New formula shows promise as a treatment option for oral dysbiosis in cats

A unique new formula known as Protektin30™ may offer an effective solution for oral dysbiosis in feline patients.

Oral dysbiosis, an imbalance of the microbial community that inhabits the oral cavity is more well-studied in humans and dogs but evidence suggests that dysbiosis also correlates with feline chronic gingivitis and gingivostomatitis (FGS).1,9 FGS is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by mucosal inflammation and swelling of the gingiva, causing pain and abnormal chewing/feeding behavior.8


A hallmark of oral dysbiosis is the loss of microbial diversity within the oral cavity. In lower GI and skin microbiome research, loss of diversity strongly correlates with an increase in inflammation.2,3 Recent work has characterized the in situ inflammatory responses driven by a dysbiotic microbiome. Briefly, it has been shown to elicit characteristic Th17/Th23 immune responses, including increases in IL-6 and IL-23 cytokine levels and an accumulation of neutrophil invasion the affected gingival tissue.7  This can then lead to gingival swelling, stimulation of gingival nerves surrounding the periodontal ligament and inappropriate growth factor expression.10,11

A second hallmark of oral dysbiosis is the increased presence (burden) of pathogenic microbes, such as Porphyromonas sp., Tannerella sp., Treponema sp., and/or abnormally high levels of commensal microbes such as Fretibacterium sp., Peptostreptococcus sp., and Catonella sp.4-6,12

A third hallmark of oral dysbiosis is the loss of or significant decreased presence of beneficial microbes known to be protective (they either regulate healthy immune balance or promote healthy barrier functions). Less is known about the feline oral microbiome, but several groups (ourselves included) are focused on their identification and characterization.

Considering the cause

The most significant driver for the development of oral dysbiosis in feline is diet. Age, exercise, exposure to antibiotics, some medications, and an alteration of the cat’s health (particularly having to do with salivary output and liver function) have also been linked.

A targeted treatment approach

We developed an approach to rehabilitate a dysbiotic oral microbiome in felines. Briefly, an ideal approach would be safe and well-tolerated for daily consumption, work directly on the oral microbiome upon contact, and induce changes in the composition of the oral microbiome in a relatively short period of time.

After screening hundreds of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredients with ideal safety profiles for daily consumption in felines, we identified several target ingredients that selectively (i) blocked the growth of pathogenic bacteria and fungus in the oral cavity, (ii) but induced the growth of beneficial microbes in co-culture and in oral biofilm studies.

Formulation studies showed a synergism when used in combination that were ideal for use in feline, particularly when administered in drinking water. This synergistic combination of ingredients is called Protektin30™ and has been tested in over 198 oral biofilm cultures showing significant ability to reduce the growth of harmful species such as Catonella sp., Peptostreptococcus sp., Porphyromonas sp., Staphylococcus sp. and enables persistence of more balanced levels of commensals that are often found in healthy felines. Protektin30™ will be undergoing placebo-controlled clinical evaluation in 2021. More can be found at















Emily Stein, Ph.D. founded Primal Health (TEEF for Life) in 2017 to focus on improving the dental health of both humans and animals by producing oral microbiome modulation products. She has spent 12 years developing Selective Microbial Metabolism Regulation Technology (SMMRT™) at Primal Therapies, Inc., which is focused on using metabolic influencers to re-engineer disease-causing bacterial biofilms into those that are health-promoting, to decrease inflammation and to improve outcomes. Prior to that, she spent 7 years as a research fellow at Stanford University in Rheumatology and Immunology focused on the neuro-endocrine-immune axis in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases. She holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California at Berkeley where she studied inter- and intra-cellular signaling pathways involved in stress response and community development in bacteria and received her B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa where she studied the interaction between M. tuberculosis and innate immune cells.


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