Halitosis may be caused by both oral disease and non-oral disease. Blood work will help your veterinarian determine if there are reasons beyond the oral cavity for the change in odor. Renal disease can create a uremic smell to your pet’s breath , and of course gastrointestinal diseases can also alter the odor from your cat’s mouth. A very good examination of your cat’s oral cavity is sometimes difficult to achieve, especially if your pet is experiencing pain or discomfort. Sedation and pain medication may have to be in place before your veterinarian can thoroughly evaluate all structures. Periodontal disease is the most likely cause of your cat’s bad breath but it is important to rule out all causes before pursuing dentistry. During this examination tooth structure will be evaluated as well as the oral mucosa and other structures for more insidious diseases such as oral cancers.
Cats being very mysterious little creatures have diseases of the oral cavity unique to this species. Nearly all cats have some form of gingivitis and will benefit from a dental scaling and polishing. The poor little guys with the awful smelling breath often times have serious gingivitis and an abnormal amount of inflammation and even resorption of the bone that supports the teeth. These cats are in serious need of dentistry and require extraction of the teeth to quiet the disease process. The reason some of these cats have an immune response to their teeth that results in so much pain and inflammation is still unknown. However, we can definitely help these guys out by removing the infected/affected teeth and removing the tartar from healthy teeth to decrease the vicious cycle from continuing. Some felines require full mouth extraction of all teeth to quiet the disease, where others only need the diseased teeth to be removed. Complete extraction of your pet’s teeth may seem extreme but if left unattended the disease will worsen and possibly cause more complications to your pet’s health. The sooner we evaluate the cause of the stinky breath the sooner we can intervene and halt the progression of these dental disorders.
Written by Dr.Mark Camilleri