Put simply, gingival hyperplasia is a disease that causes the tissue of a dog or cat’s gums to grow enlarged, so that the gums begin to extend past the top of the pet’s teeth. This can cause major problems in dental health: food can get trapped between the teeth and gums, potentially leading to periodontal disease. While some breeds are more prone to developing gingival hyperplasia, any cat or dog can develop the condition, particularly without attention to basic dental hygiene.
Discover more about how to detect this disease, its causes, and how gingival hyperplasia in dogs and cats is diagnosed and treated.
Causes of Gingival Hyperplasia in Cats and Dogs
This condition is fairly uncommon in cats. For some dogs, the cause of this illness is rooted in genetics. Breeds of dogs that are particularly prone to getting gingival hyperplasia are Great Danes, Collies, Dalmatians, and Boxers.
Gingival hyperplasia can also be the result of poor dental hygiene and periodontal disease. As plaque builds up on the teeth and bacteria gets caught in the gums, the tissue can become inflamed.
Finally, gingival hyperplasia can be a result of the usage of some medications, including cyclosporine, phenobarbital, and calcium blockers such as nifedipine and nitrendipine.
Symptoms of Gingival Hyperplasia
The main symptom of gingival hyperplasia is enlarged gums. The gums begin to expand so much that they cover the teeth. This can happen over the whole gum line, or the gums may just cover up some teeth. This can be painful for pets, and they may lose their appetite and become lethargic. Gums may appear red or inflamed, and pets may drool or have blood in their saliva. You may also see lesion-like masses on the gums of your cat or dog.
Treatment for This Painful Condition
Gingival hyperplasia is generally diagnosed when your vet is examining your pet’s mouth, and your vet may take a biopsy of the tissue in your pet’s gums. Treatments can involve discontinuing certain medications, especially if your vet suspects the condition is occurring as a side effect. A good teeth cleaning can help and antibiotics may also be prescribed. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the excess tissue.
Be sure to contact your vet if you notice any of the above symptoms of gingival hyperplasia, or any other odd eating behavior or issues with your pet’s teeth. Yearly exams are the best way to make sure your pet’s mouth and teeth get checked out by a professional, and to catch any potential problems early.
Since periodontal disease can lead to heart, kidney, liver, and lung diseases, dental health and care is very important for pets.
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