Friday, February 24, 2012

Adventures in Mouth Ulcers

At age 11, Mr. Pablo Bob is my eldest and least healthy cat. In addition to hyperthyroidism (which is pretty easily controlled with medication), Bob gets these awful, painful mouth ulcers. Now, there are lots of causes for mouth ulcers – vitamin deficiencies, kidney problems, dental issues, and allergies are all common culprits – but unfortunately for Bob and I, he joins the ranks of cats who have this problem without a clear cause.

Bob in his handsomer days.
About three weeks ago these ulcers flared up again, extra bad this time. The last time they got this bad was back in 2009. My vet in Omaha described it as feeling like "your tongue, gums, and throat are covered in canker sores". In other words, unbelievably painful.

Without knowing what is causing these ulcers (his blood work came back normal yet again and he recently had a dental, the vet said his teeth themselves still look great), we can't do anything but treat the symptoms. It's the most helpless feeling, just watching him suffer and drool and be in obvious pain, but to be unable to do anything about it.

When your mouth hurts and you use your mouth to clean yourself, that pretty much just means you are going to be dirty. When Bob's mouth is bothering him he gets so beat up looking. His fur is less shiny and starts to mat, he gets dandruff, and his paws and mouth have dirty stains from attempts at eating. Add to that the terrible asymmetrical hair cut I gave him this time around trying to help out with his mats and you end up with a pretty woebegone kitty.

Back to three weeks ago, Bob started leaving food in his dish at the end of feeding time. Sometimes there are little ulcer flair ups that calm down without interference, so I wasn't too worried. A couple days later, he was only eating once per day, so we started a round of antibiotics (Clindamycin). After about a week of only once a day eating, he stopped eating altogether.

After his 4th uneaten meal I called into work for the following morning and took him to the vet as soon as they opened. Dr. Basran gave him a stronger antibiotic in the form of a shot and another shot of painkiller. As soon as those painkillers were coursing through his system he scarfed down an entire can of food and I stopped panicking.

It's been a week since our vet visit and Bob's eating is still spotty. The vet asked me to call him today so we could talk about how he was doing, but then wasn't in the office. Guess I'll be calling him up again tomorrow. Has anyone else had to deal with mouth ulcers in themselves or their pets?


  1. I hope he is feeling better. Do you know about any natural remedies for the ulcers? By the way- grain free rules!

    1. He's not really feeling great yet, but Nicole told me about Lysine, which helped her with her childhood mouth ulcers, so we're trying that. They use it in cats to treat flu-like symptoms, so we'll see if it works for ulcers!