The Decision to Pull Lily’s Teeth

When Lily’s mouth symptoms were diagnosed as stomatitis, I found myself confused. I had never heard of this disease, and what my vet told me sounded awful. Even worse, she couldn’t offer me any guarantees about Lily’s future.

The first thing our vet did was put Lily on antibiotics. Her hope was that the disease would respond to the antibiotics and not return. That didn’t happen. Although Lily initially responded and her breath improved, as soon as the medicine ran out, her bad breath returned.

At this point, our vet said that the best thing to do was to have Lily’s teeth removed. She explained that Lily’s stomatitis was fairly advanced (meaning it was bad), and that it was extremely unusual for a young cat to get this disease.

This was when Lily was less than a year old. Not only did she have stomatitis, she also had glaucoma, which claimed her left eye when she was only five months old. Glaucoma typically affects elderly cats, not kittens. That told our vet that Lily has health issues, probably caused by inbreeding (she was a stray). Our vet feared that not removing the teeth would doom Lily to a very short life because of her history of medical problems.

I felt like I had been hit in the gut after hearing that we should have Lily’s teeth pulled. The guilt I felt was incredibly deep. How would she eat without teeth? If I had done something sooner would it have saved her teeth?

The decision to have Lily’s teeth pulled was the hardest one I had to make during this entire ordeal. I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. I worried about how my husband would take it because of the cost. But, mostly, I worried about Lily.

We went ahead and had her teeth pulled. The vet left her four canines, hoping that removing all the rest would clear up the stomatitis. I was told that about 80% of cats respond well to this procedure, but that it would take up to six months before we knew if it helped Lily.

After the surgery I took Lily back to our vet for frequent checkups. It became obvious fairly early on that the four canine also needed to be pulled. Our vet showed me how the rest of her mouth was showing improvement, but that the gums around the four remaining teeth was red and swollen, not at all better.

So, Lily underwent her second surgery and had the rest of her teeth removed. Now, we waited to see how much better she would get.

Lily did improve, but not much. The back of her throat was the worst, and it barely changed as a result of the surgeries. Her gums were the part of her mouth that showed the most improvement, though they were still red.

So, we now knew that Lily fell into the 20% of cats that didn’t recover fully after having all teeth removed. The next thing to do was start her on steroids to try and control the inflammation in the back of her throat.

First, we tried a steroid that I no longer remember the name of. The cat rescue group we adopted Lily from suggested that we try Prednisolone, a steroid cream that is rubbed in the ear. My vet agreed with this, and that is what we tried next. It took a while to get the right dose, but she eventually responded favorably to the cream.

Although the Prednisolone helped Lily, she was still in a lot of pain. Whenever she drooled, which was about once a week, I would give her the pain medicine I had. It was around this time that I started giving her Lysine. The Lysine helped quite a bit, though Lily continued to drool and have bouts of pain.

In desperation, I searched Amazon for any product that mentioned stomatitis and cats. It was a lengthy process, but that is how I discovered PlaqueOff. The cost of the bottle for PlaqueOff for Cats was, at that time, about $12 [the current price is $39+ because the person I bought from is no longer selling it and the person who is has decided to engage in price gauging!), and I was willing to spend $12 on it, hoping that it would help.

The bottle clearly states that it can take up to eight weeks before improvement is seen, so I was aware that this was not a quick fix product. I checked Lily’s mouth after four weeks and was thrilled to see improvement in the back of her throat.

Eight weeks after starting PlaqueOff showed even more improvement, as you can see from the pictures on my Review of PlaqueOff for Cats. While there was still inflammation in the back of her throat and gums, it was much better. Lily’s drooling was greatly diminished. In fact, it was around this time that I stopped giving her the pain medicine because she was no longer bleeding or drooling from her mouth. I still have the medicine, in case it is needed, but I suspect it will expire without being used.

As of this writing, it has been about a year and a half since Lily’s teeth were pulled. I look back at that time and know that we made the right decision. You would never know Lily has no teeth unless you look in her mouth. She eats dry food and has done great.

The food that I feed her is from Iams. Their food has very small, round kibbles that she can toss into her mouth. The kibbles are small enough that I don’t worry about her choking on them. She does eat differently since losing her teeth. Instead of eating out of the bowl, she drops the food onto the floor and eats them one at a time from there.


The Decision to Pull Lily’s Teeth — 12 Comments

  1. Bonnie,

    What you are feeling is completely understandable and I felt that way, too, before we had Lily’s teeth pulled.

    Having said that, I’d do anything I could to avoid having your cat’s teeth removed since he is feral and lives outdoors. He would lose half of his arsenal for keeping himself safe in fights. He also wouldn’t be able to eat the same as before. If he was indoors I’d have no reservation about telling you to have them pulled but as an outdoor cat I wouldn’t do it.

    Are you able to keep him indoors?


  2. Please tell me I am so torned up! Whether to pull his teeth or not !!! He is part feral and is use to going out! But he has been to vet about 5 times so far !!!tell me is puling fair! I am not well myself !!!and the stress is killing me…

  3. Cynthia,

    I am so sorry for not seeing your post sooner!

    It sounds like you and Angela have had a very difficult time. It can be so hard watching a cat suffer from stomatitis, but it also sounds like you’ve done everything you can to help her.

    How is she doing now? I hope that your update will be a positive one.


    P.S. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan so I love that your boys named Angela’s sister Hermione! That’s also where Lily got her name from.

  4. I can’t believe the last comment where the person questioned your motives for this site. As for myself, I am thrilled to find this website and the information you put on it. I have looked at a couple of other sites on stomatitis but they are very clinical, not personal like yours and, to me, this is a very personal issue. First of all, I never had a cat before this. I have had dogs my entire life, growing up and throughout my marriage. Last summer, we adopted two sister kittens, which our three boys named Angela and Hermione. Angela began having the teeth and mouth problems a few months ago. She was barely a year old. To make a long story short, because I know that you have lived the story, our regular vet tried antibiotics, Aquadent in her water, Greenies treats for plaque, pain med, and at one point did a dental prophy to clean her teeth. I was already giving her L- lysine for feline herpes and it was working beautifully for that. When the inflammation kept returning, she sent us to another vet, who is considered a “dental specialist”. She put Angela to sleep and x-rayed her teeth. She called me and immediately recommended pulling all of her teeth. She pulled the side teeth right away, and some of them were disentigrating. She could tell that the other teeth were headed in the same direction. In addition, she also had the extreme inflammation in her throat. I felt confident giving the go- ahead to remove all of the teeth, even though I had starting reading your website in the meantime, because we had literally tried so many of the things that you mention already. Angela had her teeth removed two days ago. After reading your site, I knew to ask the dentist if she had done x-rays after surgery to check for bone fragments. She assured me that she had and was actually thrilled that I was informed enough to ask that question( so that is a high five to you). Angela seemed great yesterday; she was eating canned food and even a couple of tiny bites of my son’s jelly sandwich. (We never normally give the cats people food, but she was attacking him for it so he just had to indulge her). Today, she is not as well. I think her pain shot is wearing off because they said it would last about three days. I did come home with some pain med to give, capsules to open and sprinkle in her food, and started trying to give her that last night, but now am struggling to get her to eat anything to give the med in. I am praying that she is just hurting now from surgery and stitches and not the stomatitis. We are so hoping that pulling her teeth will take care of the problem. I have ordered the plaque off from amazon and plan to start giving her that as well as continuing the lysine. I want her to have every advantage I can give her. It is just amazing to have somewhere to share all of this with someone who understands. Sorry my post is so long, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to share our story.

  5. Brian,

    I want to assure you that Lily is every bit as well cared for as I’ve written. More so, really. We all adore her and we all look forward to those times when Lily chooses to bless us with a bit of her love. She is happy, healthy, and well loved.

    On a side note, Lily was sitting on my lap as I read your comment and started writing mine. She jumped down shortly after I took this picture, which isn’t great because I couldn’t see what I was doing when I took it.

    Lily sitting on my lap at the computer

    As for my motives, I created this site to share my experiences with stomatitis and what worked for us because there was almost no information that I could find on the Internet when I started on this painful journey. Simple as that.

    I don’t know if your cat has already had his (her?) teeth out yet. If not, please make sure that the vet does post-surgery x-rays to verify that all the tooth fragments are removed. Cat teeth are very brittle and break easily. Fragments are often left in the gums, which can cause a variety of health problems, and not all vets use post-op x-rays to make sure they are all gone.

    Please keep us posted on Snowshoe and whether or not you found something that works.


  6. Hi, I dont doubt that poor Lily is affected by this disease, I just hope that she is as well cared for as the story goes and that you have taken a bad situation and turned things around for the positive.
    Maybe its me being the skeptical husband of a cat lover.(our beloved furry child is similarly affected by this disease)
    But it almost seems as if this website is more motivated by commercial or monetary gain and that Lily is being used as a shill to promote the sales of this specific product.
    Regardless the motivation, it is important to get the word out and educate parents of loving pets such as our beloved snowshoe about such a painful menace to your furry child’s well being and quality of life. I will need to further research this product and its ingredients and active chemical constituents before I ultimately decide to purchase this product. I certainly have spent alot already in vet bills and oral surgeries. We too are being scheduled to have remaining teeth extracted by a specialized veterinary oral surgeon.

  7. I have added a forum to this site in an effort to make it easier for people to find and/or share information. I would like to invite you to take a look around and share what has worked for you (or what hasn’t), even if you’ve already shared it here. The forum will be a place where it is much easier to search for and find helpful information.

    You can visit the forum here.

    I will be posting this comment on all the pages of my site to make sure everyone who is subscribed to comments sees this, so I apologize if you get multiple copies of this message.

  8. Ok Rochelle..will do..:) have an appt. for teeth cleaning oct. 8 ((got pricing to $366 for cleaning/extra if pulling needed..) been a week on the lysine and plaque-off.. no change as of yet… did find some oratene antiseptic gel on Amazon that is supposed to help with inflamed gums/stomatitis in 5-7 days but didn’t .. so went back to putting a little aloe vera on his teeth.. wishing well to you and yours..:) carolyn

  9. Carolyn,

    I’m so glad this site has been helpful to you! Please let us know how your cat does after starting the Lysine and PlaqueOff, as well as if you get his teeth pulled. And, I’ll be sure to tell my daughter that you appreciated her video taking efforts.


  10. Hi owner of lilly… i am so thankful that you care enough about our furry little friends with stomatitis to create this site… My cat was not really diagnosed with it, but my vet said it could be and wanted to pull teeth… ouch… costing $700+… so the search and the finding your site… will post later after I get the lysine and plaque off on how he does… Should receive the products by sept. 18th 2014… currently he is not having pain for i am able to rub a little aloe vera on his inflamed teeth area without drawing my blood..:) p.s. thanks to the 13 yr. old video taker too..:):)

  11. Myka is lucky that you were able to catch this disease early. Hopefully your efforts will keep her from the severe pain that so many other cats suffer with.

    Your questions are all goods ones.

    Re: Wet vs. dry food
    When Lily was first diagnosed with stomatitis I, like you, though she would be better off eating wet food. I talked to my vet about this and she said that the opposite is actually true. The reason wet food isn’t good for many cats with stomatitis is because they have to work their tongues far more with wet food than with dry food when they eat and swallow it. Most cats with stomatitis don’t just have inflam gums. The back of their throats is also inflamed, like when we have really bad sore throats. According to my vet, using the tongue is painful when the throat is red and swollen.

    You can see an example of what the back of the throat can look like by going to The 6th picture shows the back of Lily’s mouth. The sides of her tongue in the back were terribly swollen and painful.

    2. No, I didn’t try different cat foods, but my vet did suggest it. Many cat owners have had success by changing foods. I decided not to because I have four other cats and didn’t want to deal with keeping their foods separate. However, I probably would have changed Lily’s foods if nothing else had helped her.

    Good luck with Myka, and please come back to let us know how she does.


  12. I have a cat that is newly diagnosed in the early stages of this.

    I’m curious:

    1. Why do you feed dry food instead of wet? Just seems the wet would be easier…I’m genuinely curious.

    2. Have you tried any different pet foods? Like, ommiting corn or potatoes, etc. Just wondered if that makes any difference.

    Thank you so much for sharing this info about your journey with Lily. I’m so worried for my Myka, and I’m trying to learn all that I can.

    At this point, our vet has us brushing Myka’s teeth and we are trying C.E.T. AquaDent. I’m looking at food options too. I’ll check your PlaqueOff. I do have a cat that is on the edge of a Thyroid issue, but Myka is not.

    Thanks again.

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