Enlarged Gums in Cats

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Gingival Hyperplasia in Cats

Gingival hyperplasia is a medical condition by which a cat's gingival tissue becomes inflamed and enlarged. Enlargement is typically caused by dental plaque or other bacterial growth along the gum line. This condition is relatively rare in cats, and in many cases can be prevented with good oral hygiene habits.

Symptoms and Types

Common symptoms of gum enlargement include:

  • Thickening of the gums
  • Increase in the height of the gums
  • Pockets developing in the gums
  • Areas of inflammation in the gums
  • Growth/mass formation on the gum line

Causes

The most common cause of gingival hyperplasia is bacteria and plaque along the gum line. This disease will also affect the bones and the structures supporting the teeth. If left untreated, this condition can lead to periodontal disease.

Diagnosis

Gingival hyperplasia is often diagnosed during a veterinary mouth inspection. If there is a gingival mass present, a biopsy will be performed, with tissue taken from the mass for examination, so that cancer (neoplasia) can be either confirmed or ruled out. X-ray images will also be taken to rule out potentially serious underlying medical conditions.

 

Treatment

In some more serious cases, surgical repair and/or deep cleaning and re-contouring of your cat's gums may be performed to help return the gum line to its original shape and to return any formed pockets to normal. Pain medication will be given as needed to reduce discomfort for your cat. Overall, an in depth dental cleaning, along with oral antibiotics (antimicrobials) will be used to clean and repair your cat's gums, and to reduce the swelling and enlargement.

Living and Management

It is important that you take your cat for routine dental cleanings, along with maintaining good oral hygiene, in order to prevent the formation or recurrence of enlarged gums. Animals with gingival hyperplasia generally will have a good outcome with treatment, although relapse is common. There are some potential complications with gum enlargement, including deeper pocket formation in the gums, which can encourage additional bacterial growth within the pockets.

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