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What are these new white spots on my cat's gums?

Face of Siamese cat, looking alert with eyes wide open.

(Photo: Flickr/Appie Verschoor)

What are these new white spots on my cat's gums?

April 25, 2013

Q: My Siamese cat, Gabby, is 16 years old and has developed white spots in her mouth. They occur on the lower gums, about half-inch in size. The spots are flat, and she's eating and drinking normally.

A: I am sorry to hear that Gabby is getting white spots on her gums. The spots you are describing are not very common in cats and can be difficult to diagnose without an exam and a possible biopsy, though here are the most common causes of white spots on the gums:

  • Vitiligo is a pigment disorder in which the normal pink pigment changes to a white color. This disease is generally considered only cosmetic.
  • Thrush is a fungal infection that can occur after cats take antibiotics for a prolonged period of time. These white spots are generally a whitish film over the gums rather then flat white spots, though, and this disorder is actually quite rare.
  • Cancer is possible, though I hate to mention this. Oral cancer usually is more of a red color therefore white spots are not the typical presentation though occasionally some cats can develop a small spot that starts out as a non-pigmented area and can turn into a more inflamed red sore eventually.
  • Anemia or a low red blood cell count would be the last most common cause of a white color to the gums. This causing more of generalized white color to the gums rather then small individual spots therefore if the spots turn into a generalized white color I would take her to your vet right away to make sure she is not anemic.

Overall pigment changes such as vitiligo would be the most likely cause since she is not showing any other symptoms though I would always recommend having your vet examine her mouth to make sure this is not something more serious.

-- Answer from Dr. Matt, a veterinarian on JustAnswer.

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