Porphyromonas dental vaccination against periodontal disease in dogs helps prevent gum infection, tooth loss, and damage to heart, liver and kidneys.
Periodontal disease, according to the American Veterinary Dental College, is the most common clinical condition in companion animals. Most dog owners are familiar with dental chewies, specific dental diets, regular teeth brushing, and professional dental cleanings for their pet’s oral health but lesser known is a dental vaccine for dogs.
Symptoms of Gum Disease in Dogs
Periodontitis can be painful and is caused by infection from bacteria in plaque and tartar buildup which destroys the gums, ligaments, and bone that support the teeth. Infection can also enter the bloodstream and damage the heart, liver, and kidneys. Symptoms may include bad breath, red, inflamed gums, tartar buildup on teeth, tooth loss, pawing at the mouth, and hesitancy to eat. The muzzle may also swell in the case of an abscessed tooth.
Porphyromonas Vaccine by Pfizer
A Porphyromonas vaccine was developed after Pfizer research determined that the bacteria responsible for most periodontitis are Porphyromonas gulae, Porphyromonas salivosa, and Porphyromonas denticani. These bacteria associated with periodontitis can also enter the bloodstream, damaging the heart, liver, and kidneys in our pets. It’s easy to understand why keeping your dog’s teeth clean is so essential to good oral health and comfort as well as overall health.
The vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart, and is considered safe for puppies as young as seven weeks. It has been recommended to revaccinate at yearly or twice-yearly intervals, although this can vary as the veterinarian evaluates each case. The vaccination seems to work best in dogs who do not already have periodontal disease.
Vaccine Part of Complete Dental Care Program
As convenient and straightforward as it sounds, the efficacy and potency of this vaccine has not yet been adequately demonstrated. According to the Pfizer company, research suggests it as an aid in preventing periodontitis, as shown in bone changes associated with porphyromonas bacteria.
Dental care should begin when the dog is young and continue throughout life. Brushing teeth is most comfortable when it has been introduced to the young puppy, but older dogs can become accustomed to having their teeth cleaned as well. Toothpaste made especially for dogs should always be used. They often have flavors favorable to dogs that will make the job easier. Human toothpaste should never be used as they can contain ingredients harmful for dogs.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council has put together a list of foods and chewy products that have their seal of acceptance. Due to choking hazard, dogs with chewies should always be monitored.
Your veterinarian can best advise you about professional cleanings and whether the Porphyromonas vaccine is appropriate for your dog.