Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Update on Better Oral Health

Periodontal disease is the plaque-induced inflammation/infection of the gums, periodongal ligament, and alveolar bone; in other words, the structures that hold the teeth in the jaw.  Besides the obvious eventual loss of teeth, pets with periodontal disease experience mouth pain, bad breath, and the potential for infection to travel through the blood to the organs, especially the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs.  You may be saying to yourself, "Surely not my pet, Doc!"  The fact is 85% of pets are affected by three years of age.

Breeds of particular concern are the toy dogs (Yorkie, Maltese, Chihuahua- the ones you can pick up with one hand.) and the sight hounds (Greyhounds, Collies, and other long nosed types).  These guys are more seriously affected earlier in life.

We now have another arrow in our quiver in the never-ending fight against oral disease.  Pfizer Animal Health developed a vaccine against three bacteria in the Genus Porphyromonas (Poor*fear*o*moan*es)  that account for 70% of periodontal infections!  This vaccine does not decrease the need for established oral health modalities (chewing, brushing, and predental exam/cleaning as needed).  However, the mainstay of therapy is rendered far more effective if the immune system is doing double time to protect the parts of the tooth that we can't see!  Big bonus!  Another positive effect of this vaccine is the reduction or elimination of bad breath in most vaccinated patients.

If you are interested in more information, let us know the next time you're in (or give us a call)!

Brian C. Ray, DVM

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