Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed condition in cats, according to a newly published study.
Researchers at London’s Royal Veterinary College investigated the veterinary records of 18,249 randomly selected cats. Among the key findings:
- Periodontal disease was diagnosed in 15.2% of the cats and was the most commonly diagnosed condition.
- Cat breeds at the highest risk included Siamese, Maine coon and British short-hair.
- Affected cats typically had a higher-than-average body weight.
- Cats over 9 years of age were 6.7 times more likely to have periodontal disease compared with those under 3 years old.
- Cats with periodontal disease were at a higher risk for other health conditions, such as cardiac dysrhythmia, ear discharge and hairballs.
The study was led by the college’s VetCompass Programme. Additional details are at bit.ly/3zcMyQi.
“As a veterinary dentist, I see periodontal disease and its effects in cats on a daily basis,” said study co-author Dr. Alix Freeman. “I see the huge welfare impact this infectious disease has on our patients. … Prevention is the key to management of periodontal disease.”
Other recent research investigating feline periodontal conditions includes:
- Dental pain: Cats frequently hide vulnerabilities, such as pain. To better understand feline dental disease as a pain trigger and whether its severity correlates with pain, researchers performed a six-month prospective study in a cats-only veterinary hospital. They assessed dental and periodontal abnormalities, as well as clinical signs related to dental pain, using the Feline Acute Pain Scale from the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The study concluded that cats with dental disease feel pain during clinical examination, and the pain increases as disease severity progresses.
- Gingivitis and oral spirochetes: The study determined the association between gingivitis and oral spirochetes in young dogs and cats. The prevalence of gingivitis was significantly higher in young cats (92.6%) than in young dogs (45.2%), and spirochetes were significantly associated with gingivitis in young cats. The results suggest that spirochetes might be associated with early-stage periodontal disease in cats.