A cat that is suddenly drooling excessively requires emergency veterinary care if it persists for any length of time. It is not a normal behavior and a cause for concern. Prompt medical attention should be given especially if you suspect the ingestion of a foreign body or toxins.
Cat drooling excessively suddenly: What it is
Seeing your cat drooling excessively suddenly may get you worried and for a reason. This condition is referred to as feline ptyalism, which is the hypersalivation or excessive drooling in cats.
Ptyalism or sialorrhea is uncommon in cats and usually associated with particular stimuli such as excitement, hot or humid climate, and even the mere smell of food. When the hypersalivation persists for a while there is a high risk of it being associated with a health problem or injury.
Probable causes why a cat is drooling excessively
These are the probable causes of ptyalism or hypersalivation in cats:
- oral and dental disease
- kidney disease
- tumors, cancer
- upper respiratory infection
- injury to the oral cavity or tongue
- toxin exposure
- mouth and tongue erosions and ulcers
- oral or esophageal foreign bodies or tumors
- metabolic conditions like high fever or kidney failure
- neurologic impairment of chewing or swallowing
- excitement or nervousness
- acid reflux
Common symptoms of cat drooling excessively suddenly
Look out for these signs and symptoms in your cat when assessing the situation:
- vomiting or throwing up food
- pawing at the mouth
- bad breath
- inability to eat or drink
- swollen lymph nodes
- swelling or masses in the mouth
- difficulty in swallowing
- loss of appetite
- labored breathing
- irritable, aggressive, and reclusive
What to do when cat is suddenly drooling excessively
Prompt consultation with your vet should be done so he can do a thorough check-up and diagnosis of the hypersalivation. Aside from doing a physical, oral, and dental exam, these are the other tests that may be done:
- dental x-rays to identify if the drooling was due to dental disease
- a biopsy in the case of a mass or oral lesion
- a complete blood count or CBC to check for inflammation or anemia
- urinalysis to check the metabolic status
- a biochemical profile to check for kidney and liver disorder
- neck x-ray to check for a foreign object, mass or disorder in the esophagus
- chest and abdominal x-rays to check for disorders in the chest and abdomen
Treatment options for cat drooling excessively
The following are the various treatment options for hypersalivation in cats depending on the primary problem causing it.
- for dental disease or oral mass – dental cleaning or surgery
- foreign object removal – endoscopy, administered with sedation or anesthesia
- for oral infection or inflammatory conditions – antibiotics, systemic medication
- nausea – supportive therapy like fluids and dietary adjustments
- for liver and kidney disorders – proper identification through various laboratory tests should be made before any therapy is given
If your cat is drooling excessively suddenly, you may do a quick visual inspection to assess if it was due to oral trauma, injury, or a foreign object. However, you should do it with great caution as your cat may become aggressive. Observe her attitude and behavior and if the drooling becomes worse. She may become agitated, reclusive, and may lay next to the water bowl.
If your cat is not vomiting, try to give her water to drink. If the signs of the sudden excessive drooling are resolved in a few hours, you may not bring her to the veterinary clinic but make sure to inform your vet about the incident.
You can prevent hypersalivation by making sure that your cat is vaccinated for rabies, having regular oral exams, and practicing dental hygiene. Make sure to keep toxic items like insecticides, detergents, and harmful chemicals away from your cat.
If your cat is drooling excessively and suddenly, you should promptly assess it by doing a visual inspection if the cause was injury or foreign object ingestion. If the hypersalivation persists for an extended period your cat should be brought to an emergency veterinary care facility. However, if the symptoms are resolved after a while and your cat is acting normal, there is probably no immediate cause for alarm.
Image: istockphoto.com / Dmitry Kirichay