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Saliva is constantly produced and secreted into the oral cavity from the salivary glands. Production of saliva increases because of excitation of the salivary nuclei in the brain stem. Ptyalism is a medical condition characterized by the excessive flow of saliva, also referred to as hypersalivation. The stimuli that lead to the over production of saliva are taste and touch sensations involving the mouth and tongue. Higher centers in the central nervous system can also excite or inhibit the salivary nuclei, and lesions involving either the central nervous system or the oral cavity can cause excessive salivation as well. Diseases that affect the pharynx, esophagus, and stomach can also stimulate excessive production of saliva. Ingestion of a toxin, caustic agent, or foreign body can also lead to ptyalism. Conversely, normal saliva production may appear excessive in animals with an anatomic abnormality that allows saliva to dribble out of the mouth, or are affected with a condition that affects swallowing. Pseudoptyalism (i.e., false ptyalism), on the other hand, is the release of excess saliva that has accumulated in the oral cavity.
Young cats may be more likely to have a form of ptyalism caused by a congenital problem, such as portosystemic shunt. Under normal conditions, the portal vein enters the liver and allows toxic components of the blood to be detoxified by the liver. When a shunt is present, the portal vein is inappropriately connected to another vein, which causes blood to bypass the liver. Enlargement of the esophagus is hereditary in Siamese cats.
There are many different causes for excessive salivation. You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, including vaccination status, current medications, possible toxin exposure, a background history of symptoms, and any other possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. Your doctor will need to distinguish between hypersalivation associated with a condition that is causing difficulty swallowing, from hypersalivation associated with nausea by looking for signs such as depression, lip smacking, and retching. Your doctor will also want to perform a complete physical and neurologic examination on your cat, with special attention paid to the oral cavity and neck. Diagnostic tools may include x-ray and ultrasound imaging to determine whether there is a problem in the structure of the liver, or in any other internal organs. If an immune-related disorder is suspected, your veterinarian may also want to conduct a biopsy of tissue and cells.
Excessive salivation at the mouth
A cavity in the mouth where the respiratory systems and gastrointestinal systems come together
Having to do with dead tissue
A treatment of certain neoplasms that is administered using an x ray
A bundle of fibers that are used in the process of sending impulses through the body
A medical condition in which the mouth becomes inflamed
Any disorder of the neurons that may be characterized by rolling, circling, falling, etc.
A condition of having only one side
Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ
The term for the nostrils and muscles in the upper and lower lips of an animal; may also be used to describe a type of tool used to keep an animal from biting
A change in the way that tissue is constructed; a sore
A disease of the brain of any type
Condition in which eating and/or swallowing is difficult
The part of the brain that contains the medulla oblongata and other vital portions of the brain.
The tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
To slow something down or cause it to stop
The condition of having a part of a body part protruding through the tissue that would normally cover it
Referring to the liver
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.