Gum disease in dogs has been linked in a new study to the occurrence of canine heart disease.
The study, conducted by Dr. Larry Glickman at Purdue, examined the records of nearly 60,000 dogs with some stage of periodontal disease and about 60,000 without, and revealed a correlation between gum and heart maladies.
"Our data show a clear statistical link between gum disease and heart disease in dogs," says Glickman.
The correlation was even stronger when it came to endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart valves, Glickman says. In the dogs with no periodontal disease, about 0.01 percent were diagnosed with endocarditis, compared to 0.15 percent of the Stage 3 periodontal disease dogs.
"For many candidates for heart disease, you're not talking about a single cause," says Glickman. "But it clearly speaks to more emphasis on dental care."