Feline's bad breath may be sign of other health problems

  • Gary is a 1-year-old, male gray tabby with a white chest. He was brought to Buddy by one of its dog volunteers. He is somewhat on the shy side, but otherwise very friendly.

    Gary is a 1-year-old, male gray tabby with a white chest. He was brought to Buddy by one of its dog volunteers. He is somewhat on the shy side, but otherwise very friendly. Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Moo Moo is a very friendly black and white female. She was adopted from Buddy as a kitten and then returned two years later. Her adopters said that she just wasn't bonding with them. Stop in and visit with her. She is very people friendly, is getting along with Buddy's other cats and loves attention.

    Moo Moo is a very friendly black and white female. She was adopted from Buddy as a kitten and then returned two years later. Her adopters said that she just wasn't bonding with them. Stop in and visit with her. She is very people friendly, is getting along with Buddy's other cats and loves attention. Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

 
By Mary Hayashi
The Buddy Beat
Posted1/6/2022 9:33 AM

Some feline caregivers are surprised to learn that their pets may suffer from some of the same medical symptoms as people do.

I am convinced that if you take a common-sense approach and find the similarity of symptoms, you are probable going to be able to diagnose your feline's medical issue sooner rather than later.

 

With that premise in mind, let's say you find your feline is suffering from bad breath that may rise to the level of halitosis, which means it's really offensive. The problem may be solved by merely implementing a home dental program.

There are many oral hygiene products that you can add to your feline's water to assist with breath odor and plaque reduction. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions if you need assistance in picking the proper solution for your pet's needs.

Every time you take your feline in for a dental, you probably receive a bottle of oral hygiene solution to put in the water as aftercare. Why not continue the practice on a daily basis?

Your feline's breath may also be impacted by the type of food you are feeding him. If you are feeding a fish-based food, how can you expect your feline not to have bad breath?

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Feline halitosis can also be the indicator of a significant medical condition. Feline periodontal disease is usually the first culprit, and the easiest to remedy, unless you have a feline that has a juvenile-onset periodontal problem.

Problems that begin juvenile are usually predisposed by genetics. That is especially true for some purebreds like Abyssinians, Siamese, Orientals, Egyptian Maus and Persians.

After having all of these as a purebred or mix in my home, they enjoyed better health once most of the teeth were removed, but then we are discussing an advanced case of periodontal disease.

Even when a feline has the onset of plaque, which is an early stage of periodontal disease, your feline's breath will be bad. A dental may prevent the next stage of the disease. If the soft tissue and the bones of the mouth are impacted, the gums will recede and bone loss will occur.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At this stage, you will need your veterinarian to remove the hard tartar and possibly an extraction.

If a tooth infects or begins to die at the root, your feline's mouth odor will become worse. An untreated feline mouth can even be the site of a tumor, which can smell.

Once you neglect your feline's mouth to this stage, you risk a host of problems. The most obvious being squamous cell carcinoma, an almost always deadly cancer tumor of the mouth. I say this because once you see signs of this type of tumor, it has progressed to the point of not being treatable, except for pain management.

Problems in a feline's mouth can also cause other medical concerns, which are better understood if you think of your feline's mouth as a gateway to the health of the body's organs.

The kidney is a good example. Your feline's kidney is meant to filter toxins from the body. This process slows down with age and is labored by toxins from the mouth. As a kidney begins to fail, blood finds its way into the urine.

Overall, a healthy mouth helps all the organs.

The bottom line, your feline's mouth odors should be a sign to seek advice from your veterinarian. You can only hope the problem can be solved with a dental and a change of diet.

• The Buddy Foundation, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 shelter. Call (847) 290-5806 or visit www.thebuddyfoundation.org.

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