Epidemiology of periodontal disease in older cats
Oral cavity disease is the most prevalent diagnosis in both dogs and cats. Not only are many of these disorders preventable, the reported associations between periodontal disease and systemic illness in both animals and humans...
Oral cavity disease is the most prevalent diagnosis in both dogs and cats 1. Not only are many of these disorders preventable, the reported associations between periodontal disease and systemic illness in both animals 2 3 4 and humans 5 6 should motivate the clinician towards proactive measures which will positively impact the overall quality of life for both pet and owner.
Methods of analysis
For this population analysis, feline in-patients seen in 2006 that were ≥ 5 years of age and had received one or more diagnoses in the oral disease category were selected. These cases were compared to a sample of 5,000 feline in-patients with a similar age distribution but with no oral disease diagnosis. Overall prevalence rates for all oral diseases, including periodontal disease diagnoses, were generated from the Banfield in-patient population. Prevalence of the clinical signs reported for the population with periodontal disease (dental calculus; gingivitis; gingival recession; periodontal pockets and/or subgingival calculus) were also estimated. Logistic regression was used to determine risk factors important in predicting which cats are most likely to be diagnosed with periodontal disease. Potential risk factors included in the model were age, breed, gender, region and concurrent diagnosis (i.e. overweight, obesity, heart murmur, chronic kidney disease, aggressive behavior, diabetes mellitus, dermatitis, feline immunodeficiency virus [FIV], acute renal injury, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or feline leukemia virus [FeLV]). To quantify risk, the relative risk (RR) was estimated using the odds ratio (OR) 7 for the association between age, breed, gender and the concurrent diseases of interest.
For the analysis, we used a p-value of .05 to determine statistical significance.
There were 103,934 in-patient cats aged ≥ 5 years identified from Banfield hospital records during 2006, of which 55,455 (53.4%) were diagnosed with oral disease; 16,374 (15.8%) of cats were diagnosed with periodontal disease. Of this group, the following clinical signs were reported: tartar (94.2%)*, swelling or inflammation of gums (69.5%), infected pockets in gums (18.1%), gum recession (17.7%) and halitosis (13.0%). The mean age of the case group was 9.8 years, while the mean age of the control population was 9.7 years.
Table 1 details prevalence in the periodontal disease case group for selected oral and periodontal conditions, whilst Table 2 lists the prevalence for diseases hypothesized to be associated with periodontal disease for the case group vs. the control population. Statistically significant results from the multivariate analysis can be found in Table 3.
|Disease||Case Population (n=16,374)|
|Dental calculus *||39.7%|
|Periodontal disease, grade 2 **||25.1%|
|Periodontal disease, grade 1 **||20.6%|
|Periodontal disease (unspecified) **||16.2%|
|Periodontal disease, grade 3 **||15.9%|
|Periodontal disease, grade 4 **||4.6%|
|Disease/condition||Cases (n=16,374)||Controls (n=5,000)|
|Chronic renal failure||3.3%||3.1%|
|Acute renal failure||0.5%||0.4%|
|Variable in model||Relative risk***||Confidence interval|
* Note that the figures for calculus and tartar vary because dental calculus is a diagnosis and tartar is an examination finding - if tartar was noted on examination but wasn’t severe enough to warrant an intervention, calculus was not diagnosed.
** Periodontal disease was graded as follows: grade 1: inflammation; grade 2: inflammation, swollen gums and early bone loss; grade 3: inflammation, swelling, bone loss and loose teeth; grade 4: inflammation, swelling, pus, bone loss and loose teeth.
*** Estimated using the odds ratio. A relative risk (RR) > 1 suggests a positive association between an outcome and a factor; whereas RR < 1 suggests an inverse relationship between a factor and disease outcome; RR = 1 reflects no association.
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- Iacopino AM. Periodontitis and diabetes interrelationships: role of inflammation. Ann Periodontol 2001;6:125-137.
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Odds ratio and Relative risk. Wikipedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Relative_risk. Accessed June 8, 2012.