Geocities webpages are no more. The following detailed website of cat mouth ulcers was previously published by a cat owner. After Geocities closed down, the webpage was gone. I managed to track it down to an archive and publish here for references
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1999 2000 2001
29 Feb 00 - 28 Oct 09
Feline Viruses, Auto Immune Diseases
"You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings"
from the movie Beaches
Sept 1996. Boots, shortly after he came home with us. Weighing about 7 lbs, and waiting for his boiled chicken.
Lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis (LPS) is thought to be an auto immune disease of the gums and lining of the mouth and throat, although the exact cause is unknown. It can only be confirmed through biopsy. Although the symptoms may appear the same, do not mistake this disease with chronic gingivitis which is almost always due to tartar buildup.
The first thing to understand about this condition is that this disease is generally a secondary symptom of a greater underlying viral infection such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Leukemia, Feline Herpes (aka Rhinotracheitis) or Calicivirus. Always, always have your kitty tested for FeLV and FIV if faced with this condition. Fortunately Boots tested negative, both at the shelter, and by our own veterinarian, however our vet did conclude that Boots was chronically infected with Feline Herpes.
These viruses may cause other symptoms besides the stomatitis. You may notice your cat is more susceptible to upper respiratory infections and eye problems. As this condition is also thought to be associated with auto immune deficiency, you are also dealing with a disease that is triggered by stress. The stress of being in a shelter for two years had eroded Boots' mouth and gums to the point where he couldn't swallow. He weighed seven pounds when we brought him home in August of 1996.
The single biggest thing we have found to make a difference in the management of this disease is Interferon, an anti-viral medication developed for use in humans. We now have three years experience with it, and we have seen a dramatic dramatic improvement with Boots.
Boots' stomatitis was very severe with involvement down the throat and into the larynx and the loss of 3 teeth, but we have managed to stabilize it to the point where he's now eating boiled chicken (spoiled cat) and has almost doubled his weight since we began this protocol.
Our initial routine with him was teeth and gum cleaning and cortisone if necessary every 3 months, Antirobe (Clindamycin) antibiotic 1 cc X2 daily, and 1 cc of diluted (30 units per 1 cc of sterile water) Interferon a day. Cortisone (Depo-Medrol) is also common therapy for this disease. But you want to try to minimize the amount you have to give as it has long term side effects. Used judiciously it helps to control the inflammation and pain. Some cats require cortisone on a monthly basis, however we have found that the Interferon has significantly reduced the progress of the disease, therefore we are giving it less often. Our doctor mixes the Interferon in the correct diluted dosage and freezes it in 10 cc syringes. Interferon has a very short shelf life and cannot be kept in the refridgerator over an extended period of time. We thaw one syringe and use it for 10 days. It is given orally, and is mostly water, so there's no taste. You can either syringe it directly into the mouth or mix it into food.
Regular teeth cleaning is necessary to control tartar buildup which can make the mouth and gum ulcers worse and also open the body up to serious infection, so its important that you monitor this closely.
Interferon is a drug that was originally developed for human cancer intervention, and is also being used in human AIDS treatment. It is the only known anti-viral medication mankind has developed. It has mixed success in humans, but veterinarians are having greater success with cats. Consequently it is being used to treat or manage many feline viral infections including calcivirus, herpes (both of which have stomatitis as a complication), Feline Leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and even Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
If all else fails, removal of all the back teeth seems to provide relief. While this might seem extreme, cats can do very, very well without teeth as long as you feed them canned food, and the quality of their lives can be excellant.
I was reluctant to take home a sick cat, so soon after having lost my beautiful Tardy. But Boots caught my eye, and I know without a doubt it was Tardy who had pointed him in my direction. Boots was so pathetic looking, scrawny and haggard. I knew the wonderful volunteers at the shelter were doing everything they could to help him, but I also knew Boots was slowly failing, and that he would be hard to place. I couldn't leave him there, even though I thought at the time I was opening my heart to eventual grief. The shelter had been very, very careful to be sure I understood this was a lifetime problem. I took him on a foster basis, not yet ready to deal with what I thought was a terminal illness which would lead me to more grief. But after the first few hours of having him in a real home and watching him bound delightedly from empty room to empty room, I knew Boots was home, and I called to say he wasn't leaving. The shelter waved the adoption fee.
Not knowing anything about stomatitis, I had no idea how much could be done to manage this disease. Two years later Boots now weighs over 14 lbs. He purrs now, and he plays with the other cats. He rules the house. I know that God and my rainbow Tardy are watching over us, but I also know the real difference in these animal's lives has been the experience and the unbelievable knowledge of our vet. It has been the deciding factor in our ability to maintain their health.
If, for any reason you feel that your vet isn't dealing with this properly, I urge you to seek a second opinion. The key to our success lay in the fact that our doctor keeps up with current trends, and with the published literature, and we are the beneficiaries of his dedication to his profession.
I leave you with one final thought. Don't lose hope! Boots has taught me that although you might face the pain of losing an animal, it is always worth the risk to open up your heart, to love and to try. The reward is indescribable. I often wake up in the middle of the night to find Boots nuzzled against my face, purring.
Below you will find a number of links I have collected regarding Stomatitis, Viral diseases for which stomatitis is an opportunitistic symptom, and some info on Interferon. If you have any more questions, or comments never hesitate to e-mail me.
Boots today, at 15 lbs, healthy and happy.
Postscript: I have always believed that Tardy led us to Boots. On June 4, 1997 I finally trapped and took in a stray that had been visiting us for several weeks. The first thing our doctor did was look at his mouth. We now have two cats with this disease, and two cats who are thriving because of our vet's skill and Interferon. Sammy lives indoors with us now, and Tardy watches over us still.
September, 1999 Update: Boots continues to thrive. He is still on 30 units of Interferon daily and has been since August, 1996. Just recently I received an unexpected e-mail from the wonderful woman who worked with us on adopting Boots. One of her shelter co-workers had found Boots' Story on the web and printed out the information to help with one of their shelter cats. Jo sent me an e-mail asking if this was possibly the same Boots. We traded e-mails, and finally Jo came to visit us. I was so proud to show her how well he is doing, and we both shed a few tears of happiness. Life takes unexpected turns, and it is so fulfilling to have a circle completed.
November, 1999 Update: Sammy has developed a Herpes eye infection. We are treating it with two human Herpes medications - Viroptic and Chloroptic eyedrops 4 times a day, and 250 mgms of L-lysine amino acid twice a day. The Viroptic drops seem to sting, so I give him the Chloroptic drops first to water down the Viroptic side effect. This seems to work. After 4 weeks, the medication is having a noticeable effect. There is no more squinting and Sammy seems to have regained all his old habits and appears to feel no more discomfort.
February 28, 2000: Our vet has just returned from a conference and is hearing wonderful things about L-lysine and viral infections. I have continued Sammy on 250 mgms of L-lysine twice a day since his Herpes eye infection, even though that has resolved. I am convinced it is helping him stave off URI's when we take vet trips. Today our vet recommended we begin Boots on the same dosage.
Feline Stomatitis - site includes good photos of what this condition looks like.
Oral Ulcerations - Includes diagnostic procedures and drugs of choice for treatment
Feline Stomatitis - More on Stomatitis from Dental Vet
Mouth Problems in the Cat - from the Feline Advisory Board in the UK
Stomatitis - From the Cat Fancier's Association
Veterinary Dental Care & Problems of the Mouth
Understanding Your Pet's Immune System - a good basic explanation of how the immune system works. Warning! Its a little technical!!
About Herpes and Calici Viruses:
Feline Herpes Virus - A veterinarian's explanation.
Herpes Virus, Stomatitis and Interferon - Dr. Mike Richards continues with an explanation of treatment
Herpes Virus: Symptoms and Treatment - Another good explanation of the relationship between Herpes and stomatitis.
Use of Interferon in Feline Herpetic Keratitis - corneal ulcers are another complication of Herpes virus
Calici Virus, Upper Respiratory Infections & Mouth Ulcers - Not so common a virus, but complications can include stomatitis. Excellent info on dealing with Chronic Repiratory problems!
Chronic Nasal Disease - Causes and Treatment
Upper Respiratory Infections - What to do when Kitty has a cold
Cat Colds - Causes and Treatment
About Interferon and its use in treating other viruses:
Interferon and FeLV / FIV - Using Interferon to combat leukemia & immunodeficiency viruses.
Newer Methods for Treating FeLV - Includes a link to an company manufacturing Interferon, and protocols for use.
Smudge's Story - Smudge has Feline Leukemia, and he is truly an Interferon success story.
Chloe's Story - An excellent site for info on FeLV, including Interferon treatment.
Dr. Mike Richards - using Interferon for FeLV
Dr. Richard C. Weiss - developer of the FeLV vaccine. A list of published articles on the use of Interferon in treating FeLV
Colorado State University - Study on the use of Interferon in treating FeLV
Living with the FeLV+ or FIV+ Cat. - How viruses affect the cat, False Positives, Treatment, Information and Support. See the treatment section.
Pyewacket's Story - FIV and Interferon. A genuine success story.
Felix's Story: FIV and Interferon
FIP and Interferon - The use of Interferon in managing Feline Infectious Peritonitis
What is Interferon? - This site is for Human Hepatitis, but does a good job of explaining how Interferon works.
Dr. Camuti Memorial Feline Consultation & Diagnostic Service - a wonderful resource for either you or your vet. For a $35 consultation fee you can talk to a vet at Cornell about diagnosis, treatment and the protocols involving Interferon.