It has been estimated that 80% of dogs and cats have some degree of periodontal disease by 4 years of age. Lack of routine dental care contributes to disease, but periodontal pathogens probably play a role. In people, Porphyromonas gingivalis has been implicated in periodontal disease. Porphyromonas species have also been isolated from dogs with periodontal disease, with P. gulae one of the most common. This study was designed to see if a vaccine made from P. gulae could reduce bone loss in a mouse model. The mice were vaccinated subcutaneously with whole-cell bacterin preparations. They were then challenged by gavage with suspensions containing bacteria or sterile saline. Alveolar bone loss was measured. Vaccinated mice had significantly less bone loss. The results of this study suggest that a periodontal disease vaccine may be a useful tool in preventing progression of periodontitis in animals. Study sponsored by Pfizer, Inc.

COMMENTARY: Pet owners often are concerned about "doggie breath," not realizing the role periodontitis plays in halitosis. Studies have shown that reducing periodontitis in dogs reduces this problem. The potential benefit of a vaccine to reduce periodontitis and therefore halitosis is something to look forward to.

Evaluation of a monovalent companion animal periodontal disease vaccine in an experimental mouse periodontitis model. Hardham J, Reed M, Wong J, et al. VACCINE 23:3148-3156, 2005.