The past five years of Smokey’s life have been completely unbearable. Her owner recalls when her once playful and curious kitty’s behavior changed dramatically.
“It was the summer of 2011. I noticed that she started hiding and that she wasn’t as social and then I noticed that her mouth was giving her problems,” said Gail Salisbury.
A trip to the vet confirmed that Smokey was suffering from feline chronic gingivostomatitis or FCGS, a painful inflammatory mouth disease.
“Chronic stomatitis is a common disease in the cat. It is very debilitating. Those cats are in great pain and it is a very enigmatic disease because no one has been able to reproduce it in experimental cats,” said Dr. Frank Verstraete, a professor of dentistry and oral surgery at the University of California, Davis.
Without being able to reproduce the disease, researchers have no idea just what causes it or how to effectively treat it. Cats with FCGS usually have to have all their teeth removed, clearing up the inflammation in some but not all cases.
Smokey wasn’t so very lucky. Her teeth were extracted but the disease didn’t stop there. That’s when her human enrolled in a clinical trial.
“We are tackling what we call the hard core population of cats. They have had extractions. Many of them have been on steroid treatment for a long time. Some even came with early diabetes so they can’t get steroids anymore,” said Dr. Boaz Arzi, an assistant professor of dentistry and oral surgery.
Researchers used stem cells derived from their other feline patients with the hope of reducing inflammation and promoting tissue regeneration.
“I would say that most of our cats, if I have to give a number 60 to 70 percent have responded favorably to the treatment either by complete resolution or substantial clinical improvement without complete resolution at six months,” said Arzi.
A higher percentage of cats showed signs of recovery after just six months, as was the case with Smokey, who began responding well to the treatment more than a year after she was injected with stem cells.
The researchers say these trials are shedding new light on these types of inflammatory diseases – and that could potentially have significant implications for humans.
“There are two other species that can get chronic inflammation of the mouth. The first one is the dog and obviously we would like at treatment for dogs as well, but even more importantly humans also get inflammation of their oral cavity,” said Verstraete.
There are also plans for human trials using stem cell therapy to treat inflammatory mouth disease as early as next year at UC Davis.
As for Smokey, she is commpletely cured, but is in need of a diet. Her owner doesn’t doesn’t agree with that.
“She has been through enough, whatever she wants she can have.”
Read these characteristics which almost all cat lovers have in common:
INTROVERTED AND SENSITIVE
It’s the nature of cats that they are not friends with everybody, and the same trait can be seen in their owners too. Usually, they live alone and are happy with their independent lifestyle. They are introverts but are comfortable hanging around with other people. However, they would need some me-time to relax and recharge.
CAT LOVERS LEAN TO LEFT
It has been observed that people with liberal political leanings prefer cats over dogs. You might be a liberal dog lover or a conservative cat owner; if you’re a liberal, you love cats and vice versa.
CAT OWNERS ARE OPEN-MINDED
Five traits – conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness are often seen in most cat lovers. As compared to dog owners, people who have cats as pets are more open and therefore, have greater artistic creativity.
Just like their pets, cat lovers seek attention from people around them. They like to be the centre of all conversations. At times, cat owners rely on their pets for emotional support.
THEY RESPECT CATS MORE THAN ANYONE
Cat people respect cats more than humans, in general. The saddest sight for a cat lover is to see the animal on the streets without a home. Cat lovers are often seen making a special effort to rescue or rehabilitate homeless cats.