Researchers at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the U.K. have, for the first time, identified the bacteria associated with feline periodontitis. This condition, characterized by inflammation of the gums and other tissues, is estimated to affect two-thirds of cats over 3 years of age, causing pain, difficulty eating and tooth loss.
The scientists say their findings, recently published in PLOS One, are a pivotal step in developing interventions such as oral health and dietary products. Working with veterinary dentists at the Harvard-affiliated Forsyth Institute in Boston, they used DNA techniques to find 267 bacterial species in plaque that they obtained from 92 cats with both healthy gums and mild periodontitis.
The studies also revealed that the bacterial species in feline plaque were more similar to those in canine plaque than those found in human plaque.