Update: Pfizer Discontinues Periodontitis Vaccine

The vaccine was designed as an aid in preventing periodontitis.

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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 

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.

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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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