Non-controlled, open-label clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of a dietetic food on pruritus and dermatologic scoring in atopic dogs
Werre, Stephen R.
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Abstract Background Canine atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common skin disease. The goal of this study was to evaluate food designed to improve skin barrier function and lower inflammation to reduce pruritus and clinical severity in client-owned atopic dogs. The food contained an antioxidant blend to reduce oxidative stress, plant polyphenols to stabilize mast cells, and polyunsaturated fatty acids to improve skin health and reduce inflammation. Results Seventeen dogs were included in the analysis. Initially 48 adult atopic dogs were enrolled and exclusively fed a dermatologic food for 8 weeks in a non-controlled, open-label study. Thirty-one dogs were excluded for the following reasons: oral and topical medication changes (n = 17), missing data (n = 4), fatty acid supplementation (n = 3), food refusal (n = 3), dropped out (n = 3), and owner concerns (n = 1). Using a scale from 0 (normal) - 4 (severe), veterinarians evaluated the presence and severity of clinical signs of atopy at weeks 0, 4, and 8. Pet owners also rated their pet’s clinical signs of atopy on a scale from 0 (not present) - 10 (present continuously) at weeks 0, 4, and 8. Compared with initial baseline scores (median 19, range 3–69), the total veterinarian scores were significantly lower at weeks 4 (median 11, range 1–15) and 8 (median 7, range 3–46) (p < 0.05). Similarly, owner assessments showed significant improvements in the least squares mean (LSM) from baseline to 4 weeks (itching, redness, licking, and scratching) continuing to 8 weeks (itching, redness, and scratching) (p < 0.05). Conclusions In this open, non-controlled study evaluating a dermatologic diet in seventeen client-owned dogs, owner and veterinarian assessments showed statistically significant reductions in clinical scores designed to measure severity of atopic dermatitis. While these results show promise for the management of canine atopic dermatitis, controlled clinical trials are also needed to affirm our findings.