It has been shown that the prevalence of both clinical attachment loss (CAL) ≥1 mm and pocket probing depth (PPD) ≥4 mm is relatively high even in younger dogs, but also that only a minority of the dogs have such clinical signs of periodontal disease (PD) in more than a few teeth. Hence, a minority of dogs carry the major PD burden. These epidemiological features suggest that screening for PD in larger groups of dogs, allowing for rapid assessment of treatment planning, or for the selection of dogs with or without PD prior to be included in experimental trials, should be possible. CAL is the central variable in assessing PD extent and severity while PPD is the central variable used in treatment planning which make these two variables obvious in a screening protocol with the dual aim of disease identification and treatment planning. The main purpose of the present study in 98 laboratory Beagle dogs was to construct a fast, simple and accurate screening tool, which is highly sensitive for the identification of dogs with PD.
Examination of the maxillary P4, P3, P2, I1 and C would, in this population, result in the identification of 85.5% of all dogs and 96% of all teeth positive for CAL ≥1 mm, and 58.9% of all dogs and 82.1% of all teeth positive for PD ≥4 mm.
Examination of tooth pairs, all C’s, maxillary I2, M2 and the mandibular P4 would, in this population result in identification of 92.9% of all dogs and 97.3% of all teeth positive for PD ≥4 mm, and 65.5% of all dogs and 83.2% of all teeth positive for CAL ≥1 mm. The results presented here only pertain to the present study population.
This screening protocol is suitable for examination of larger groups of laboratory Beagle dogs for PD and our findings indicate that diseased dogs are identified with a high degree of sensitivity. Before this screening can be used in clinical practice, it has to be validated in breeds other than Beagle dogs and in populations with larger age variation.