Canine Stomatitis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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    What is Stomatitis in Dogs?

    Photo Credit: Veterinary Dental Center

    Canine Stomatitis is a condition of the mouth characterized by the irritation and inflammation of the soft tissues. In most instances, the condition causes ulcers to form inside of the dog’s mouth including the lips, tongue, gums, and back of the throat. Due to inflammation and ulcers, great discomfort and pain occurs, making it difficult for your dog to eat, drink, and even swallow in some cases. 

    What Causes Stomatitis in Dogs?

    Unfortunately, there is usually no single cause of stomatitis but is often associated with the development of dental disease. When dental disease develops, plaque accumulates along the gum line leading to swelling and irritation. Over time, bacteria multiply and the gums become infected. However, this is not always the case when it comes to Canine Stomatitis. Other possible causes behind Canine Stomatitis include: 

    • Hormone Disorders 
    • Kidney Failure 
    • Negative reaction to medications
    • Fungal or viral infections
    • Biting of toxic substance like certain plants or chemicals 

    Who’s at Risk of Developing Stomatitis?

    Canine Stomatitis is most commonly observed in certain breeds of dogs that are predisposed to the condition, including Cavalier King Charles spaniels, cocker spaniels, and Maltese.  Breeds that are at a higher risk of developing Gastritis include German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Shar-peis. 

    What are the Symptoms of Stomatitis?

    The most common symptoms of Canine Stomatitis include: 

    • Inflamed or swollen tissue in the mouth 
    • Odorous breath 
    • Ulcers in the mouth
    • Discomfort when eating or drinking
    • Excessive plaque on the teeth 
    • Increased saliva production and drooling 
    • Loss of appetite/weight loss

    How Can Stomatitis in Dogs Be Prevented?

    At-home dental care and keeping up with veterinary dental appointments is the best way to prevent stomatitis and other dental issues from occurring. A professional cleaning will reduce the build-up of tartar and plaque that leads to dental disease.

    How is Stomatitis Diagnosed?

    Diagnostic testing will likely be performed to rule out any other diseases or dental issues that look similar to Stomatitis. A biopsy will be taken and histology performed.

    What is the Treatment for Stomatitis?

    Photo Credit: DoctorVet-Laser Therapy

    Unfortunately, Stomatitis is difficult to completely cure and many dogs will experience repeated episodes of the condition. However, long-term treatment plans can help to ease your dog’s pain and discomfort. 

    Since the condition is very painful, your veterinarian’s first priority will be to get your dog’s discomfort under control so that they can carry out normal functions such as eating and drinking. Anti-inflammatory medications will likely be administered as well as antibiotics to heal the infection.

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