Gingivitis in cats

by Kurt (Admin)

What are the available treatments for gingivitis in cats when sedation for dental cleaning is not an option? Cats with heart conditions, for example, shouldn't be sedated, which is a requirement for thorough dental cleaning.

This question (rephrased by me here) comes from Gail, one of our readers, who left a comment in response to a question asked by another reader. The original question centered around whether or not it is safe to sedate a Persian cat with a heart murmur.

Similarly, Gail's female cat, Scooby, has gingivitis and a heart problem. So, Scooby can't have her dental cleaning because she can't be sedated. Gail's comment, which appears on that page, is below...

Scooby has gingivitis! No sedation!
by: Gail

Scooby has a heart problem discovered at her last visit to the vet. They won't clean her teeth saying they would need to sedate her and fear she wouldn't make it. Scooby will no longer eat her dry food (probably hurts too much.) and is on wet food full time.

I have bought a water additive that is more for bad breath than helping with the gingivitis... and Scooby won't drink her water if I add it to the water. I think she might be able to smell or taste it. I am no longer using it.

Is there anything I can do to help. I really need some advice.


If dental cleanings can't be done, what are the alternatives for treating gingivitis in cats? If you have any experience with this, or any information on the topic, Scooby and Gail need your help.

Please use the comments to shed light on this topic.

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Aug 18, 2011
removing plaque without anaesthetic
by: Anonymous

I managed to scrape some of the calcified stuff off my cats teeth myself, even though his gums were very sore. I petted him for ages and he let me lift the side of his mouth.

I got my fingernail under a big chunk of stuff and flicked it off. Then I did the other side. Next time I managed to scrape some off with a metal tweezers.

He seemed to know I was trying to help him.
It doesn't seem to hurt him as long as you don't touch the gums. You don't get it all off but it's better than nothing.

Sep 08, 2010
by: Move Out Cleaning Victoria

I finally found a site that talks about cats! I loved I can I ask question regarding on my cat's health and attitude and hopefully you can help me. Thanks again for giving us the information about gingivitis in cats.

Aug 30, 2010
by: Ashleigh

Brushing her teeth may be the only option. I have a five year old cat that also has gingivitis. Luckily we caught it in a very early stage and he was given a water additive as well as a couple shots. You may want to ask your vets what shots are safe for your kitty.

The shots he was given were to help with his red, swollen gums, and one to help with the infection. It only last a few weeks but it really worked! We have also started brushing his teeth as often as possible. He has adjusted to it very well. Maybe that is worth a try for your girl.

Also, as previously suggested, you may want to get her some chewy/crunchy toys to play with. That may help get some plaque off of her teeth. Make sure they are not too hard though; it may hurt. Definitely ask your vet their suggestions about changing anything for Scooby.

I also have a different cat that has a grade 2 heart murmur. When he was under anesthetic while being neutered, he stopped breathing! Luckily he was given immediate attention and survived. Heart problems are very serious. Make sure to never let your kitty go under anesthetic for a teeth cleaning.

Good luck!

Aug 26, 2010
Some ideas
by: Kurt (Admin)

OK, Gail, I've put together a couple of ideas on this topic.

Obviously regularly brushing your cat's teeth would be a good idea. It's really hard to get most adult cats used to the idea, but if you can ease her into it, it might be worth a try.

Obviously you'll want to check with your vet before you start your cat on any products. I'm a big believer in seeing a specialist when pets have specific health issues.

Although there may not be any in your area, there are veterinary dental specialists. A veterinary dentist may be able to offer creative and unique solutions. I'm aware that this may be a financial burden you're not able to take on.

Shawn Messonnier, DVM, has some recommendations on pet dental health and recommends a gel product that you can rub on your cat's gums.

Does Scooby have stomatitis? That's a painful condition that usually requires removing some teeth.

You can read about @Mariodacat and his stomatitis experience.

There are mixed opinions on whether or not dry food or crunchy "tartar control treats" actually help prevent tartar. There is, however, a product that some veterinarians recommend called C.E.T. Chews.

This product is freeze-dried fish combined with enzymes. You can buy them at Amazon. If she'll eat them, it may help, although these types of products are usually for prevention.

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