April 29, 2011
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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