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.