ails, is gentle, non-toxic, easy to administer and most important of all, is effective by stimulating the immune system.
And the icing on the cake is that the treatment is well within the financial scope of most people.
Learn how to feed your cat to prevent this condition.