Will a Perioceutic be in your Pet's Future?

It is estimated that 80% of all dogs and cats over three years of age have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the most common of all small animal maladies. More common than skin and gastrointestinal problems combined. Obviously, animals can't brush their own teeth, so bacteria build  above and below the gumline. Bacterial by-products loosen the tooth's attachment, eventually causing pain and tooth loss. In addition, the bacteria from periodontal disease may cause secondary kidney, liver, and heart disease.

Periodontitis starts as gingivitis, an inflammation of the gum line caused by plaque (bacterial) irritation. When treated with  professional teeth cleaning, polishing, and daily home brushing care, gingivitis is reversible. When gingivitis is ignored or not treated appropriately, bacteria accumulate and change into harmful anaerobes which then destroy the supporting bone (periodontitis).

What can a caring pet owner do to help their dog or cat? The first step is to examine the mouth. Smell your pet's breath, if there is a disagreeable odor, there is a problem. Bad breath (halitosis) comes from gingivitis. Severe halitosis from periodontitis. The next step is a trip to your veterinarian. He or she will examine your pet's mouth while awake, and thoroughly check each tooth while under anesthesia. A complete oral exam includes probing each tooth for bone loss. Those teeth with marked bone loss (greater than 5 millimeters in the dog and 3 millimeters in the cat) will need surgical care to remove infected tissue from  around the root and reposition the gum thus eliminating the pocket. Those with less bone loss can usually be cared for nonsurgically with manual and ultrasonic scaling followed by polishing.

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Perioceutic used to help decrease
periodontal pocket depth

A new product, a periodontal disease therapeutic doxycycline gel by Heska, has been approved by the FDA for periodontal pockets (areas of bone loss) greater than 4 millimeters. The perioceutic, when injected into the pocket, releases an antibiotic gel for several weeks, thereby decreasing bacterial infection below the gumline, in the periodontal ligament and supporting bone, eventually resulting in decreased pocket depths.

This gel has several advantages. First, it requires no client or patient participation. The veterinarian injects the product into the area of bone loss. The client applies a chlorhexidine rinse daily, and refrains from brushing their pet's teeth for two weeks. Additionally, the procedure is less expensive than periodontal surgery.

Perioceutics are not a panacea for periodontal disease. After the treatment period, home care (daily brushing) is still mandatory to remove daily plaque accumulation and control periodontal disease.


This page last updated on October 31, 2000
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Jan Bellows, DVM
All Pets Dental Clinic
17100 Royal Palm Blvd.
Weston, FL 33326
(954) 349-5800