Stomatitis, also known as Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Stomatitis/Faucitis or Ulcerative Stomatitis is a very debilitating disease of cats that can lead to loss of all the teeth at a very early age. Although the causes are not known, the disease is possibly caused by an inappropriate overreaction of the immune system to plaque that is normally present on the teeth. This heightened immune response leads to severe oral inflammation, oral ulcers, foul breath, resorption of hard dental tissues, and difficulty in eating, sometimes at a very early age. Viral infection may play some role in this disease, but nothing has been proven at the time of this writing (08/2010). Some patients have large areas of their oral cavity affected with painful, raw areas. This can be a very debilitating condition for the cat.
A large amount of anecdotal information exists on the internet regarding miracle cures for this condition. If proven effective medical treatments are developed in the future, veterinary dental specialists like Dr. Woodward will be at the forefront in utilizing and publicizing this information. A few cats respond to medical treatment, which revolves around meticulous plaque control and anti-inflammatory medication. Other treatment strategies include drugs that modify the immune response of the patient such as cyclosporine. In Europe, some success has been seen using Feline Omega Interferon, but results in the U.S. have been less encouraging.
For most cats, extraction of all the teeth provides the best solution, usually resulting in a much happier patient shortly after surgery. Interestingly, after treatment these cats will frequently prefer dry food, even though they have no teeth! Although this treatment might seem overly aggressive, owners are uniformly pleased with the results a few weeks down the road.