Walter’s Wish

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How a lost cat got the treatment he needed for a painful disease

Alone, in pain and wandering the streets of La Grande, poor Walter needed a miracle. His luck began to turn when a good Samaritan began to care for him in September. A trip to the vet uncovered some terrible news. Walter was suffering from a painful dental disease called stomatitis. The condition is difficult to treat and requires repeated, and often expensive, dental procedures. So, in January, Walter found himself at Blue Mountain Humane in LaGrande. The good Samaritan who had been caring him was no longer able to afford his challenging medical condition.

OHS’s Second Chance Program frequently works with Blue Mountain Humane so when the call came in to help, Walter’s case was reviewed by the OHS medical team and he was scheduled to be transported to Portland.

When Walter arrived, it was clear that his stomatitis was severe. He’d already had 17 teeth extracted and it was determined that that only way to alleviate his pain was to remove his remaining 13 teeth. His recovery was challenging, but after a few days of love and care in the OHS Medical Center he began to turn the corner. The team would coax him to eat and gave him special accommodations to make him comfortable.  He then spent a few weeks in foster care while his mouth continued to heal from oral surgery.

Now, Walter is waiting for his next lucky break. With all the surgeries behind him, he is now ready for the next happy and healthy chapter in his life.  Is yours the loving home he is waiting for?

UPDATE: WALTER HAS AN ADOPTON APPOINTMENT SCHEDULED

Do you have questions about stomatitis? Dr. Steve Kochis, OHS Chief Medical Officer answers frequently asked questions about the disease below:

What is stomatitis?

Stomatitis is a painful, chronic condition that causes severe inflammation of the tissues in the mouth, resulting in a bright red, irritated appearance to the gums, lip edges, soft palate, and the back of the oral cavity. The tissue becomes more delicate and bleeds easily. Cats can be sneaky and hide things well from us, but these cats often have difficulty eating, may lose weight, paw at their mouths, or excessively drool. They may appear scruffier than normal, which can occur due to poor nutrition and decreased grooming

Does stomatitis only affect cats, or does it affect dogs too?

Stomatitis can affect cats and dogs. However, in dogs it appears to be limited to certain breeds.

How do cats get stomatitis?

Although stomatitis is fairly common, the cause remains largely unknown. This condition is thought to be caused by an overreaction by the cat’s immune system to normal plaque bacteria, resulting in a severe inflammatory response. The condition may also worsen if other forms of dental disease are present. Additional tests can be performed to see if there are any other underlying related diseases or contributing factors. In Walter’s case, he tested negative for FeLV/FIV.

What is the treatment?

There is no specific treatment to cure stomatitis. Because this inflammation is often caused by an overreaction to the plaque bacteria on teeth, a common way to manage this condition is to extract all (or almost all) of the cat’s teeth. This is currently the only solution that seems to provide long-term relief from the pain and inflammation. Dental extractions have been shown to resolve stomatitis in most cats, but some may still need long-term medical care if the inflammation persists.  Medical management often consists of anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics and daily oral cleaning.

Do cats with stomatitis need to be fed a special diet?

Since cats with extreme cases of stomatitis, like Walter, have had all their teeth extracted, a diet of soft food is recommended.

What else should a potential adopter know about adopting a pet with stomatitis?

Pets with stomatitis may have other underlying immune issues, so adopters will need to be aware of any changes in their pet’s health or new symptoms. Even for a pet without teeth, the gums may still become inflamed and should be monitored and treated as needed.

 

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