Gum disease leading to an early death?

Our vet keeps telling us that one of our cats, Maya, isn’t going to live very long (perhaps a couple more years, despite only being around 2 years of age) due to a persistent gum disease which she’s had for about a year and a half, despite a diet of crunchy dry food and some meaty bones (not soft canned food). He says that the cats he’s seen with this condition never last more than 3 or 4 years, due to an associated immune deficiency and resulting poor nutrition, or something like that.

I suspect that he’s talking about lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis (LPS). But I’m not entirely sure.

We’ve had her put under for cleaning, and she’s received oral anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as C and B-complex vitamin supplements, but she’s only getting worse. It’s very hard to get her to eat, even when we now give her soft food (even if pureed with a bit of liquid added).

I’m wondering whether anyone has had a similar experience.

Unfortunately, I’ve had the same problem with one of my cats. We had her on heavy antibiotics for a while, and the doctor reccomended switching her food to the special one for renal deficiencies. She says that has worked well in the past. The poor cat has lost a lot of teeth, including a couple that had to be pulled because of the infection. I brush her teeth when she allows it or use a liquid cleaner most of the time -it is not as unconfortable and effectiveness is OK. Wish she would take bones or raw meat, but I am giving them all cooked meat as a treat.
Their life span is compromised because the infections extend to the digestive track, so we have to be very careful about that.

How do cats get gum disease? What can we do to prevent it? Guess it’s time to google.
Poor Maya. :frowning:

How do you prevent gum disease in cats? Well, in theory, from what I’ve Googled, you want to avoid soft processed foods like canned or cuts & gravy. Dry food and Stray Dog’s favorite, raw meaty bones, are better. And if the cat will LET you, you can brush her teeth.

Maya had a good diet, but brushing her teeth was never an option; she was taken in as a stray and has always very fearful and skittish (and downright weird, really). We can’t even approach her to pick her up, half the time. So I don’t think there’s anything we could have done to prevent this, frankly.

I agree with Stray Dog and Dragonbones regarding the fact that looking after your cat’s diet is the best way to avoid many problems, big and small. Indeed, tuna might be quite appetizing, but it is not the best for the cat’s health. The bits get between the teeth and the acidity helps to rot them even faster. I learned this the hard way.
In our case, the cat’s inmunological system was compromised from a previous health problem, and the vet even theorizes that she had some kind of genetic weakness for this sort of thing.
I’ve also read about some kinds of vaccinations influencing their system, but do not quote me on this.
My cat is also very skittish, so I feed her lots of those teeth cleaning cookies -thankfully, it is her favorite treat, after that hairbal sticky goo. The liquid I talk about is great for these cases, as a drop or two do the trick.
Professional teeth cleaning is quite tricky because of the anesthetic used.
Once again I wish I could give them a patch of garden, with a steady diet of birdies, lizards, and even mice as treats, like my cat back home.

My mother’s two most recent cats both got gum disease and the resulting kidney disease and tooth loss. They were always fed on the ‘very best’ commercial ‘cat foods’. Her first cat, fed by my grandparents who did not believe in the new ‘pet food’ fad, lived to be 22 and never had to see a vet for any problems. She had all her teeth when she died. She was fed on table and butcher scraps, including cooked bones (now known to be risky - raw is better).

I would say drop the prescription diets for any cats with these problems. The vets are selling you the only product they can: highly processed food low in phosphorous and protein (to give the kidney less work to do). What they’re not telling you is that cats must have protein in order for their organs to function - including the kidney. That’s like telling a city dweller with asthma to breathe less, when what he should be doing is moving to the mountains where the air is cleaner and oxygen is more abundant. The key is to feed high quality protein, which is essential for the animal’s health and very, very easily processed by the kidney.

The protein in processed ‘pet foods’ is very low quality, and only 40 percent bioavailable (the cat will only get 40 percent of what is shown on the label, which in renal ‘prescription diets’ is already dangerously below the required levels). The protein in eggs, raw or cooked, is 100 percent available - and eggs are an excellent (almost perfect) food for our pets (take out the white if feding daily). In raw meat, the protein is 95 percent available. Cottage cheese is also excellent. But make sure there are bones present, as in a chicken leg (great daily meal for a cat). The cat will not eat all the bone, but will work the teeth and gums hard to get the meat off.

Please, don’t be sold on processed foods as the cure for an ailing pet and certainly not as the basis of a healthy diet. Our renal failure animals were given months to live but all but one thrived on to live to a normal living age, and they were fed primarily raw meaty bones (much more meat than bones for these guys, because of the phosphorous in bones) with some supplements to aid kidney function.

One of our adopted poodles had severe kidney and liver disease; her owner completely saw the sense of feeding the right diet, which she did brilliantly, and the vets are all amazed at the dog’s unexpected progress - they are baffled, but we just shared a knowing smile (I do educate my vets about this, and they do start to listen when they see such results). Check out the newsletter archives at for more info on diets and supplements for renal disease. You’ll be blown away by the sense of it all. :wink:

Very best of luck with your cats.