Research Summary - 2003 Dowers
November 10, 2011
Feline gingivostomatitis (FGS) is a common syndrome in cats. This syndrome is a devastating, chronic disease that results in painful erosive lesions in the pharynx, buccal mucosa, tongue and gingiva. Clinical signs can include oral pain, halitosis, dysphagia, anorexia, and weight loss. Various prescribed therapies are variably successful and include combinations of antibiotic therapy, immunosuppressive drugs, interferon therapy, CO2 laser therapy, whole mouth extraction, and a variety of other therapies. In many cats with FGS, cure is not achieved and so therapy is intermittent or chronic and some cats may be euthanized due to a poor quality of life. The etiology of FGS is unknown and is thought to be multifactorial with many proposed contributors or causes that include viral agents (feline leukemia virus [FeLV], feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV], feline calicivirus [FCV], feline herpesvirus 1 [FHV-1]), Gram-negative bacteria (Bartonella) arising from normal oral flora, exuberant immune reaction to an infectious agent, physiologic or environmental stresses, nutritional factors, and genetic predisposition.
Dr. Dowers and coworkers investigated whether an association of FGS with FCV, FHV-1, and Bartonella species exists. Blood from 70 cats with FGS and 61 healthy control cats was tested for Bartonella species antibodies in serum by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot immunoassay and DNA in blood using a conventional polymerase chain reaction assay. Additionally, fresh oral biopsies from cats with FGS (n = 42) and 19 healthy controls were tested for FCV RNA, FHV-1 DNA and Bartonella species DNA. The prevalence rates for Bartonella species antibodies and DNA in the blood and the tissues did not differ between the two groups suggesting that Bartonella is not associated with this syndrome. FHV-1 DNA was also not significantly different between groups. Only FCV RNA was present in significantly more cats with FGS (40.5%) than control cats (0%) suggesting that FCV was associated with FGS in some cats.
1. Dowers KL, Hawley JR, et al. Association of Bartonella species, feline calicivirus, and feline herpesvirus 1 infection with gingivostomatitis in cats. J Fel Med Surg 2010;12:314-321.