A dental or oral abscess in cat’s is a serious condition. Caused by an infection, a cat abscess needs to be treated immediately by a veterinarian, since such an infection can cause other health problems.
Abscesses are localized collections of pus that are formed by tissue disintegration resulting from an infection; the abscess is surrounded by an inflamed, swollen area. Dental abscesses can form under and around teeth and in the gums. A tooth abscess in cat’s is a relatively common occurrence, especially in those cats that have periodontal disease or who have suffered some kind of physical trauma to their mouths. A cat abscess needs immediate attention from a veterinarian.
What Causes an Abscess in Cats?
There are several causes for cat abscess lesions, such as:
- Bacteria accumulating at the root of a tooth or at the gum line, resulting from untreated endodontic or periodontal disease.
- Physical trauma. If your cat suffers a physical trauma, such as a broken tooth or mouth burn (common in cats, who are especially prone to chewing electrical cables), a cat abscess can develop if they do not see a veterinarian promptly.
- FORL lesions. These “cat cavities” occur spontaneously in many cats, causing pain and tooth loss; the cavities are excellent breeding ground for bacteria, which can ultimately lead to an abscess in cats.
Symptoms of Dental Abscess in Cats
Since cats can’t communicate their discomfort in words like humans, it is up to the pet owner to look for symptoms of a tooth abscess in cat’s, such as:
- Pawing at the mouth (indicating pain)
- Reluctance or inability to eat, resulting in weight loss
- Bleeding from the nasal region
- Facial swelling
- An inflamed open wound on the gum, called a gum boil
- The appearance of a facial wound, usually along the jawline, which will drain pus and blood.
If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. An untreated abscess in cats can lead to a systemic bacterial infection, tooth loss, and bone loss in the jaw.
Treatment of Dental Abscess in Cats
The veterinarian will conduct a visual exam and may order dental x-rays to identify the source of the infection if it is not easily visible. The veterinarian will usually prescribe a course of oral or injected antibiotics to bring the infection under control, as extracting the offending tooth while the abscess is active can cause major complications.
Once the infection is handled, the course of action is usually extraction. A cat abscess needs to be managed properly, as such a lesion can damage the jawbone or spread to the rest of the body.
Prevention of Tooth Abscess in Cat’s
The best way to avoid the preventable tooth abscess in cat’s is to take care of your pet’s teeth. You can’t prevent trauma damage, but with proper oral care, you can eliminate the chance of causing a dental cat abscess due to periodontal disease or endodontic disease.
- Use a pet toothpaste at least twice weekly, especially with breeds that are more suspect to dental problems, such as Siamese, Burmese, Persian, and Somali cat breeds.
- Use a cat teeth cleaning product to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar and to keep the mouth flora in balance.
- Feed your cat hard “kibble” type food frequently, which will help scrub off plaque and keep tartar from forming.
- Check the cat’s mouth occasionally for broken teeth, oral lesions, or unusually bad breath.
- Take your cat to the veterinarian for a checkup twice a year, to make sure he or she is healthy.
If you exercise some preventive caution and give your cat the best possible food and dental care, the chances of a tooth abscess in cat’s is much reduced.