Chronic gingivostomatitis is long standing inflammation extending beyond the gum margin (gingiva) to involve other oral tissues. The condition has also been referred to as faucitis and lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis. This is only a descriptive term and is not a diagnosis. The condition has been associated with certain viruses. The disease process is not fully understood but is thought to be an aberrant immune response to plaque accumulation on the teeth.
The condition is more common in cats that dogs. The gums are red, ulcerated, and often will bleeds easily. The back of the mouth, tongue and lip folds can easily be similarly affected. Cats will often stop eating as this excruciatingly painful. Cats often have a poor coat condition because of lack of grooming and appear depressed. Cats will often salivate profusely and have bad breath. A blood test should be performed to ensure that there are no other underlying conditions affecting the cat.
A thorough investigation to rule out underlying disease is important. This may include a blood screen as a general health profile and viral screening. A dental examination under general anaesthetic is essential to identify and underlying dental disease.
Currently, the treatment that offers best long term resolution is complete extraction of all the premolars and molars together with medical management. Extraction of these teeth is a challenging procedure and may require referral to a veterinary dental specialist.
Although complete extraction appears to be a radical treatment option, cats recover extremely well with an improved quality of life. A domestic cat does not actually need any teeth to eat well.