You don't want your beloved kitty suffering from dental and gum disease. You also don't want to brush his teeth every day to help avoid these issues. Toothbrushes and felines don't mix without creating a crazy true story to tell later. Your vet might prescribe Biotene, a "brushless" gel that keeps Puffy's gums in shape.
Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal, or gum, disease. In this early stage, the gums are somewhat red but no sign exists of the ulceration that forms in later stages of the disease. Gingivitis is common -- the petMD website suggests 80 percent of dogs and cats over the age of 3 develop gingivitis to some degree. Symptoms include bad breath, plaque on the teeth and swollen gums. While causes vary, one of the primary factors is little or no oral health care. That's where Biotene products can help.
Marketed by Pet King brands, Biotene is a line for products formulated for the maintenance of your pet's oral health. Biotene veterinarian maintenance oral gel contains enzymes that aid in plaque removal and inhibit bacteria. Biotene doesn't contain antibiotics, alcohol or chlorhexidine, so it's safe for daily use. To administer, squeeze out a half-inch strip of gel from the tube and apply it to the upper and lower gums twice each day. For best results, apply Biotene after a meal, in the morning and evening. To further aid your cat's oral health, ask your vet about using the gel in conjunction with other Biotene products, including the brand's drinking water additive and therapeutic mouth spray. The products use a three-enzyme system derived naturally from milk products, according to Pet King.
By using Biotene to prevent the spread of gingivitis, you're helping to keep your cat's teeth in his mouth. If gingivitis spreads, inflammation and related infections eventually affect the bones and ligaments underlying his teeth. If nothing's done, advancing gingivitis causes teeth to come loose and fall out. That's not all -- bacteria in the gums spread throughout his body, causing potential cardiac, kidney and liver problems. Putting some gel on your cat's gums every day can spare you both a lot of heartache.
For serious cases of gingivitis or cases of stomatitis, just using Biotene isn't enough. Stomatitis refers to inflammatory mouth issues. As the disease progresses, your cat suffers constant mouth pain. Your vet might perform a biopsy of your cat's mouth tissue. While your cat's anesthetized, a vet or a tech will clean her entire mouth, removing plaque from the teeth. She'll take X-rays for thorough examination of your cat's mouth. Affected teeth might face removal. Your vet will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications for pain and antibiotics to get rid of infection. She may prescribe stronger oral care products, including those containing chlorhexidine.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.