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Stomatitis in Dogs

What is Stomatitis in Dogs?

Stomatitis in dogs, also referred to as canine chronic ulcerative stomatitis (CCUS), is a condition that impacts a dog’s gums, oral mucosa, tongue, and pharynx. It’s categorized as a paradental disease since it targets the tissues surrounding the teeth rather than those connecting the tooth to the socket. Research suggests that approximately 5-10% of dogs diagnosed with stomatitis also suffer from other immune-mediated diseases.


  • Excessive drooling
  • Severe halitosis (bad breath)
  • Oral discharge resembling pus
  • Reduced appetite
  • Ulceration of parts of the tongue
  • Presence of calculus (tartar) on the teeth, ranging from mild to severe
  • Gingivitis, ranging from mild to severe
  • Ulcerations on the areas of the cheek that come into contact with teeth, also known as “kissing lesions”

If a dog has undergone prior dental cleanings without improvement in clinical signs, a veterinarian will assess whether stomatitis could be a potential diagnosis.


The precise cause of stomatitis in dogs remains unclear. However, it is understood that stomatitis represents an immune system reaction to the presence of calculus and plaque on the teeth.


Veterinarians diagnose stomatitis in dogs by conducting a biopsy, which involves removing a tissue sample from the affected area for further evaluation through histology, the microscopic study of tissue structures. Additionally, diagnostic testing is employed to eliminate diseases that exhibit similar symptoms to stomatitis before determining an appropriate treatment plan. Such diseases include Bullous pemphigoid, Pemphigus vulgaris, Discoid lupus erythematosus, Systemic lupus erythematosus, and Erythema multiforme.


The treatment of stomatitis in dogs typically begins with a professional dental cleaning. Dogs with stomatitis should undergo cleanings every 3-4 months to help minimize the likelihood of flare-ups. This procedure necessitates sedation to enable thorough examination of the teeth and cleaning beneath the gumline, as well as dental radiographs to evaluate the condition of each tooth. If a tooth is deemed non-viable, extraction is performed. Subsequently, the veterinarian may apply a sealant to the remaining teeth to slow down decay. The patient is then provided with anti-inflammatories, pain medication, and instructed on a strict at-home dental care regimen.

Recovery and Prevention of Stomatitis in Dogs

Recovery and prevention of stomatitis in dogs require intensive at-home care to halt disease progression and ensure the dog’s comfort over the long term. This includes twice-daily plaque removal using a chlorhexidine-based product. During flare-ups, dental wipes can ease discomfort until pain subsides, as brushing may be painful. Once pain is managed, regular brushing can resume. Alongside diligent at-home dental care, medications and supplements may help slow the disease process. Your veterinarian will determine the optimal treatment plan, including necessary medications, based on your dog’s specific needs.

Stomatitis in Dogs FAQs

Can stomatitis in dogs be cured?

No, but with consistent and thorough dental care, it can be managed. The objective is to ensure the dog’s comfort and maintain as many teeth as possible for as long as possible.

What happens if stomatitis goes untreated?

Untreated stomatitis is highly painful and can result in tooth loss. It may cause the dog to refuse food and water, leading to further health complications.

Is there a home remedy for stomatitis in dogs?

Unfortunately, no specific home remedy exists, but regular brushing and the use of anti-plaque products at home can help decrease the frequency and severity of flare-ups.

Is stomatitis in dogs fatal?

No, the condition itself is not fatal. However, the pain associated with stomatitis can lead to a decreased appetite and reluctance to drink, which are crucial for a dog’s overall health and well-being.

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