There are many reasons as to why a dog may bleed from the mouth, and some have nothing to do with oral diseases. Noticing bleeding from your pooch’s mouth triggers a feeling of panic which is justified since we cannot bear seeing our furry friends suffer. So can stomatitis cause your dog to bleed in the mouth? Let us start by breaking down what stomatitis is. Stomatitis sounds like a disease of the stomach when you first hear it, but it is, in fact, a disease of the gums and the mouth. The condition is identifiable by inflammations in the gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Sometimes the inflammations develop into ulcers, swellings, and lesions that make it hard for dogs to groom and eat. In some cases, lesions and deep erosions occur in the areas of the lips that lie against larger teeth especially if the dog has plaque.
Causes of stomatitis
The exact causes of stomatitis are still unknown since the disorder does not appear as a primary condition but as an underlying issue. Stomatitis always seems to occur together with some other canine diseases. Some of the diseases with stomatitis as an underlying condition are the plaque, allergies, lymphoma, fungal infections, and renal disease. The many causes of stomatitis cause it to manifest differently in the dog's mouth depending on the underlying cause. Sometimes it will show up as lesions on the gums, other times it will manifest as inflammations on the roof of the mouth.
Symptoms of canine stomatitis
Signs of stomatitis vary mostly because the condition occurs as an underlying disorder together with other diseases. The most common symptom, however, is bleeding in the mouth. Bleeding mainly occurs in the gums and any other part with lesions or ulcers caused by the disease. Your dog may also have bloody saliva from the bleeding in the mouth. It is essential, however, to note that bleeding gums is not exclusive to stomatitis as other canine oral diseases may cause your dog to bleed in the mouth. The advisable thing to do when you notice your dog bleeding from the mouth is to visit a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Other symptoms of stomatitis include excessive drooling, difficulty in eating, weight loss, reluctance to groom, and pawing at the gums. If stomatitis occurs as a result of plaque, then you may notice lesions on your dog’s inner lips on areas that lie over the larger teeth. Plaque-related stomatitis is not a direct result of the plaque but an adverse reaction to the immune system fighting off the plaque.
Stomatitis treatment mostly depends on the underlying disease that causes it. A full diagnosis is necessary before commencing treatment. The diagnosis mostly involves a culture of the bacteria that the veterinary collects from the gum line. A biopsy of the oral lesions and a blood test is also necessary to eliminate more serious causes like cancer and renal disease. Once the vet pinpoints the underlying illness, then treatment can begin.
Selective teeth extraction and professional dental cleaning are some of the treatment procedures for stomatitis especially if it is a result of plaque. A full tooth extraction might be necessary for severe cases. If the stomatitis is not a result of plaque, it might be treated with thorough dental cleaning and treatment of the underlying disease causing it. Your vet might also apply a sealant on the teeth to prevent plaque accumulation and reduce the chances of your dog getting plaque and stomatitis in the future.
Post-treatment care is necessary and mainly involves maintaining excellent dental hygiene. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily with enzymatic dog toothpaste and giving a dose of any prescribed medication helps expedite the recovery. Switching the diet to soft foods or hard foods softened with broth is necessary for dogs that undergo a full tooth extraction. With proper care, a dog can live a long, fulfilling life even with all teeth removed
Dog breeds prone to stomatitis
Every dog has the potential to contract stomatitis if they do not get proper oral care. Some breeds, however, are more susceptible to the condition than others. Small fluffy dog breeds like the Maltese, Eskimo dogs and Havanese are very prone to contracting chronic ulcerative paradental stomatitis (CUPS). The disorder mostly manifests as a fiery red mouth and tongue in small dog breeds with symptoms such as drooling and oral discharge. Cavalier King Charles spaniels, pugs, and dachshunds are also prone to stomatitis.
It is a harrowing experience for every dog owner when they notice that their dog is bleeding from the mouth since it is impossible to pinpoint the cause of the bleeding immediately. It is, however, not a reason to panic as bleeding can be from a mild and treatable disease or a self-inflicted oral injury. A proper diagnosis will pinpoint the problem, and an appropriate plan of treatment will follow. Dog owners can keep abreast with the most common health issues facing dogs and symptoms to common canine diseases with the Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook. In addition to providing a wealth of knowledge on dog health, the handbook also contains a chapter on emergencies with first aid procedures for a myriad of conditions. It also includes pictures that illustrate what to look for to identify different diseases in your pooch.