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Causes of Gingivitis in Cats

Quimby, J. M., T. Elston, et al. (2008). “Evaluation of the association of Bartonella species, feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus, feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus with chronic feline gingivostomatitis.” J Feline Med Surg 10(1): 66-72.

Gingivostomatitis is a common medical condition in cats. Clinical signs include red and swollen gums that may bleed easily, halitosis, and oral pain. The discomfort can lead to dysphagia, decreased appetite, and weight loss. The syndrome is likely to be multifactorial and it is suspected to involve an exaggerated immune response to either infectious or non-infectious antigens. Other factors that may be involved include genetic predispostion, diet, stressors, and the effects of domestication. Several infectious agents have been found in cats with gingivostomatitis such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), calicivirus (FCV), herpesvirus (FHV-1), and Bartonella. However, all these agents can also be found in healthy cats so proving cause and effect has been difficult. The 45 cats in this study were housed together, had a history of flea exposure, and were vaccinated with a modified live FVRCP vaccine. At the time of sample collection, 36 of the cats had active gingivostomatitis. Samples were collected and analyzed for infectious agents. All of the agents were found in the population with the exception of FeLV. However, evidence of infection with Bartonella species, FHV-1, FCV, FeLV or FIV was not overrepresented in the cats with gingivostomatitis and so the data fail to support the hypotheses that these organisms were a cause of gingivostomatitis in this population of cats. The researchers conclude that diagnostic test results for these infectious agents should be interpreted carefully as none appear to correlate to the presence or absence of disease.
>> PubMed abstract

Related articles:
Southerden, P. and C. Gorrel (2007). “Treatment of a case of refractory feline chronic gingivostomatitis with feline recombinant interferon omega.” J Small Anim Pract 48(2): 104-6.
>> PubMed abstract