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The primary symptom noticed by most people is a cat that is no longer eating well (anorexia). In some cases, there will be weight loss, a poor haircoat, halitosis (bad breath), or a pet that seems ill in general. These cats are also painful around the mouth, and resist being petted there, and might even cry out in pain.
A diagnosis is made by your veterinarian when you bring in your pet for an exam. During the oral part of the exam your doctor will notice inflammation of the gums and tissue in the oral cavity. A definitive (positive) diagnosis is made by taking a biopsy of the tissue and sending it to a veterinary pathologist. This step is important because other diseases, especially cancer, can mimic this one.
This is an example of the seriously inflamed gums that occur in this disease.
It is caused by a specific reaction in the immune system, similar to, but not exactly like, allergies. It is also caused by the Feline Leukemia virus FeLV and the Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Your veterinarian can easily test for these diseases with the in-hospital laboratory.
There are several different therapies, used by themselves or in combination, used to treat this disease.
1. Laser Surgery
The laser machine can be used to help cats with this serious problem. The laser has been highly effective in treating this disease. It removes the inflamed tissue and makes the mouth much less painful. Sometimes several treatments are performed in order to gently removed just the layers of tissue that are inflamed. In many cases the use of the laser precludes from having to use any other treatment at all.
For most people liquid antibiotics are chosen due to their ease of administration in cats, not to mention cats whose mouths are in pain. To help ease administration only a small amount of antibiotic is needed. Your veterinarian or nurse will demonstrate the proper method of administration.
Your doctor will choose antibiotics that are safe and specific for the type of bacteria that are adding to the problem. They are given for one week initially, and are refilled after your pet's one week recheck. They are used periodically during the course of this disease as the problem flares up in the future. Your doctor will sometimes vary them for greater effectiveness.
A common cortisone preparation to use in this disease is DepoMedrol. It is given by injection, and lasts anywhere from several weeks to several months. It is a tremendous help in reducing the inflammation, and can be the difference between a pet that eats and one that doesn't. Because it is a potent medication, your cat must have a blood sample checked every 6 months while it is on this medication. A baseline blood sample is taken first so there is a comparison for when future blood samples are taken. As time goes on, some cats do not respond to this medication as well, and need the injection more frequently or in a greater dose.
Other cortisone type medications are used in this disease also. They are given at the discretion of the doctor since every pet is unique and responds to medications in different ways.
Interferon is used for its ability to help stimulate the immune system. This works well in some cats, although it is a relatively new therapy and has not proven itself in the long run. For a cat that is not responding to other medications it is well worth trying this drug. It is inexpensive and given in small amounts.
5. Tooth Removal
In cases that don't respond to medical therapy we recommend removing the teeth that are associated with the inflamed gums. If nothing else works, or your pet is showing side effects to the medication that is routinely used (particularly cortisone), this procedure makes sense. It can be a highly effective way to minimize the problem. Most cats feel significantly better when these teeth are removed. Your doctor will let you know if it is an appropriate therapy to use for your pet.
Every ill pet benefits from proper nutrition and husbandry. There are some specific Prescription Diet foods that are fed to keep your pet's weight up and give it the strength to fight this problem. Ask your doctor if one of them is appropriate for your situation.
In a chronic disease like Lymphoplasmocytic gingivitis it can be frustrating to give proper medication and care on a long term basis. It is important to understand that this disease is not cured, it is only controlled, sometimes quite effectively. It is important that you make your pet's care a high priority and give medication as prescribed. It is also important to bring your cat in for an exam at least every 6 months, and even more often in some situations.
Always let your veterinarian know if you are having difficulty giving medication or following their recommendations. They have extensive experience in diseases of animals, and can help you with your unique situation. Never hesitate to call them with questions, or bring your pet in for an exam if you think it is having a problem or are unsure of what to do because they are all part of your pet's health care team
The information on this page was obtained from the site www.allpets.com/petcyclopedia