Inflammation of the mouth presents itself in a variety of forms, sometimes resulting in an eruption of white raised spots on the tongue, gums, and other parts of the cavity. In this form it is commonly spoken of as aphthae or thrush. Another and altogether distinct variety of the disease is marked by a more intense and deep-seated inflammation, which soon causes death of the part attacked and ends in sloughing and deep-seated ulceration.

Simple stomatitis may be the result of a disordered stomach, or arise out of the administration of medicines insufficiently diluted, or the mistaken administration of liniments or embrocations for draughts. It results occasionally from the stings of wasps, as also from the irritating influence of acrid plants. In young animals it arises in the course of natural changes going on in the teeth, and in old ones from mechanical irritation and laceration (wounding) which the sharp and irregular edges of their teeth inflict on the tongue and cheeks in the act of feeding, and while the animal is being driven with the bit tightly drawn up in the mouth.

Symptoms

The symptoms exhibited in this form of the disease are very characteristic. The mouth is filled with a thick ropy saliva and emits a disagreeable odour. The membrane lining it is red, hot, tender, and swollen, and in some cases the epithelium (outer surface) peels off from it in thin fragments. Food is taken cautiously, or altogether refused; or it may, after a few turns between the teeth, be cast from the mouth or, as it is termed, "quidded".

Cold water is eagerly sought after, and should an opportunity occur, the patient plunges the mouth into it and finds relief in its cooling effect on the inflamed and heated surface.

Should the irritation extend to the throat, as it sometimes will, difficulty may be experienced in swallowing, more especially solid food.

Treatment

Treatment of this form of the disease must depend more especially upon the cause to which it is referred. Where it arises out of stomach derangement a dose of aperient medicine is called for. This may take the form of a suitable dose of aloes, to be given after two or three feeds of soft bran.

After the physic has ceased to act, tone may be imparted to the stomach and digestion assisted by the administration of a powder consisting of common salt, bicarbonate of potash, and gentian root, which should be given in the food morning and evening. Careful dieting will also require to be observed until the mouth resumes its natural condition, and of course the bit must be withheld from it until this is effected.

In all cases of this disease the teeth should be carefully examined, and where irregularities are found to exist, they must be promptly corrected by the free use of the tooth rasp or other means, according to the nature of the disturbance. (See "Diseases of the Teeth".)

Inflammation resulting from stings and chemical irritants calls for physic and the application of soothing agents to the injured surface. A suitable electuary for the last-named purpose may be compounded by adding a little extract of belladonna to glycerine and treacle. Of this a small portion may be put into the mouth three or four times a day, or it may be swabbed over now and again with linseed-oil.