02161-A: Supporting the Evidence-Based Use of Antibiotic Gels after Extensive Dental Plaque Removal in Dogs

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,156
Django Martel, DVM; The Animal Medical Center
November 1, 2014 - October 31, 2016

Sponsor(s): Chihuahua Club of America, Hoffman Miniature Schnauzer Donor Advised Fund

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: General Canine Health
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Canine periodontal disease (gum disease) is the most common cause of tooth loss and is a source of chronic bacterial infection, contributing to adverse health conditions including kidney failure and endocarditis. Treatment options are limited and their benefits remain uncertain due to a lack of evidence-based research. The cause of canine periodontal disease is accumulation of plaque under the gum line that leads to inflammation and progressive erosion of normal periodontal structures, including the gums, tooth root and supporting facial bones. The first step in the evolution of gum disease is development of a periodontal "pocket;" a gap between the gum line and tooth margin that traps food and bacteria and promotes continued destruction of these supporting structures. In healthy gums the depth of the periodontal space measures less than 2 millimeters. With periodontal disease this space becomes larger, and consensus opinion is that deep pockets promote rapid progression of gum disease. Detection of mild pockets (measuring 3-5 mm) indicates that dental disease is present and progressing. A treatment technique called root planning (deep plaque removal) can slow the deepening of periodontal pockets, and veterinarians often consider use of local antibiotic gel therapy placed into the pockets after root planning under the assumption that they retard plaque regrowth and potentially reduce pocket depth. However, this benefit has not been clearly demonstrated in the dog through studies funded independent of corporate-sponsored studies. Dr. Martel and colleagues will establish whether the use of antibiotic gel therapy (doxycycline hyclate gel or clindamycin hydrochloride hydrogel) reduces periodontal disease and provide veterinarians with the evidence needed for effective periodontal disease management.


Martel, D. P., Fox, P. R., Lamb, K. E., & Carmichael, D. T. (2019). Comparison of closed root planing with versus without concurrent doxycycline hyclate or clindamycin hydrochloride gel application for the treatment of periodontal disease in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 254(3), 373–379. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.254.3.373

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