Diagnose and Treat Your Cat's Halitosis
Posted: May 1, 2009
Halitosis coming from your cat's mouth can be unpleasant for multiple reasons. Not only is the smell unwelcoming, but it can also signify various diseases. Cat owners can buy many different products, like cat toothbrushes, toothpastes, treats and drops that help with cat breath, tartar, and other cat dental issues.
There are many underlying diseases that could be causing the smelly odor from your cat's mouth:
- Gingivitis, inflammation of the gums
- Abscessed tooth/teeth
- Bone/hairball stuck in mouth
- Oral ulceration
- Foreign bodies in mouth, (i.e. grass awns, plant material)
- Tumors in mouth (oral neoplasia)
- Lung diseases (i.e. cancer)
- Kidney disease
- Periodontal disease, inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the teeth
- Oral pain/discharge (especially if there is blood)
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Difficulty eating
If you feel your cat has any of these problems, the best bet is to take it to a vet for a professional opinion. Veterinary care may involve various diagnostic tests to reveal the cause of the bad breath, which include:
- Thorough medical history and physical examination
- Complete oral exam (may require brief anesthetic)
- Full-mouth X-rays with dental machine
- Periodontal probing to identify possible periodontal diseases
Home treatments are dependent on what specific problem the cat has. Here are some prevention mechanisms you can take to help your cat's foul-smelling breath:
- Daily cat teeth brushing (look for special brushes/pastes available from a vet)
- Spraying .12% chlorhexidine (prescribed from a vet) into your cat's mouth once daily for one to two weeks.
- Follow special dietary considerations. Get input from your vet on what works the best for your cat.
- Diagnosis by a vet if the halitosis persists.