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Periodontitis in Dogs

By: Dr. David Nielsen

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Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize canine periodontitis. Tests may include:

  • Your veterinarian should complete a thorough dental history and dental examination. Periodontitis can be seen at almost any age and affects more than 80 percent of dogs over 3 years of age.

  • Full mouth radiographs (X-rays) are usually very important because 70 percent of the tooth structure is below the gumline and periodontitis cannot be properly diagnosed without them.

  • Periodontal probing and dental charting may be done.

  • Radiographs (X-rays) may determine the type of therapy for teeth that have bone loss because 90 percent of teeth that have 90 percent bone loss can be saved.

  • Chronic, refractory cases may benefit from anaerobic culture and sensitivities.

    Treatment In-depth

    Treatment for canine periodontitis may include one or more of the following:

  • Antimicrobials may be given one hour pre-operatively if indicated. Examples of antimicrobials are those that target gram-negative anaerobic bacteria such as clindamycin and a combination of enrofloxacin and metronidazole.

  • Chlorhexidine (0.12 percent) may be sprayed in the oral cavity which may reduce aerosolized bacteria by 95 percent at the start, middle and end of the procedure.

  • Ultrasonic scaling (removing tarter from teeth), both supra- and sub-gingival (above and below the gum line), and root planning (scraping of the tooth to remove bacteria) may be performed by an experienced veterinarian.

  • Periodontal pockets (deep space between the gum and root of the tooth) greater than 5 mm may require surgical periodontal flaps in order to effectively root plane away the calculus and bacterial biofilms.

  • Single pockets may benefit from a locally instilled perioceutic product.

    Follow-up

    The best treatment for your dog is a combination of home care and professional veterinary care. Home care is critical to the prognosis/outcome of canine periodontitis.


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