Dog: Stomatitis

General information

Other common/scientific names: eosinophilic stomatitis

Stomatitis is inflammation of the oral mucosa which is the tissue lining the mouth, tongue, throat, esophagus and surrounding the teeth. Oral tissues are continually exposed to bacteria. In a healthy mouth, a balance is achieved between the bacteria and the immune system. Stomatitis results when the immune system is either suppressed or hyperactive and a bacterial infection develops. It can be caused by a primary condition affecting the tissue or secondary to an underlying disease.


  • Physical injury: Ingestion of caustic chemicals, trauma or electric cord bites.
  • Hypersensitivity/allergic reactions: Known as eosinophilic stomatitis and may be hereditary. Seen in Siberian Huskies and Cavalier King Charles but can affect other breeds.
  • Systemic Disease: Diabetes mellitus, chronic renal disease, periodontal disease.

Cardinal symptom

Pain when eating


Clinical signs of stomatitis include pain when eating and swallowing, decreased appetite and difficulty eating. Other signs include bad breath, ulcerations on the gum, tongue and throat, bleeding from mouth, weight loss and depression.


Diagnosis of stomatitis is made on physical examination. If systemic disease is suspected, a complete blood count (CBC), serum biochemistry and urinalysis is indicated. Intraoral radiographs may be needed to determine the extent of periodontal disease. Chronic cases which do not respond to treatment may benefit from a biopsy of the affected tissue to identify the type of cells involved and/or immunologic testing to diagnose immune-mediated disease.


Treatment of stomatitis must address the underlying cause. A dental prophylaxis is needed for periodontal disease. Oral antibiotics and pain medication is indicated. Some dogs will respond to immunosuppressive medications and/or corticosteroids. In the case of an allergic reaction, the dog may benefit from a hypoallergenic diet. Severe cases may need hospitalization, intravenous fluids and antibiotics.


If the cause of stomatitis is diagnosed, treatment can be successful. However, if left undiagnosed or the dog does not respond to treatment, stomatitis can lead to a chronic, debilitating disease causing chronic pain and behavioral changes.

Update version: 4/24/2014, © Copyright by
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