Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ask a Vet: Why Do Cats Drool?

cats droolThe movie Homeward Bound depicts the harrowing journey made by three courageous pets. Chance and Shadow are two canines who appreciate their feline friend, Sassy, although they bicker like most cats and dogs. Sassy says, “Like I said all along, poopsie, cats rule and dogs drool!”

Antagonistic or not, Sassy’s got a point. Certain breeds of dogs are known to drool more than others. However, there are reasons why some cats drool, too – and they aren’t always good.

Cloud Nine

Many cats drool when blissed out. This usually occurs after kneading, snuggling their owners, or even just dreaming. A sign of great happiness, most cat owners will look upon a puddle of drool with a sigh or a shrug.

The important thing to remember is that, while cat drooling can be a benign behavior, it can also signify disease, medical problems, or pain that shouldn’t be ignored.

The Details

Excessive salivation is called ptyalism, and is used to describe the abnormal overflowing of saliva. When we see cats drool at our office, it’s indicative of the following possible reasons:

  • Poisoning – Nausea and excessive salivation are sometimes associated with the ingestion of something poisonous or toxic. This can include antifreeze, human medications, or plants.
  • Dental issues – Oral lesions, root resorptions, and excessive buildup of plaque and tartar can all contribute to drooling. Broken teeth, exposed nerves, and advanced periodontal disease and decay can all lead to excessive salivation and drooling.
  • Kidney disease – Other signs may include weight loss, increased water intake, and more frequent urination, but foul smelling drool can also be a result of painful ulcers forming on the gums, tongue, and lips.
  • Other diseases – Any disease or disorder known to result in nausea can lead to hypersalivation, such as liver disease or cancer.
  • Problems with swallowing – Jaw fractures or other trauma from a fall or accident can cause reduced swallowing of saliva.
  • Stress – Car travel, exposure to predators, and fights with other animals can all make a cat feel nauseous. As a result, cats drool when their stomachs are upset.

The Course of Treatment

We recommend making an appointment for your cat as soon as you notice excessive drooling (when your cat is not curled up in your lap on cloud nine).

An oral examination can reveal any problems occurring inside the mouth, but this may require sedation or general anesthesia. If it is a dental issue, we may take digital x-rays of the teeth and gums. Sometimes, tooth extraction can eliminate drooling, and a course of antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications can reduce symptoms associated with excessive salivation.

Other diagnostics can help us zero-in on what is making your cat drool, and we’re happy to investigate the possible causes.

Cats Drool, Too

With regular oral examinations and wellness exams, we can help deter periodontal disease. Also, brushing your cat’s teeth at home, offering special diets, and daily attention to any developing issues can help keep your cat healthy and happy for years to come.

Please let us know if we can help you.

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