Illness, in Four Breaths


An untoward odor emanating from your cat’s mouth may be a clue to whether she has a specific type of disease. Here’s a rundown.

Fruity breath. This can signify diabetes. In cats with this condition, sugar is not metabolized properly, and that’s what produces the fruity scent.

Ammonia-like breath. Kidney disease may be the culprit if the scent coming from your cat’s mouth smells something like urine. One of the breakdown products of metabolism is urea, which makes its way through the kidneys and then is passed in the urine. But if a cat has kidney disease, some urea is let out when a cat exhales.

Musty or foul breath. Blame liver disease in its advanced stages. When the liver cannot properly do its job of filtering toxic substances, sulfur-smelling dimethyl sulfide makes it way to the lungs, and the musty or foul breath emitted is known medically as fetor hepaticus: breath of the dead.

Morning breath, but all day long. This might mean your cat has a serious case of periodontal disease. Eventually, it can destroy the bone that supports the teeth, causing them to become unstable and potentially leading to
significant pain.


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