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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

My cat has been suffering from inflamed gums for a few months. She lost a lot of weight, because eating probably caused her a lot of pain. She also has very bad breath. Until now, no medicine or treatment has helped her get rid of this issue (only for a short time). Unfortunately, I have no pictures.

Species: European shorthair
Age: 6
Sex/Neuter status: female, sterilized
Breed: unknown
Body weight: 3,5 kg / 7.7 pounds
History: no significant history
Clinical signs: inflamed gums, bad breath, loss of weight (1 kg / 2.2 pounds)
Duration: 6 months
General location: Netherlands


What we tried so far:

The first vet diagnosed my cat with a condition called 'Gingivitis-Stomatitis-Pharyngitis complex', because the gums (very high up) as well as the inner surfaces of the lips were so severely irritated. Her advice was to extract all the teeth because this is the only 'solution' for this condition. For now, she gave me some painkillers that also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

We took her to a second vet to get a second opinion. This vet said she thought it was just inflamed gums and gave her antibiotics and told us to keep using the painkillers. I thought that the gums might have been less inflamed at this point due to the painkillers, so I am still not ruling out GSPC. The antibiotics worked to some degree, but one tooth was extracted because it was too badly irritated. We stopped giving the painkillers and now, three weeks later, all her gums are once again inflamed. We also did a blood screening (quite extensive, including cat aids, leukosis and calicivirus infection) which only showed that she had a covid infection somewhere in the past.

I am wondering if there are any possible causes for prolonged inflamed gums, such as allergies, diet or some other infection? I really do not want to extract all my cats teeth before we explored all other options. Also, it makes more sense to find out what is causing this.

Thanks!!
 

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I would suggest you look around and find a veterinary dentist and take her there. Most regular vets, while perfectly able to clean teeth or pull one, are not well versed in dental diseases. Dental vets don't come cheap, but it sounds to me as if that is what your cat needs. Certainly see one before you let anyone pull her teeth! It may not be necessary to do that if they are seen to by a dentist.
 

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Hi A. I'm sorry you're in such a difficult situation. My cat Kate had a similar experience with dental problems. Her Vet put her on several rounds of antibiotics, which worked well for a while, but the problem came back shortly after we finished each course. I took her to 2 different Vets and one animal hospital that all advised to extract all of her teeth.

So I looked up cat dental specialists in my area and found a board-certified veterinary dentist. She ran several tests and took x-rays and said Kate only needed to have 13 teeth removed, which we did, and to bring her in for an annual check-up and cleaning to keep her teeth and gums healthy. She may need more extractions in the future, but we'll try to keep her remaining teeth intact for as long as possible. It was all extremely expensive, but may be different where you live. The good news is, after all we went through, Kate is no longer in pain and is a much happier and healthy cat.

I can't advise you what to do with your cat, but you could google EVDC (European Veterinary Dental College) and look for a board-certified dentist near you. Also, when Kate was having a hard time eating, I stopped dry cat food and gave her wet pate with water mixed in to give it a soupy consistency and it was much easier for her to eat. And I've been told by her dentist that if cats do need to have all their teeth removed, they still manage very well without them and are much more comfortable because they're no longer in pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply. It is indeed a very sad situation, but I'm happy to hear that your cat is doing well. It sounds like a very similar situation. I am also thinking about going to a vet that is specialised in dental problems and I actually found one pretty nearby. However, I'm struggling to decide whether that is necessary, or whether we can keep going to my own vet. I went to my regular vet yesterday, and she told us that we indeed had to begin the extraction process (like you said: while trying to preserve as many teeth as possible). She was very confident that she could do this for us, and it was not necessary to consult a specialist. Do you feel that you made a good choice by going to a specialist, and do you feel this is necessary for extracting teeth? It is indeed much more expensive, and my vet told me it was not necessary so that is why I am in doubt. But of course I also want to do what is absolute best for my cat...
 

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Thanks for your reply. It is indeed a very sad situation, but I'm happy to hear that your cat is doing well. It sounds like a very similar situation. I am also thinking about going to a vet that is specialised in dental problems and I actually found one pretty nearby. However, I'm struggling to decide whether that is necessary, or whether we can keep going to my own vet. I went to my regular vet yesterday, and she told us that we indeed had to begin the extraction process (like you said: while trying to preserve as many teeth as possible). She was very confident that she could do this for us, and it was not necessary to consult a specialist. Do you feel that you made a good choice by going to a specialist, and do you feel this is necessary for extracting teeth? It is indeed much more expensive, and my vet told me it was not necessary so that is why I am in doubt. But of course I also want to do what is absolute best for my cat...
Yes, in our case, it was the right choice to go to a specialist. Kate's first Vet didn't even notice she had dental problems, our new Vet identified the problem but doesn't do dental work, and the doctor at the animal hospital said he could remove one or two teeth, but didn't have the expertise to do the amount of work she needed because of the amount of time she's be under anesthesia, which was my main concern.

So I called 2 dental specialists near me, but the closest one was booked for a year and the other one was much further away but could see her in a month so we took that one. She was great. Very thorough exam, went over the X-rays in detail, explained what was needed, took the time to answer all my questions, was experienced in administering anesthesia, and wrote up a treatment plan with all the costs. And luckily, they took VISA because it was really expensive!

I think it all comes down to a matter of who you trust, who is available because you don't want to wait too long, and who you can afford. We all like to think that money is no object when it comes to our furkids, but we have to be realistic about it. Good luck with your decision and let us know how things are going.
 

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Sorry to hear about your cat’s discomfort, and yours - you obviously care a lot. I didn’t read thoroughly through the responses, so I may be repeating, but wouldn’t a tooth cleaning be a next step? It involves general anesthesia, but certainly it’s less severe than pulling them. Antibiotics can mess with intestinal flora, so check with your vet about supplemental probiotics So she is not dealing with an upset stomach in addition to painful gums.
In the meantime, have you tried creating a soupy stew to encourage her to eat without too much use of her teeth? Wet food mixed well with warm water might do the trick.
I wish you the best of luck!
 
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