How to Treat Respiratory Mouth Sores in Cats

Mouth ulcers are a painful symptom of feline calicivirus.
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Mouth sores are common in cats with calicivirus. This aggressive virus accounts for approximately half of all respiratory illnesses in cats. Mouth sores or ulcers are painful, and can often be so inflamed or infected that a cat may stop eating. You can take steps to alleviate the pain.

Treating Respiratory Mouth Sores

Step 1

Visit your veterinarian. While antibiotics won't cure calicivirus, the medication will prevent or treat any secondary infections that develop as a result of the sores. Your vet can also give you oral or injectable pain medication, which may be necessary before your cat will eat. Since cats with respiratory mouth sores are often in a great deal of pain, giving her oral pills or liquids may be difficult. Ask your vet about injectable medication or options for compounding the medications into a gel that you can rub on your cat's ears or paws.

Step 2

Encourage your cat to eat. Many cats with mouth sores refuse to eat. Unfortunately, this can lead to a serious health complication called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. So it's critical to keep your feline companion nourished, even if the pain is severe. It's important to offer her very soft foods that she can swallow easily. Soft canned foods or meat baby food mixed with water are good choices. If you choose to use baby food, be sure it contains only meat and broth, not cornstarch or other ingredients. You can also smear nutritional gel or paste on her paws. Her grooming instinct may kick in, causing her to lick it off, which will get some calories in her.

Step 3

Watch for and treat congestion. Often mouth sores aren't the only problem during a calcivirus outbreak. Many cats will also be very congested. Even if the pain medication makes eating easier, cats won't eat if they can't smell the food. Placing your cat in a small room with a humidifier when you offer her food may help her breathe more easily so she can smell the food.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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