Chronic Contact Mucositis/Stomatitis in Dogs…Why Cleaning Teeth Makes No Sense

brown dog laying down on bed

Chronic Contact Mucositis/Stomatitis in Dogs…Why Cleaning Teeth Makes No Sense

Chronic Contact Mucositis/Stomatitis (formerly called CUPS) is an extremely painful disease process in dogs. While the exact etiology is not fully understood, research has shown that the body is reacting violently to plaque on a tooth, which triggers an exaggerated response of an immunoglobulin (IgG). An inflammatory cascade follows, thus leading to degradation of the gingiva, bone loss, and intense oral pain and discomfort for the dog.


Severe contact mucositis/stomatitis

Treating Chronic Contact Mucositis/Stomatitis in Dogs

So why do vets continue to clean these teeth, or even worse, place the pet on antibiotics (either long-term or a variety of antibiotics)? That doesn’t eliminate the disease, it only masks it, which is also temporary.

The solution is not more cleanings or long-term antibiotics. The solution is a very aggressive approach. Teeth must be removed, and in many instances, all of them. While people cringe at the thought of their dog losing all their teeth, the outcome is always favorable for the pet. I can tell you that I have performed tens and tens of full-mouth extractions in dogs with chronic mucositis/stomatitis, and they ALL respond favorably. They return to a pre-infection quality of life, and the pain and odor are GONE.

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2 week post op image. Surgical removal of the pathology is the only true cure of contact mucositis/stomatitis


Dog Dentist in Nashville, Tennessee

So if your dog has been diagnosed with this very painful syndrome, consult a veterinary dental specialist. The antibiotics or routine cleanings may help in the short term, but the long-term pain and suffering will return without more aggressive treatment.


Barden Greenfield, DVM, DAVDC

Your Pet Dentist of Nashville


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/19/2023). Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash