Feline Gingivitis- It Might Be More Serious Than You Think
When it comes to taking care of your pets, the primary concerns usually revolve around getting them their shots, spayed/neutered, taking care of them if they have developed cancers or other major illnesses, etc. Pet owners can sometimes forget though, especially with cat owners, to check their pet’s oral hygiene.
Although it is rare for cats to develop feline gingivitis, it if happens and is left untreated, it can cause major eating problems for your feline friends in the future or cause an infection… which can then lead to starvation and unfortunately death. Emily Kingsley, an undergraduate at the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication, has recently had to face the difficulty that comes with having a cat diagnosed with feline gingivitis. This is Emily’s story, a journey she has gone through to help heal her furry family member Juno.
I realized about less than two months ago that Juno has juvenile gingivitis when I took her to my local vet for a checkup. The vet had never seen an 8-month cat (now 9-months) with such red gums (one of the signs of the condition), as gingivitis is rare in cats, most likely in older cats, but very rare for kittens.
Thankfully her’s wasn’t bad, just red gums… but she has not be in pain or had bad plaque buildup like most cases/extreme cases. Then the dental specialist suggested a full mouth cleaning and possibly a few back teeth pulled out via surgery, as they aren’t needed and usually are affected first. Once she gets x-rays the same day of the cleaning, they will pull out any diseased teeth if needed.
Why You Need to Take Action
If left untreated, it can develop into pain for Juno, her teeth can fall out at a young age, and if the gingivitis is bad enough, it can result in an infection which can sometimes kill the cat. It’s best to make sure her teeth stay clean, and if her gums can go back to pink, she should have no issues with regular cleaning. I will have to clean her teeth on my own about 5 times a week to make sure she’s all good, so that should be interesting.
Preparing for the Surgery
When I realized how hefty of a bill this was going to be, I went for a shot in the dark and started a GoFundMe page in order to fundraise all of the costs needed. I knew the surgery and cleaning was going to be around $900-$1000 at my local vet, and knowing that GoFundMe takes some fees for your fundraiser, I put my goal at $1,000. I started this 10 days ago from today, March 23rd, hoping to make $200, at max. I even pulled out a CareCredit Card in the meantime, which is a credit card for animal expenses in short, as I expected to pull most of this out of pocket. In those ten days, I had spread the link for the GoFundMe like wildfire on my Twitter page and Facebook, messaging old friends and family members to share my page. I never once asked a person to donate, only share, but I was blown away by people doing both.
On the 10th day, today, I got my last donation to cover the full $1,000 goal that I had, and I have never been so fulfilled with happiness in my heart. With the help of so many people, I am able to cover all the costs for her treatment, and her surgery is now scheduled for April 12th. As a full time student and almost full time worker to put a roof over my head and put myself through
school, I didn’t have the funds to do such a thing, but now she can get that treatment she needs and get on the road sooner to being healthy again! I couldn’t be happier to have the people in my community come together to help my cat, and I know Juno appreciates it too.
My advice to cat owners that are going through the same thing is to give your cat the most love possible! I couldn’t even imagine
how hard it is to have a cat in pain going through this, and the best thing is love, comfort, and treatment. Also, I know my cat is going to hate me after her surgery when I’m cleaning her teeth every day, but I know I have to be diligent in this in order for her to stay healthy!
As you have hopefully learned from Emily and Juno, feline gingivitis is no laughing matter or something to shrug off. Without the proper care early on, it can turn into a serious medical issue for your cat. Although the procedure may be pricey, GoFundMe can be the saving grace for those struggling financially. So long story short, make sure to pay attention to your furry friend’s health!