Stomatitis is is one of the most painful conditions cats can develop. Buckley suffered from this condition; a severe inflammation of the oral cavity in which the affected cat essentially becomes allergic to her own teeth. The outward signs of this condition are red, inflamed, often ulcerated gums. This can be extremely painful for cats. Treatment of this condition can be very frustrating. The goal is to control the inflammatory response. In many cases, a complete resolution of the problem may never be achieved.
Current treatment of stomatitis
To date, treatment usually involves a complete removal of all teeth. This approach sounds daunting to most cat parents, but if it is done by an experienced veterinary dentist, with proper pain control protocols, most cats tolerate the treatment well and recover quickly. Most cats have no problem eating without teeth; in fact, they feel so much better once the inflammation is gone that their eating habits will most likely be improved.
However, some cats will still need treatment with medication even after complete tooth extraction. Steroids are sometimes used, and cyclosporine therapy has shown some moderate success.
Success with new stem cell therapy
Recently, the veterinary team at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine treated a 14-year-old cat who had been suffering with gingivostomatitis for over a year with stem cell therapy. Despite having all his teeth removed, and despite receiving medication to control his pain, Bob continued to suffer from oral inflammation to the point where he would paw at his mouth and cry out in pain.
Bob’s guardian elected to enroll him in a clinical trial conducted by the Dental and Oral Surgery Service at the veterinary school and the UC Davis Regenerative Medicine Laboratory led by Dr. Dori Borjesson. The trial was investigating a novel stem cell therapy. Stem cells are known to have anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. Veterinarians at UC Davis were hopeful that this therapy, which involved extracting and isolating stem cells from Bob’s own fat tissue and injecting them back into Bob, would cure the disease.
After two stem cell treatments with no complications over a period of three weeks, Bob showed marked improvements. Rechecks after three, four and five months showed no signs of the stomatitis returning.
For more about Bob, his treatment, and dramatic before and after photos, please read the full story on the UC Davis website.
Photo of Bob via UC Davis website