My friend’s cat, Ginger, was drooling the other night and Janice (her owner) was worried. But, this is fairly common among cats. In fact, you will probably notice that your cat foams at the mouth after riding to the vet’s office or getting a dose of medicine!
Some cats salivate profusely when scared. Others actually suffer from motion sickness (as noted by the drool-soaked cat carrier). Others will smack their lips and foam at the mouth if they feel nauseated or are about to vomit a hairball. However, the occasional cat drools with pleasure while he or she is being petted.
All of these causes of drooling are usually benign and short-lived. But if your cat is drooling or foaming at the mouth for no obvious reason, if the drooling persists for more than an hour or if there are other symptoms, then it’s time to call the vet.
A little drooling aint so bad!
Abnormal drooling happens for two major reasons: problems occurring inside the mouth and those occurring elsewhere in the body. Pain or nausea stimulates drooling. Oral problems or neurologic conditions can interfere with swallowing, causing saliva to overflow.
Some of the oral problems are listed below:
· Dental disease (broken, decayed, or abscessed teeth)
· Gum disease
· Something foreign in the mouth (fish bone, string wrapped around tongue, stick)
· Oral mass (tumor)
· Oral ulcer or laceration
· Salivary gland cyst
· Bee stings
Other signs of oral disease that may accompany drooling are foul breath, blood-tinged saliva or your cat’s refusal to eat the usual foods. You will notice that your cat might look uncomfortable and paw his or her mouth. Sometimes drooling is the first and only sign of a problem.
Signs in other parts of the cat’s body:
· Disorders of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines—blockage, nausea
· Advanced kidney disease
· Exposure to toxins or caustic chemicals
Exposure to toxins is an important consideration in a drooling cat. Some household cleaning products might have been ingested directly or licked off his or her fur and/or some house plants might have burned the lining of the mouth and cause drooling.
Certain flea dips and insecticides are very toxic to cats and may cause drooling. These can also cause additional symptoms such as vomiting, muscle tremors, weakness, and lethargy. If your cat has these symptoms or you suspect a chemical exposure, go to your vet immediately. Bring the labels or product information with you if possible.
More often than not, dental disease is the leading cause of drooling and can be easily fixed and/or treated.
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