Fungal Stomatitis in Dogs: Causes & Treatments

stomatitis in dogs - black and white dog with tongue out

Fungal Stomatitis in Dogs: Causes & Treatments


Canine stomatitis, or CCUS (Canine Chronic Ulcerative Paradental Stomatitis), is an oral ulcerative disease. It is seen in all breeds of dogs but is more common in King Charlies Cavalier spaniels, terriers, and the Maltese. Stomatitis in dogs involves inflammation of mucous membranes of the mouth. 


Signs of Stomatitis in Dogs


Clinical signs include ulceration of the oral tissues, tongue, and hard palate. In addition, gingival recession and gingivitis are often present. Lesions are commonly seen where oral tissue rests near plaque-covered teeth. These are referred to as ‘kissing lesions’ as they are present where the tissues ‘kiss’ the teeth.

Patients are often in quite a bit of pain and will present with drooling, significant oral malodor, and a decreased or absent appetite. A diagnosis is tentatively made with an oral exam but completed with a biopsy procedure to rule out oral neoplasia and other oral ulcerative diseases. 


What Causes Canine Stomatitis?


An underlying etiology of stomatitis has been the focus of past and ongoing research. An overzealous immune response is believed to be the predominant contributing factor to this painful oral condition. Candida albicans is part of the normal human GI tract flora and is a contributing cause of oral ulcerations in humans. Stomatitis due to Candida albicans is known as thrush in humans–white lesions are often present at the site of oral ulcerations.

However, Candida albicans is an uncommon cause of oral inflammation in dogs. Therefore, it is not considered to be a common cause of stomatitis in dogs. It would be suspect in cases associated with long-term antibiotic treatment and immunosuppression. 


How is Stomatitis Treated in Dogs? 


Treatment for stomatitis can be complex. It involves removing any plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces by frequent professional cleanings and diligent daily oral home care. Daily tooth brushing with a veterinary-recommended toothpaste for animals is the single best way to prevent plaque bacteria in the mouth of a dog. However, some dogs will not allow brushing until the initial oral inflammation calms down and they are less sensitive.

Oral antibiotics may aid in controlling opportunistic secondary bacterial infections, but should never be used as a monotherapy. Immunosuppressant medications, such as cyclosporine and prednisone, aid in tempering an overzealous immune response, but can also predispose to secondary bacterial or fungal infections. Pain medications and oral rinses are often prescribed as well. In many cases, extraction therapy of affected teeth or full-mouth extractions is recommended for a pain-free oral cavity.


Veterinary Dentists in Colorado


If you or your veterinarian suspect that your canine companion may have stomatitis or fungal stomatitis, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery. We have four convenient locations in Colorado Springs, Denver, Castle Rock and Loveland. 


Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash (11/23/2021)