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8th World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology

Clinician's Brief (Capsule)


|May 2017

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The Role of Skin Microbiomes in Health

Recent studies have revealed the existence of diverse and complex microbial populations in the skin, digestive, respiratory, and reproductive tracts of humans and animals. These populations vary across individuals, and the term microbiome may refer to the organisms themselves or their collective genes. It is surmised that there are 10 times more microbial cells on the human body than human cells. The important functional genes of the microbiome can influence host health and are important in understanding maintenance of host health.

The skin microbiome varies across both body sites and individuals and is influenced by age, sex, diet, hygiene, lifestyle, and amount of time spent indoors vs outdoors. Cohabitation among individuals from different species (eg, humans, dogs) contributes to a more diverse skin microbial population, which is now considered to be a key component in immune regulation. Imbalances in the skin microbial population may be associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis.—Hoffman AR 

Clinician's Brief

Low Level Laser Therapy for Drug-Unresponsive Perianal Fistulas

The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of low level laser therapy (LLLT) in German shepherd dogs (n = 20) with perianal fistulas that showed little to no response to ≥2 months of medical treatment with q24h oral cyclosporine (2-5 mg/kg) and q24h topical 0.1% tacrolimus ointment. 

LLLT was performed at pulsed 905 nm and continuous 808 nm wavelengths. Sessions were conducted every 48 hours for 3 weeks, then twice weekly for 2 months. All 20 dogs showed a reduction in pain and dyschezia, if present. There was a significant reduction in lesions in 14 of 20 dogs, with complete resolution in 12 of 20. However, 10 of these 12 dogs had lesion recurrence after 2 to 3 months. Remission was maintained in 15 of 20 dogs with reduced cyclosporine doses and/or medication frequency. Statistical evaluation of the data was not performed. 

The authors proposed that LLLT be used as adjunctive therapy in German shepherd dogs with poor response to traditional medical therapy for perianal fistulas.—Ghibaudo G, Marchingiglio G

Squeeze Tape Impression for Diagnosing Canine Demodicosis

The objective of this study was to characterize and determine the specificity and sensitivity of the squeeze tape impression technique for diagnosing Demodex canis infections. 

Tape impressions had 100% sensitivity and specificity, whereas the deep scrapings had only 90% sensitivity.

Affected dogs (n = 16) and control dogs (n = 30) were compared. Clear adhesive tape (24 mm wide by 5 cm long) was placed onto 4 skin sites on each dog. The tape and underlying skin were squeezed 2 to 4 times for 2 to 3 seconds each time. Tapes were gently stretched and placed on glass slides. Deep skin scrapings were also collected. The tape impressions had 100% sensitivity and specificity, whereas the deep scrapings had only 90% sensitivity. The authors noted the tape impressions may be less invasive and more easily performed at multiple body sites as compared with deep skin scraping.—Vogelnest L, Garibotto V

Malassezia spp Yeast & Bacteria in Claw Folds of Dogs

Canine paronychia is commonly seen in dogs with atopy or cutaneous adverse food reaction. Claw fold cytologic samples were obtained via toothpick, acetate tape preparation, or direct impression smears and compared in this prospective, blinded study.

Sixty dogs were separated into 3 categories: normal dogs, allergic dogs with no signs of paronychia, and allergic dogs with clinical signs of paronychia. Three samples from the same claw fold were collected with a toothpick, acetate tape preparation, or direct impression smear for each dog.

Dogs with clinical paronychia had higher numbers of extracellular cocci and corneocytes as compared with the other 2 groups. More yeast was found in the samples from the allergic dogs than from normal dogs, although the counts were not statistically different as compared with the other groups. Statistical analysis indicated that the toothpick technique optimized cytologic results when clinical evidence of paronychia was present.—Lo K, Rosenkrantz W

Toxocara spp on Dog Hair

It is unclear whether dog hair contaminated with Toxocara spp eggs is a risk factor for toxocariasis.

Of 96 dogs, 41.7% tested positive for the presence of Toxocara spp eggs on hair samples.

In this research study, hair samples were taken from the head, pelvic limbs, and perianal area of 96 dogs from Mexico and tested for Toxocara spp eggs. Of 96 dogs, 41.7% tested positive, with the greatest percentage of positive samples coming from the perianal area. Younger dogs (<1 year of age) had significantly higher numbers of Toxocara spp eggs per gram of hair from the perianal region as compared with older dogs. Nondewormed dogs were found to be at greatest risk for presence of eggs on hair. Serious consideration should be made for the potential problems of toxocariasis and risk to public health.—Campos TOR, Núñez CR, Gómez LGB, Arias PT

Chronic Pedal Furunculosis

Chronic pedal furunculosis in dogs requires long-term multimodal treatment.

In this study, dogs (n = 30) with refractory chronic pedal furunculosis were treated using daily diluted bleach soaks. Bulldogs and bulldog crossbreeds were disproportionately represented, and none of the dogs had concurrent demodicosis or hypothyroidism. All dogs’ paws were treated with daily soaks of ≈0.01% sodium hypochlorite solution; systemic treatments were not modified. Dogs were re-evaluated after 3 weeks. No adverse events were noted. Owners generally reported an improvement over this time. Cytology showed a reduced number of organisms and a shift in the type of inflammatory cells away from neutrophils and macrophages. 

The authors concluded that the use of dilute bleach solution may be a useful adjunctive treatment for pedal furunculosis and pododermatitis in dogs.—Manigot G

External Ear Canal & Pinnae Microbiota in Atopic Dogs

This small observational study compared the overall population and types of microbes found on cytology in the external ear canals and concave pinnae of atopic and nonatopic dogs. 

Atopic dogs (n = 30) were divided into groups based on the location of the lesions. Dogs in group A (n = 15) had otitis externa and pinnal lesions, group B dogs (n = 5) had otitis with no pinnal lesions, and group C dogs (n = 10) had pinnal lesions only. Group D control dogs (n = 10) were nonatopic. Swabs and adhesive tape samples were obtained from ear canals and concave pinnae, respectively, and stained with Diff-Quik.

Malassezia spp zymomyces were present in the ear canals of 80% of group A dogs, 90% of group B dogs, 85% of group C dogs, and 55% of group D dogs. No bacteria were seen in ear canals or pinnae of the control dogs. Malassezia spp and bacterial rod counts were significantly higher in ear canals, regardless of affected group. Group A dogs had significantly higher bacterial counts (both rods and cocci) than did other groups. Rods and cocci were also present in higher numbers in atopic dogs that had both otitis and pinnal lesions as compared with others.—Bouza-Rapti P, Koutinas CK, Koutinas AF, Farmaki R

Clinician's Brief

Flea Infestation in Dogs & Cats

Fleas are responsible for transmitting disease and causing flea allergy dermatitis, thus flea control and management plans are imperative for pet health.

Researchers from Austria conducted a survey of 100 pet owners that showed that 54% of dogs and 20% of cats received preventive medication, which significantly lowered the risk for infestation. In pets with flea infestations, treating infested animals alone was successful in 91% of cases; a combination of animal and environmental treatment was successful in 87.5% of cases. In 63% of cases, a single medication dose was effective. 

The survey found that most modern flea preventives applied directly to the animal were sufficient for flea management without treating the environment.—Horvath-Ungerboeck C, Fuernkranz E, Tichy A, Sibermayr K

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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