What Is Stomatitis?

Cat With Open Mouth
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Q. My veterinarian says my cat has stomatitis. Can you tell me more about this?

A. I’m so glad your veterinarian has diagnosed this condition. Not because I’d wish it on any cat — because I surely don’t — but because it makes me very unhappy to think about how many cats are suffering without owners as observant as you are. Now that you know your cat has such a painful condition, you can work with your veterinarian to help your cat.

What Is Stomatitis?

Stomatitis, also known as Feline Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Stomatitis/Gingivitis (LPSG), is a painful condition in which the gums and other tissues in the mouth become inflamed and ulcerated. It’s sometimes referred to as an extreme case of gingivitis, but that really doesn’t begin to express how incredibly miserable a cat with this condition can be. Imagine living in constant pain, and having every bite you take make you feel even worse. This condition can be caused by a number of factors, such as periodontal disease, viral infection, immune-mediated diseases, as well as exposure to toxins.

Many cat lovers have no idea what’s going on inside their cat’s mouth. They will often bring their cat in to the vet because he’s drooling or has stopped eating (or seems to want to eat, then doesn’t — understandable under the circumstances). Because of the pain, these cats may not groom themselves well or often. And I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone that a cat with such a condition will often have bad breath. A cat with stomatitis may also start hiding more, or become cranky. When you think about what it’s like to have “just” a toothache, you can well imagine how a cat with stomatitis feels.

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