Periodontal diseases (POD) represent a group of inflammatory oral conditions causing destruction of periodontal tissues and pain. Plaque-induced gingivitis and chronic periodontitis are among the most common types of POD and represent a significant cause of morbidity in cats of all ages, particularly older animals. Gingivitis is typically characterized by redness, swelling, bleeding and pain. Without treatment, POD can lead to loss of periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone. This produces an increased periodontal pocket depth, decreased crown attachment, gingival recession, and increased tooth mobility. Severe periodontal diseases result in the release of bacteria, cell breakdown products and inflammatory mediators into the bloodstream, which can have distant pro-inflammatory effects in organs such as the heart, kidneys and joints.
Although gingivitis typically precedes periodontitis, not all cases of gingivitis result in periodontitis. This highlights an important aspect of disease development, which is host susceptibility and local inflammatory response. Fatty acids are increasingly being recognized as important immunoregulators, modulating some inflammatory pathways. Fatty acids, including 1 tetradecanol (1-TDC), have been successfully administered for the treatment of experimentally induced periodontitis in animals including rabbits.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate the treatment of chronic periodontal disease in cats with oral application of 1-TDC. The study was designed as a prospective, randomized clinical trial, where 13 cats from a university teaching colony with moderate to marked POD were randomly assigned to either the 1-TDC treatment group (n=9) or the control group (n=4). Cats in the treatment group received daily 1-TDC oral gel administration for 6 weeks (525 mg 1-TDC per capsule), and cats in the control group received daily placebo (0.25 mL olive oil) administration. Cats will concurrent illness or receiving other medications were excluded from the study.
All cats underwent an oral examination under general anesthetic (except dental radiographs) at the beginning of the study period. Periodontal pocket depth, gingivitis index, bleeding, tooth mobility, and crown attachment were recorded for each cat. The cats then underwent treatment for 6 weeks, then underwent a second oral examination under general anesthetic (without dental radiographs). A single assessor performed the oral examinations.
Results indicated that the treatment group showed a significant reduction in periodontal pocket depth, crown attachment, gingivitis index and bleeding at the end of the study compared to the control group. No significant change in POD parameters were noted in the control group. The only parameter of POD that did not change significantly in the treatment group was tooth mobility. The authors report that no adverse effects were reported during the study period, and that administration of the treatment was easy and was accepted willingly by all cats.
Several potential limitations of the present study exist. Firstly, results are limited to clinical changes as no radiographic, histopathological or immunohistochemical analyses were performed. Secondly, the small sample size may limit statistical power. Lastly, no standard dosing or administration protocol has been established in cats, and therefore dosing was arbitrarily selected based on previous research performed in rabbits, a species in which POD may present differently than in cats.
In conclusion, the authors reported that 1-TDC was effective at improving clinical markers of POD in cats with moderate to marked POD over a 6 weekk period of daily oral administration. The authors emphasize, based on previous work in both human and animal medicine, that immune support and modulation of local inflammation are important aspects of managing POD. 1-TDC may be effective at managing POD in cats as part of a multi-modal approach to oral preventive healthcare, including tooth brushing, nutritional therapy, and other adjunct treatment approaches. (HM)