Mouth Problems in Cats
Growths on the Gums
About 10 percent of all feline cancers occur in the mouth, and the majority of these are squamous cell carcinomas (the same cell type that occurs on white ear tips). This cancer tends to start at the base of the tongue-perhaps from cats licking off carcinogenic substances while grooming. This cancer is also associated with exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke.
Cats with oral cancers tend to drool, may sit with the mouth partly open, and often go to the food or water bowls but simply sit and do not try to eat or drink. There is often a bad odor associated with the mouth.
Eosinophilic ulcers can occur on the gums at the back of the jaw behind the last upper molars, although they are more likely to occur on the upper lip.
Treatment: Squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth respond reasonably well to surgery, followed by radiation if they are caught early. This is not a cure, but potentially provides some added quality time.
This article is excerpted from “ Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Copyright © 2008 by Delbert Carlson, DVM, and James M. Giffin, MD. All rights reserved.
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