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Radiographic findings in cats with chronic gingivostomatitis

Farcas N, Lommer M, Kass PH, Verstraete FJM. Dental radiographic findings in cats with chronic gingivostomatitis (2002-2012). J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014 Feb 1; 244(3):339-345.

The condition in cats of chronic gingivostomatitis is described by chronic, severe inflammation involving the gingiva, buccal mucosa, and caudal aspect of the oral mucosa. The palate, oro-pharynx, and tongue can be involved on occasion. Feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is differentiated from other inflammatory oral diseases by the presence of caudal stomatitis. Many cats may also exhibit clinical signs of inappetance, weight loss, and unkempt hair as a result.

In this retrospective case-control study, investigators compared dental radiographic findings in 101 cats with FCGS and 101 cats (controls) with other oral diseases. The control cats were age- and treatment date- matched with the cases with FCGS. They evaluated full-mouth dental radiographic views for distribution, pattern, and severity of alveolar bone loss (periodontitis), tooth resorption, buccal bone expansion, tooth fractures, and retained roots.

Results showed that all cases of FCGS and 76% of control cats had periodontitis.  Difference in the extent of periodontitis, semigeneralized or generalized, was significant between FCGS cases (77%) and controls (28%). Severity of periodontitis was also significant where moderate to severe periodontitis was found in 92% of FCGS cases and 38% of controls.  Cases were also more likely to have external inflammatory root resorption and retained roots versus controls. Yet, fewer dental fractures were noted in cases than in controls. External inflammatory root resorption is a distinct entity occurring in response to periodontal ligament injury or inflammation.  The radiographic appearance of this lesion shows as a loss of root substance associated with evidence of periodontitis or periapical inflammation. In this study, there was no difference noted between FCGS and control groups related to breed, sex, or presence of resorptive lesions or buccal bone expansion.

Therefore, the findings indicate that FCGS as a disease in cats is associated with widely distributed and severe periodontitis. There is also a higher prevalence of external inflammatory root resorption and retained roots with FCGS than other oral diseases. It behooves clinicians to obtain full-mouth dental radiographic views for cats with a diagnosis of FCGS to diagnose the extent of the problem. (VLT)

See also:
Lommer MJ, Verstaete FJ. Radiographic patterns of periodontitis in cats: 147 cases (1998-1999). J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Jan 15; 218(2):230-234.