Feline Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease in cats is a common problem affecting their gums and teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, which leads to bacterial infection in the surrounding gum tissue. The condition can result in pain, inflammation, tooth loss, and other serious health complications if left untreated.

Symptoms of Feline Periodontal Disease

The symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and could go unnoticed until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage. Some common signs to look out for include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Drooling or excessive salivation
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat – Pawing at their mouth or face
  • Swelling in their face or jaw

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a dental examination.

Diagnosing Feline Periodontal Disease

If you suspect that your cat has periodontal disease, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian for a complete dental examination. The veterinarian will perform a physical exam and possibly recommend dental X-rays to determine the extent of the disease.

Stages of Feline Periodontal Disease

Feline periodontal disease progresses in stages, starting with mild gingivitis and eventually leading to advanced periodontitis. Understanding the stages of the disease can help pet owners recognize where their cats are if they have this disease.


This is the earliest stage of feline periodontal disease and is associated with inflamed gums. Their gums might appear red and swollen, and can bleed easily when touched. At this stage, the disease is reversible with proper dental care.

Early Periodontitis:

In this stage, the infection has begun to spread from the gums to the deeper tissues surrounding their teeth. Their gums can recede and pockets can form between their gums and teeth, allowing bacteria to accumulate. This stage is still treatable with proper dental care.

Moderate Periodontitis:

At this stage, the infection has progressed further and there will be significant damage to the tissues supporting their teeth. The pockets between their gums and teeth become deeper, leading to increased risk of tooth loss. Treatment at this stage will involve more aggressive dental procedures such as root planing and tooth extractions.

Advanced Periodontitis:

This is the most severe stage of periodontal disease, where there is extensive damage to the tissue supporting their teeth. Their teeth could become loose or fall out, and there will be significant pain and discomfort for your cat. Treatment at this stage will usually involve tooth extraction and other advanced dental procedures, as well as antibiotics to manage the bacterial infection.

Treating Feline Periodontal Disease

Treating feline periodontal disease varies depending on the severity of the disease. In mild cases, regular dental cleanings and at-home tooth brushing are usually enough to reverse their condition. In more advanced cases, more aggressive treatment will be necessary.

Some common treatments for feline periodontal disease include:

  • Dental cleaning: This involves removing plaque and tartar buildup from their teeth and gums. Depending how your cat tolerates cleanings, the cleaning can be done under anesthesia.
  • Antibiotics: To manage the bacterial infection associated with periodontal disease, antibiotics can be prescribed by the veterinarian.
  • Tooth extraction: In advanced cases where teeth are loose or severely damaged, tooth extraction could be necessary to prevent the infection from spreading further.
  • Root planing: This involves cleaning the teeth’s roots to remove bacteria and smooth out any rough areas that could trap bacteria and cause further damage.
  • At-home dental care: Regular tooth brushing and using dental products such as water additives, dental chews or treats, and oral gels can help maintain good oral health and prevent periodontal disease from progressing.

Preventing Feline Periodontal Disease

Prevention is key when it comes to periodontal disease. The best way to prevent the disease is by having a regular dental care routine for your cat, including daily brushing and regular veterinary checkups. Feeding your cat a balanced diet and giving them teeth friendly chew toys can also help reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth.