Atopic dermatitis, or AD, is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease affecting dogs, causing defects of the skin barrier and modifications of the normal cutaneous microflora. While multiple treatment options are available, there is a growing interest in the use of alternative natural ingredient products. In human AD reports show the potential benefits of topical applications of heat-killed beneficial bacteria, with some studies demonstrating the efficacy of rapidly killed beneficial lactobacilli in ameliorating clinical symptoms. A recent clinical trial led by Dr. Domenico Santoro and Clinical Trail Coordinator Lana Fagman from the UF Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, and performed in collaboration with UF | ICBR scientists Drs. Yanping Zhang and Yu Fahong, investigated the efficacy of a spray version of a veterinary product containing heat killed lactobacilli (L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri) marketed as an adjuvant therapy for allergic dogs on the clinical signs of canine AD. This spray was applied once a day for 28 days on ten privately owned, mildly affected, dogs and clinical symptoms and skin microbiota analyzed.
Breeds included two Great Danes, three mixed-breed dogs, two pit bull terriers and one each of a German shepherd, Jack Russell terrier and French bulldog.
Microbial skin flora was examined in the UF | ICBR Gene Expression Core using 16S rRNA DNA sequencing under the direction of Dr. Zhang, and bacterial species identified by Dr. Fahong in the UF | ICBR Bioinformatics Core. Results showed a significant and rapid decrease in the clinical signs associated with AD after use of the spray with no effects cutaneous microbiota. Future larger, randomized, controlled studies are needed to confirm these results and to assess the effects on the cutaneous immunity and microflora of atopic dogs.