However, judging by the number of photographs on the Flickr channel of the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic, periodontal disease is commonplace in dogs and cats. Often mouth disease can progress to a serious state. This can be avoided. The source of this photo is Flickr channel referred to. This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at this website.
|Cat with gingivitis - Photo Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic|
In a healthy mouth the gums surround the teeth is a nice, clean fit along the gum line. Cats with gingivitis have gums that have been pushed away from the teeth in an irregular manner because of a build up of rough-edged, dental calculus. At these points food particles are trapped and bacteria accrues. This causes inflammation. The gums become infected.
Calculus (tartar) is hardened plaque. Plaque is made up of food particles and organic and inorganic matter together with bacteria. Calculus is made up of "calcium phosphate and carbonate with organic material" (Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook). It is yellow in color. It appears that the cycle of plaque to calculus is self-generating as the irregularity of calculus is an ideal place for plaque to form.
Feline gingivitis is mainly caused by calculus. Infections such as panleuk can also cause gum infections.
Other than seeing inflamed gums as shown in the picture, signs of gingivitis are: loss of appetite, failure to groom, drooling and bad breath.
A veterinarian will have to clean the teeth and the cat's diet looked at. Some cats are more prone to gum disease than others as far as I am aware. Cats that are susceptible need greater care, obviously. It might include a regime of teeth cleaning at home. Teeth cleaning under anesthetic carries a certain amount of risk. Ask your vet about that. It is a balancing act in terms of health benefits to the cat. Abyssinian cats suffer a higher than average incidence of feline gingivitis.