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Update: Pfizer Discontinues Periodontitis Vaccine

By Lori Luechtefeld

Pfizer Animal Health’s canine Porphyromonas vaccine has been discontinued, effective early April 2011, due to efficacy issues. The product was designed as an aid to preventing periodontitis.UPDATE: 4/28/11 -- Pfizer Animal Health’s canine Porphyromonas vaccine has been discontinued, effective early April 2011, due to efficacy issues. The product was designed as an aid to preventing periodontitis.

The Porphyromonas Denticanis-Gulae-Salivosa Bacterin vaccine was conditionally licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in September 2006. Since then, the Madison, N.J.-based company has conducted a 48-month field efficacy study intended to support the full licensure of this product.

Although the study confirmed the vaccine’s safety, it “did not demonstrate a vaccine effect in vaccinates (as compared to controls) for either of the key efficacy variables assessed (attachment loss and gingival bleeding index),” according to a letter sent to veterinarians in early March by Oliver Knesl, BVSc, MRCVS, marketing manager of companion animal biologicals at Pfizer Animal Health.

On the basis of these results, Pfizer Animal Health will not pursue renewal of the current conditional license for the vaccine, Sherry Podhayny, VMD, told Veterinary Practice News. Dr. Podhayny is the manager of veterinary operations of companion animal biologicals at Pfizer Animal Health.

Any product still in inventory can continue to be administered safely until product expiration, she  said. The company has produced a pet owner communication tear sheet. The sheet gives further details about the study and offers other options for keeping dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

Pfizer Introduces Vaccine to Prevent Canine Periodontitis 


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One of the latest veterinary tools to help combat periodontal disease in dogs is the Porphyromonas vaccine, introduced by Pfizer Animal Health in October. The conditionally licensed vaccine is designed to aid in the prevention of periodontitis in healthy dogs, as demonstrated by a reduction in bone changes associated with the bacteria P. gulae, P. salivosa and P. denticanis.

Earlier Pfizer research determined that these three bacteria are the ones most commonly associated with canine periodontitis. The company reports that periodontal disease affects an estimated 85 percent of all dogs by age 3.

The vaccine, which can be used in dogs as young as 7 weeks old, is administered in two doses, three weeks apart. It is designated for use in healthy dogs, meaning that dogs already exhibiting signs of periodontal disease should undergo treatment to restore teeth to a healthy state before use of the vaccine is considered as a means of preventing further disease, says Heidi Lobprise, DVM, Dipl. AVDC, a senior veterinary specialist with Pfizer Animal Health.

In laboratory and field safety studies, no significant adverse events were reported following the vaccine’s administration. Duration of immunity has not yet been established, but additional efficacy and potency studies are in progress.

“This vaccine is not a replacement for other elements of a dental care program,” says Dr. Lobprise. “At every step of the way, veterinarians should discuss with clients how this is a new tool to complement other protocols.”

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Update: Pfizer Discontinues Periodontitis Vaccine

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Reader Comments
I would not give the vaccine to my dog, and I work at a vet clinic. We carry it, but use it extremely rarely, and only in extreme cases of gingivitis and periodontal disease. If you are worried about these health issues, teach your dog to allow you to brush its teeth!!! I know it is harder with some little dogs, but there are tartar-reducing drops to put in your dog's water, or wipes or oral rinses (look up Virbac CET products)... so many more options than depending on a vaccine whose efficacy has not been proven, and seems to have severe side effects.
Leigh, Vista, CA
Posted: 7/21/2011 6:57:10 PM
I was told by my vet that the peridontal vaccine will be discontinued? Is this true?
Ann-Marie, Superior, WI
Posted: 4/25/2011 7:59:51 PM
Please help me. My dog developed epilepsy when he was about 6 1/2 years old. It was shocking to me because he had a Grand Mahl Seizure and kept having them every few hours. We started him on pheno and he did not have another seizure for almost 2 years. We had gone away on vacation and he had a seizure just before I came home. I thought the stress of me being away may have brought it on or that my dog sitter missed a dose of his medicine. Anyhow my vet suggested the gingivitis injection back in 2008 because he always had very bad breath, dispite my brushing his teeth every other day. However he experienced so much pain at the injection site that I didn't give him the second injection. I just took him to the vet on Monday at 11:00 A.M. and we decided to give him the shot again but this time by his shoulder so it wouldn't bother his back so much. Well I could tell he was having alot of discomfort so she recommended Rimidyl for the pain. At 7:30 P.M. I gave him his pheno , he was resting comfortably and at 8:00 he had a grand mahl seizure and died within a minute. I am so heartbroken. Before his visit to the vet he was a nine year old toy poodle who everyone thought was a puppy. I blame myself because I feel if I didn't give him the shot he'd still be here today. Is there anything you could tell me that might make me feel better. I am not upset with the company, just myself.
Anita, Oceanside, NY
Posted: 10/13/2010 2:49:28 PM
What are the side effects? My dog recently had this shot and is exhibiting swelling and pain in the area the shot was given.
Jean, Cottage Grove, OR
Posted: 7/31/2010 3:46:15 PM
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