Malassezia pachydermatis is part of the normal flora of canine skin but can be an opportunistic pathogen. Malassezia spp hypersensitivity is a complicating factor in canine atopic dermatitis. Both immediate-type and delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions have been documented.
Intradermal skin testing (IDT) and serum IgE testing attempt to identify potentially applicable immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions in clinically affected dogs and may be used to formulate allergen-specific immunotherapy. However, IDT is typically available only through dermatologists, and Malassezia spp-specific serum IgE tests may not be included on typical panels marketed to general practitioners.
In this study, IDT and serum anti-IgE enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing were compared in 84 atopic dogs. There was considerable agreement between IDT reactivity and anti-Malassezia spp IgE ELISA. ELISA sensitivity and specificity were 77% and 89%, respectively, relative to IDT results.
The study did not evaluate the correlation of the IDT or ELISA tests with clinical signs or cytology; these 3 elements of patient evaluation may be used in combination for thorough patient assessment and treatment planning. *Allergen specific IgE assays were performed gratis by Heska Corporation.