Stem cell therapy has all kinds of uses in veterinary medicine these days, and now researchers believe they’ve found a new one. Early studies show it can help cats with stomatitis and other forms of chronic gum disease in cats. A second clinical trial, this one involving 200 cats, will get underway soon.
Imagine having a toothache that makes your entire mouth hurt and goes on day after day after day. That’s how cats with stomatitis and other forms of chronic gum disease feel. Medication helps some cats. But for others, it just makes things worse. Sometimes, the only solution is a full-mouth extraction, which seems to bother the cat’s human much more than it bothers the cat.
But now, VetCell Therapeutics USA believes it has another solution. The second round of clinical trials for DentaHeal, its stem cell treatment for cats with chronic gum disease, will begin soon. If you live with a cat with stomatitis or other chronic gum diseases, the two of you can help find a cure. All you have to do is sign up for the trial.
The Causes Of Gum Disease In Cats
No one knows for sure what causes gum disease in cats. Since it’s an autoimmune disease, heredity may play a role. And dry food is probably to blame, too.
Cats’ teeth are designed to chew meat, not pieces of kibble. They don’t chew dry food. Some cats swallow it whole (that’s why you find piles of undigested dry food on your rugs) and others manage to splinter it. When it’s splintered, tiny pieces of dry food work their way under the gums, causing dental disease.
So how do you know your cat’s teeth are bothering her? Look for these signs.
- Bad breath
- Inflammed red gums
- Bleeding from the mouth or nose
- Difficulty eating or not eating at all.
- Eating on one side of the mouth
- Mild facial swelling
- Not grooming
When cats with gum disease drool or stop eating or grooming, it’s not because their teeth hurt. Stretching out their tongues to swallow saliva, scoop food into their mouths, or take a bath hurts, so they just don’t bother.
Keeping Those Pearly Whites Healthy
But the best way to prevent gum disease is to brush your cat’s teeth. Do it every day if you can. This video will show you how.
Hope From Stem Cells
DentaHeal is given intravenously. For now, it’s intended for cats with stomatitis and other kinds of chronic gum disease who have not responded to other forms of treatment. It was developed at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Approximately 30 percent of cats with chronic gum disease don’t respond to standard treatments and need life-long pain meds, antibiotics, and immunosuppressive drugs, a VetCell Therapeutics press release says.
“Our vision is that DentaHeal will dramatically improve the quality of life for cats with” chronic gum disease, “by completely resolving or substantially improving their condition and provide them with long-term remission and relief,” the press release adds.
PrimeGen Global is VetCell Therapeutics USA’s parent company. It’s based in California.