Organ disease caused by Dental Disease
Dr Colin Harvey, one of the true grandfathers of veterinary dentistry was just quoted in the very well respected Clinicians Brief January 2012 discussing the implications of distant organ or systemic disease related to periodontal disease in dogs & cats.
With over 85% of pets 2 years or older suffering from periodontal disease it is without a doubt the most common disease we treat as veterinarians and its relationship to systemic disease is all important.
We have focused on comprehensive dental cleanings and advanced dental procedures since the mid 1980′s but never before has there been such good evidence to support good dental care in particular regular teeth cleaning & good dental home care for pets.
Dr Ken attended the annual 3 day Veterinary Dental Forum held in Boston on November 12, 2011. Many of the lectures addressed advanced procedures (functional bonded sealants, root canal therapy and associated complications as well as bone & tissue regeneration) that can be prevented.
The topic that drew a large crowd and that Dr Harvey referenced was one given by Dr Colleen O’ Morrow, a board certified veterinary dentist from Canada. She focused on the similarities and research available in humans and dogs citing 42 different published papers came up with these take home points regarding the risk of systemic disease in dogs that have Periodontal Disease (PD).
1) The relationship between plaque bacteria and how they cause disease is complex and some strong parallels exist between pets & people.
2) The genus Porphyromonas is a major player (P gingivalis in people P gulae in dogs) as is Treponema.
3) These bacteria are able to attach to and invade cells, produce toxins and stimulate host immune responses.
4) Liver cell inflammation was directly related to Periodontal Disease (PD) in one study.
5) Serum inflammatory markers were increased as the severity of PD increased and some of markers decreased after periodontal therapy.
6) Kidney tubular degeneration suggestive of immune complex damage and liver inflammation was found in 48 to 50% of miniature poodles in another study.
7) The chronic inflammation of PD increased the risk for atrial fibrillation.
8) The risk of endocarditis was 6 times greater in dogs that had PD.
9) There was an association between the severity of PD and systemic inflammation.
10) There was a positive correlation between the severity of PD and the diagnosis of kidney disease in dogs.
While none of these studies can be taken without analysis, they clearly report that there is strong emerging evidence (most within past 4 years) to support a strong preventative approach (yearly teeth cleaning and good dental home care) to periodontal disease in dogs & cats as is outlined in the AAHA guidelines which were developed with board certified dentist input from the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS).
Stay tuned in this exciting area as new information becomes available!