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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Mouth Sores View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition

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Condition Overview

Mouth sores are most common in older dogs and cats who have some other illness, such as kidney disease or diabetes. Dental disease is also a common cause of painful mouth sores. Less frequently, cats get sick from upper respiratory viruses that cause mouth ulcers.

Symptoms

Pets who have sores in their mouths often drool and may paw at them. They typically refuse to eat due to the pain, and they may sit in front of a full bowl of food and whine.

Causes

Kidney disease, diabetes, dental disease, and upper respiratory viruses can all cause mouth sores.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be made by examining physical symptoms and by examining the mouth.

Treatment

Mouth sores need medical attention to treat the underlying cause of the problem. First aid can relieve the pain, keep your pet eating, and prevent the problem from getting worse until you are able to get treatment form your vet.

  1. Give topical treatment - mouth sores are extremely painful. Dogs and cats often refuse to eat and can become more sick as a result. One of the best ways to relieve mouth pain for dogs is an over the counter pain reliever like anbesol. Dip a cotton swab, gently open your dog's mouth, and dab it directly on the sores that you can reach. This works well for temporary pain relief, and it's perfectly safe to use on a dog for 1 - 2 days. Follow the package recommendations for how often to use it. Anbesol could be toxic to cats, it is not recommended.
  2. Ask your vet about aspirin - Buffered aspirin like Bufferin is another good short term pain reliever, but only for dogs, only for 1 - 2 days, and only if your veterinarian recommends it. Aspirin can be dangerous for cats, as well as for dogs with kidney or liver disease and dogs who are dehydrated. It can also cause stomach upset in dogs if used for too long. The usual dose is 10 - 25 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight 2 - 3 times per day. If your dog's mouth is very sore, crush the medicine and mix the powder in with a bit of milk.
  3. Give him ice - Crushed ice or ice water is a great way to offer your dog or cat some relief from mouth pain. Dogs relish licking and mouthing cold water or crushed ice, but cats may be reluctant to put anything in their mouths.
  4. Feed liquid or soft foods - You need to keep your pet eating despite the soreness of his mouth. The best way to do this is with soft or liquid diets. use a strong flavored liquid like bouillon, chicken, or beef broth to soften the food. Use 1 part commercial food to 2 parts liquid and mix it in the blender or food processor until it's a pudding-like consistency.
  5. Give your cat baby food - Cats may refuse any kind of commercial food when their mouths are very sore. Cats will usually eat beef or chicken baby food, especially if its warmed to their body temperature (about 100F). You can feed this for several days.

Prevention

There is no prevention for this condition.

Support

Bacterial infections often develop along with mouth sores, so the vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections and speed the healing process. Since the mouth is so sore, the medication will usually be in liquid form so that you can squirt it into your pets cheek.

A mouth rinse of saline solution will help speed up the healing by keeping the mouth clean. A mouth rinse like Nolvadent (available in pet stores) also works well. It not only prevents infection, but has a numbing effect and helps relieve mouth pain. You can use a turkey baster or squirt bottle to direct the flow around his mouth.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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