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Trial of Fecal Microbial Transplantation for the Prevention of Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Authors: Caroline F. Moeser


The skin-gut axis defines the relationship between the intestinal microbiota and the development of pathological skin diseases. Low diversity within the gut can predispose to the development of allergic skin conditions, and a greater diversity of the gastrointestinal microflora has been associated with a reduction of skin flares in people with atopic dermatitis. Manipulation of the gut microflora has been used as a treatment option for several conditions in people, but there is limited data available on the use of fecal transplantation as a preventative measure in either people or dogs. Six, 4-month-old pups from a litter of 10 were presented for diarrhea and/or signs of skin disease (chronic scratching, otitis externa). Of these pups, two were given probiotics with a resultant resolution of diarrhea. The other four pups were given fecal transplantation, either as a sole treatment or in combination with other treatments. Follow-up on the litter of 10 pups was performed at 18 months of age. At this stage, three out of the four pups that had received fecal transplantation had resolved all clinical signs and had no recurrence of either skin or gastrointestinal symptoms, the other pup had one episode of Malassezia otitis. Of the remaining six pups from the litter, all had developed at least one episode of Malassezia otitis externa within the period of five to 18 months of age. Two pups had developed two Malassezia otitis infections, and one had developed three Malassezia otitis infections during this period. Favrot’s criteria for the diagnosis of canine atopic dermatitis include chronic or recurrent Malassezia infections by the age of three years. Early results from this litter predict a reduction in the development of canine atopic disease in dogs given fecal microbial transplantation. Follow-up studies at three years of age and within a larger population of dogs can enhance understanding of the impact of early fecal transplantation in the prevention of canine atopic dermatitis.

Keywords: Canine atopic dermatitis, fecal microbial transplant, skin-gut axis, otitis

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