Committed to Finding a Cure

for Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS)

What is FCGS?

Feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is a painful, feline oral mucosa disease that causes excessive, chronic inflammation of a cat’s mouth and gums in response to an unknown stimulus. The disease affects cats of all ages and can be incredibly challenging and frustrating to treat.

 

What are the Symptoms of  FCGS?

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Refusal to eat

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Pain when opening mouth

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Excessive drooling

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Unkempt coat

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Bad breath

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Weight loss

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Pawing at the face

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Shyness to head petting

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Aggression

What Causes FCGS?

FCGS is a complex disease involving many systems and cell types in the oral mucosa. The disease is believed by many experts to be immune mediated, meaning that the immune system of the cat becomes dysregulated/less effective, which leads to chronic mucosal inflammation as an erratic response to bacteria, plaque, viruses or some combination of instigators in the mouth.  It is also believed that genetic disposition and concurrent periodontal disease may play a role. 

Feline FCGS

Current Treatments for FCGS

Depending on the severity of the cat’s condition, a veterinarian may choose to manage the symptoms of FCGS through either one or a combination of treatments – the keyword here being “manage.” While tooth extractions cure the disease in one out of three cases, other treatment methods for FCGS are merely designed to manage the symptoms. With mild cases, a veterinarian may choose to treat a cat with antibiotics and recommend regular teeth cleaning to see if the symptoms subside. For “moderate” cases, they may prescribe that anti-inflammatories or immune-suppressants, and partial or full mouth extractions may be implemented. For “severe” cases, partial or full-mouth extractions will be implemented. While 70% of cats either see symptoms complete clear up or significantly improve, 30% are likely to not respond to tooth extractions and continue to suffer.

If your cat has been diagnosed with FCGS, please consult your veterinarian for a specific treatment plan.

Dental and Diet

Often the first step to treating any oral inflammation, vets may begin treatment of FCGS by helping to improve the pet’s oral hygeine and diet. This treatment often includes oral cleanings, dietary changes and the addition of dietary supplements to their food. 

Pain Management

Veterinarians may elect to help improve the pet’s quality of life by treating FCGS symptoms and managing pain. Though medicinal treatment usually fails to deliver favorable results, it is best served as a component of a multi-modal treatment plan.

Surgery

Often regarded as the best treatment option for FCGS, full or partial mouth extractions cures about 30% of cats, while 40% see improvement. Removing the cat’s teeth removes the nidus for inflammation in the mouth. However, 30% of cats do not respond to this treatment.

A Promising New Treatment is on the Horizon

Treating FCGS with Stem Cells

Currently, there is no FDA-approved stem cell product for treating FCGS.  However, there have been many successful clinical trials using feline adult adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells for FCGS. In these studies, approximately 70 percent of cats have responded favorably to the treatment, either by complete resolution or substantial clinical improvement, and these patients have remained in remission since treatment – six years and counting.

Full response to MSC therapy generally takes 6-12 months, but results can be seen as early as 3 months.

* Source: Arzi et al, Stem Cell Transl Med 2017;6:1710-1722. 

FCGS FAQs

How do cats get FCGS?

The exact cause of FCGS is unknown, though it is believed by many experts that the extreme inflammation of the oral mucosa is the product of an exaggerated immune response to plaque, bacteria and viruses in the mouth. 

Is FCGS contagious to other cats?

No. FCGS is not contageous to other cats.  

Is FCGS a common disease?

FCGS is a fairly uncommon disease that affects approximately 1-5% of the cat population. 

Is FCGS a terminal disease?

In most cases, not if treated. The good news is, there are treatment options available to help your cat lead a happy and healthy life. Most cats respond favorably to partial-mouth or full-mouth surgical tooth extractions. There are even experimental stem cell treatments being explored that show promise for treating cats that don’t respond to surgery. VetCell Therapeutics USA is currently conducting a clinical trial for its DentaHeal™ cell therapy targeting FCGS. Click here to learn more here.

What if I don't treat my cat's FCGS?

FCGS can cause a cat severe discomfort and in extreme cases a lot of pain. If left untreated, the chronic and extreme inflammation caused by the disease can make it unbearable for a cat to eat or drink – which could eventually lead to death.

How can FCGS be cured?

Today, there is no magic cure for FCGS. Instead, the disease is treated on a case by case basis. Dental extractions seem to be the most effective treatment method, helping most cats to achieve a significant improvement in their condition, with many achieving a clinical cure.

 

Curing FCGS is our mission

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Always seek professional medical counsel from a veterinarian regarding any questions you may have about FCGS or the medications used to treat it. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the information provided on this web site.