Donna shares insider tips about your pets gained through exclusive interviews with industry experts.
Stomatitis in Cats
According to the Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, "Periodontal disease is the most common disease seen in companion animals, which, when left untreated, may result in disease elsewhere in the body. Feline patients are often affected by resorptive lesions, which cause pain and decreased appetite."
Resorptive lesions are just one complication of feline stomatitis, which is an inflammation of the mouth and gum line and also known as lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis (LPS).
Cats with LPS suffer great pain—they feel like their mouths are on fire, according to Dr. Louise Murray, a board-certified veterinary internist—and have difficulty eating because of the pain.
The inflammation is caused by the accumulation of plaque. Appetites wane, and the animals lose weight and can die if the condition is not treated properly and promptly. The good news is that LPS is treatable and reversible with diet, nutrition, and regular professional care. However, as part of a treatment protocol, the vet may recommend a full mouth extraction of the cat's teeth.
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat, consult a veterinarian promptly:
Symptoms of Feline Stomatitis
- Red gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Sore throat
- Refusal of food
The Basics of Feline Nutrition
Cats are carnivores, so their teeth are designed to tear, not grind. Avoid feeding them soft or sticky foods, which cling to the teeth and encourage plaque formation. The best diets for cats include good sources of animal versus plant protein, some fat, a high percentage of water, and a low percentage of carbohydrates.
Dry Food Exacerbates Gum Problems
Many dry foods have high carbohydrate levels as they are formulated primarily from plant proteins and baked to produce the finished product. The heat needed for baking robs nutrients from the food, and the chunks are so dry, they crumble in the mouth and stick to the teeth, thus exacerbating periodontal conditions.
Wet Food Is Better
In general, canned cat foods provide higher percentages of high-quality protein and moisture and are recommended for treating LPS. Wet foods do not stick to the teeth and are easier to consume, especially for cats with sore gums.
Smaller Meals Can Help
Another method that may ensure your cat gets enough nutrition is to feed smaller meals, spaced out throughout the day. Three to six tiny meals may be easier for your cat to handle than one or two larger meals. The food can be ground-up in a food processor or blender to make a thin consistency for the cat to lap up rather than chew.
However, keep in mind that the above suggestions are somewhat general in nature. Your personal veterinarian is more qualified to make a specific recommendation based on your cat's overall health and history.
Treatments for Stomatitis: Diet and Nutrition
In the article "Veterinary Dentistry: Dental Care for Pets", the author suggests Friskies Feline Dental Diet for Cats for pets with LPS.
Friskies Feline Dental Diet for Cats has a guaranteed analysis of crude protein of 28% and moisture of 10%. In addition, according to the package ingredients listing, the food is free from artificial colors or preservatives that might cause liver damage or trigger allergies. It carries the VOHC Seal of Acceptance.
The following products for feline dental care diets have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance:
- Prescription Diet Feline t/d—Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
- Friskies Feline Dental Diet—Friskies Petcare Company
- New and Improved Prescription Diet Feline t/d—Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
- Science Diet Oral Care Diet for Cats—Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
- Purina Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health brand Feline Formula
The VOHC "certifies only that, upon application for the right to use the registered seal, the product met VOHC's standards for effectiveness in retarding plaque and tartar when used as directed."
Why a Better Diet Helps
Using better diet and nutrition for feline stomatitis means fewer incidences of the disease, healthier cats, and better treatment options for felines suffering from LPS. Cat owners can feel confident in these proven methods to prevent and treat their pets.
The information in this article should not be considered veterinarian advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with a veterinarian for treatment advice for cats and other animals or before following any advice in articles like the one you have just read.
Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine, accessed 02/22/2010:http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/vscs/Services/Dentistry/LPS.shtml
Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, accessed 02/22/2010: http://www.vet.upenn.edu/Portals/0/media/Matthew_J_Ryan.pdf
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, "Veterinary Dentistry: Dental Care for Pets" Frank J. M. Verstraete, accessed 02/22/2010:
Telephone Interview, Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, 09/23/2010
Veterinary Oral Health Council, accessed 02/23/2010: http://www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm
Keep in Mind
This veterinary medical information is based on information provided during a telephone interview with a professional, qualified veterinarian. However, it is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Always seek your veterinarian’s advice about your pet’s health.
While this information is periodically researched and updated (under the guidance of veterinary input) in the attempt to be timely and factual, no guarantee is given the information is correct, complete, and/or up-to-date.
Recommendations as to therapeutics, diagnostics and best standards of practice in the veterinary industry and/or opinions between professionals may differ or change as technologies and information changes. You should not use this article as your sole source of information on any matter of veterinary health or attempt to self-diagnose or treat your pets as the information herein may not be appropriate for your pet. The safest option for you and your pet is to rely on the advice of your veterinarian to diagnose and recommend the best treatment options.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Which dry cat food is best for stomatitis in cats?
Answer: It is always best to consult your vet, who knows your cat's health history, before making any changes to a pet's diet. He or she can help you make an informed decision to choose just the right food for your pet.
© 2011 Donna Cosmato
Carol Mages on March 06, 2019:
Looking for way to purchase feline wet food for cat with stomatitis n extracted teeth. Help
KC Cowgirl on September 22, 2017:
Sorry, but any website that recommends a specific product I must question. WHO is actually driving this site? Friskies? Perhaps I'm totally off base but no "independent" website should recommend a specific brand of pet food and then only that brand.
Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on January 02, 2012:
Thank you for reading and commenting, Paulart! I'm glad you found this information useful.
Paulart from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001 on January 01, 2012:
Wow very informative hub. Thanks for sharing.
Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 19, 2011:
You're welcome, Deborah! It's always gratifying to get feedback that lets you know your information has helped someone else. I enjoy writing about these pet health issues in hopes to raise awareness of health problems that can be prevented:) Merry Christmas (again) and thank you for the vote up.
Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on December 19, 2011:
wow thanks for this HUB... I WILL TAKE MY CAT AND HAVE HER checked out.. thank you.. I voted up..