February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and Basepaws is excited to share two new pet oral health research projects for which we are actively recruiting: a clinical study on canine periodontal disease with veterinary partners, and a feline stomatitis study with both citizen scientists and veterinary partners. Results from the canine study will inform our work to develop a brand new Basepaws oral health test for dogs. Findings from the feline study will help us include a new stomatitis risk assessment in the Basepaws oral health test for cats. Learn how to get involved in these exciting new Basepaws research programs so that together, we can improve the oral health and overall well-being of our beloved pets with easy to use tools for early recognition, intervention, and treatment of diseases that affect oral health.
Stomatitis, also known as Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS), is a poorly understood dental disease that affects 0.7% to 10% of the general cat population. The elusive nature of FCGS makes it difficult to determine its cause(s), and by extension deciding a course of appropriate treatment. Stomatitis is a painful and debilitating disease; screening tools that identify signs of stomatitis sooner could support clinical efforts to understand causes of the disease and inform individualized treatment plans.
Chronic feline gingivostomatitis presents a challenge for veterinary practitioners, including etiology, how to diagnose, what to tell clients, and the best way to treat. The oral microbiome is altered in cases of periodontal disease, tooth resorption, and chronic gingivostomatitis. Gathering and examining salivary swabs to sample the oral microbiome may be one of the keys to unlocking the mystery of tooth resorption and stomatitis in the cat—presenting a unique screening tool for essentially matching the patient’s oral microbiome findings with peer-reviewed, evidence-based oral microbiome controls for the common oral diseases in the cat.
–Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, FAVD
The Basepaws Oral Health Test for Cats assesses a cat’s risk for periodontal disease, tooth resorption, and halitosis (bad breath). We are currently running a clinical recruitment trial with veterinary partners to collect more samples from cats with these three diseases, and to add clinical samples from cats with a confirmed stomatitis diagnosis. We are also recruiting cats through our citizen science program that have clinical records confirming a stomatitis diagnosis.
Research results will help us add a new stomatitis risk assessment to our oral health test so that the disease can be detected earlier and help improve the prognosis for cats suffering from this condition.
Canine Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar, is a progressive, inflammatory disease of the supporting structures of the teeth and is the most common dental disease of adult dogs. The earlier that this disease can be detected, the greater the effect that proper intervention and treatment can have on reversing its effects and halting progression to more advanced stages.
Basepaws’ study on canine periodontal disease focuses on clinical data collection with veterinary partners. Findings will inform the creation of a brand new Basepaws oral health test for dogs that is just as easy to use, painless, and non-invasive as our current cat oral health test. This test can be administered by a pet parent in the convenience of their home or by their veterinarian in the clinic.
Get Involved in Basepaws Research
Basepaws seeks veterinary hospital and veterinary oral health specialist partners for both our feline stomatitis and canine periodontitis studies to help us meet our clinical recruitment goals. Our unique approach to identifying pre-clinical indicators of dental disease combines a pet’s genomic, oral microbiome, and health history data.
Participation involves following a simple study protocol for collecting an oral swab sample from qualifying patients, filling out basic screening information for each sample, and sharing patients’ clinical records. We offer our partners compensation for every collected sample that matches particular criteria, and we also supply the oral swab collection kits for obtaining feline and canine clinical samples. These samples will undergo shotgun metagenomic sequencing—the most comprehensive method for screening the full range of microorganisms in a pet’s mouth.
If you are a veterinarian or a representative of a veterinary clinic or hospital interested in working with us on one or more of these studies, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also visit the Basepaws Research page to learn about other ongoing studies.
Citizen Science Research
If your cat has been diagnosed with stomatitis, their oral swab sample will contribute to the advancement of improved screening tools for this dental disease. Click on the Basepaws feline stomatitis application link to be considered for this citizen science research program (we are only recruiting U.S.-based citizen scientists and cats at this time).
If your cat qualifies, Basepaws will send you an oral swab kit to collect your cat’s DNA sample (if we don’t already have their sample on file). Additionally, you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire and provide your cat’s medical records. All qualifying participants who are new to Basepaws will also receive a complementary Basepaws cat DNA digital report as a thank you for your participation.