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Stomatitis can refer to any inflammation in the oral cavity, but, clinically, it typically refers to the exaggerated immune response of some cats to minimal accumulations of plaque and calculus. In contrast, when such irritants accumulate on the teeth of relatively normal cats, periodontal disease with loss of tissue (eg, gingiva, bone) may occur.

It is important to identify cases with just alveolar and labial/buccal mucositis and no caudal mucositis. If these patients respond to adequate Phase I treatment (ie, complete cleaning and polishing, radiographs, and select extractions), stomatitis is unlikely.

Patients with caudal mucositis in the area bordered medially by the palatoglossal folds and fauces (formerly termed faucitis, which is less accurate) generally will not respond to Phase I treatment; Phase II intervention (ie, caudal mouth extractions, complete removal of all remaining premolars and molars, and debridement of inflamed tissues [eg, friable gingival margins and alveolar ridges]) is often recommended. Incisors can also be removed, but, unless there is significant inflammation or bone loss, the canine teeth are kept because of the additional surgical time and expense required for full-mouth extractions and/or owner preference to preserve the canines.

References and author information Show

Suggested Reading

  • American Veterinary Dental College. Nomenclature: oral pathology – inflammatory, neoplastic, other lesions. AVDC website. Accessed November 20, 2017.
  • Jennings MW, Lewis JR, Soltero-Rivera MM, Brown DC, Reiter Am. Effect of tooth extraction on stomatitis in cats: 95 cases (2000-2013). J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2015;246(6):654-660.

Heidi B. Lobprise

DVM, DAVDC Main Street Veterinary Hospital & Dental Clinic, Flower Mound, Texas

Heidi B. Lobprise, DVM, DAVDC, works in a private specialty practice in Flower Mound, Texas, and is the author or coauthor of 3 dental texts, including the second edition of Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Small Animal Dentistry. She earned her DVM from Texas A&M University and spent 20 years in practice before joining the veterinary specialty team at Pfizer Animal Health. She later served as senior technical manager of Virbac, where she helped organize and was the first president for the International Veterinary Senior Care Society. 

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