Evaluation of the Effects of Diluted Sodium Hypochlorite on Skin Microbiome in Dogs with Superficial Pyoderma and Atopic Dermatitis: a Single Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial

In canine allergies, recurrent skin infection is frequent, often requiring repeated antibiotic use. This leads to a financial burden on owners and higher risk for antibiotic resistance. Recent studies in people have shown that diluted bleach baths can help patients with allergies and skin infections. In dogs, bleach has shown antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro. However, no studies have been done to evaluate the effects of bleach in client-owned dogs skin infection secondary to allergies. The researchers hypothesize that compared with chlorhexidine spray, another commonly used topical antimicrobial, diluted bleach will be as effective to treat skin infections, but will also help with the allergic disease. The aim of this study is to evaluate if diluted bleach is a viable alternative to chlorhexidine and its ability to restore normal skin microflora in canine allergies. Results from this study may significantly change the way clinicians treat superficial skin infections and potentially reduce antibiotic usage. This will be the first study to demonstrate the benefits of diluted bleach in canine allergies.

Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 03166-A


Domenico Santoro, DVM, MS, DrSc, PhD, University of Florida – Board of Trustees
Amount: $2,000

Discovery of Novel Biomarkers of Canine Atopic Dermatitis through Lipid Profiling

Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is a common allergic skin disease of dogs with a strong genetic basis. CAD can severely affect the health and well-being of dogs and current diagnosis of CAD requires time-consuming and expensive procedures for the owner. Furthermore, the molecular mechanisms underlying this condition are not well understood.

Evidence from human studies suggests that several variants of atopic dermatitis (AD) exist with different mechanisms and responses to treatment. Therefore, new approaches to identify molecular markers that can help with better diagnosis and management are warranted. CAD and human AD are associated with changes in the composition of lipids in the epidermis which may precede the inflammation or result from the inflammation.

The investigators will analyze the lipid composition of the epidermis and blood of healthy dogs in comparison to dogs with CAD using a novel analytical method developed by their interdisciplinary team. The results of this work could lead to new, minimally-invasive tests for the diagnosis of CAD and for the prediction and monitoring of the response of CAD patients to treatment.

Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 02651


Harm HogenEsch, DVM, PhD; Purdue University
Amount: $2,500

Is Defective Secretion of Antimicrobial Peptides Associated with Reduced Microbicidal Effects in Atopic Keratinocytes?

This study investigates whether the complications resulting in skin infections experienced by dogs with allergies can be better treated by increasing the secretion of the body’s natural antimicrobial defenses. In this particular case, much work in this direction has been done in human medicine and the researchers at the University of Florida will determine how this work in human medicine can benefit dogs with complications from skin allergies.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small proteins produced by many organisms. They have multiple functions, the most important of which is the defense against pathogens. The antimicrobial activity of such proteins has been demonstrated against multiple microorganisms.

Recently, a lack of secretion of AMPs, after exposure to bacteria in human skin cells harvested from allergic patients, has been hypothesized as a possible cause of recurrent infections in allergic skin conditions. Allergies are common in dogs and frequently associated with recurrent, antibiotic‐resistant skin infections. Thus, the identification of ways to boost ability to fight bacteria is important.

The investigation of possible changes between healthy and atopic skin cells is fundamental in order to be able to intervene, and make such secretion more effective without the use of synthetic antimicrobials. Thus, the goal of this study is to determine if, like in people, lower AMP secretion is present in skin cells harvested from allergic dogs after stimulation with common cutaneous pathogenic bacteria. The hypotheses to test are 1) whether a lower amount of AMPs are secreted by allergic skin cells compared with healthy ones, and consequently, bacteria are not effectively killed; and 2) if a higher amount of AMPs is retained within the allergic cells.

This study has the potential to open the way for a revolutionary approach to treating skin infections that occur secondary to allergies in dogs by increasing the secretion of natural antimicrobial defenses, and thus reducing the use of synthetic and expensive antimicrobials with potential side effects.

Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 02182‐A


Dr. Domenico Santoro, DVM
University of Florida
Amount: $1,000

Pharmakokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Hydroxyzine in Healthy Dogs

Atopic dermatitis is a common allergic skin disease in dogs and humans. Antihistamines are among the most commonly prescribed treatments. Unfortunately, the optimal dosages of commonly used antihistamines have never been scientifically determined, and their effects have not been validated in dogs.

Researchers at North Carolina State University wanted to determine whether hydroxyzine, one of the drugs most commonly used to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs, truly provides an antihistamine effect and, if so, what the appropriate dose is for dogs.


The researchers successfully determined that hydroxyzine does produce an antihistamine effect and confirmed that a twice-daily dose is appropriate, versus the previously standard prescription of three times a day. They also discovered that when hydroxyzine is administered orally or intravenously the drug breaks down into its simpler form (cetirizine), and this simpler form is responsible for the actual antihistamine effect. They now want to look at this drug as a more effective treatment for atopic dermatitis.

Co-sponsored with the Morris Animal Foundation, Grant Number: D07CA-029


Thierry Olivry, DrVet, PhD, Dip. ECVD, Dip. ACVD
North Carolina State University