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A look through the latest literature on dermatology

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01 July 2016, at 1:00am

Responses to sublingual immunotherapy in dust mite-sensitive dogs 

Douglas DeBoer and others, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a treatment for allergic diseases in which allergen extracts are administered into the oral cavity rather than by injection. The majority of studies on this technique have involved human patients being treated for allergic respiratory diseases, such as rhinoconjunctivitis or asthma.

There is, however, some evidence on its use in treating people with dust-mite sensitive atopic dermatitis and so the authors investigated the method as a treatment for the equivalent condition in dogs. Ten dogs with spontaneous atopic dermatitis took part in a six-month open trial of SLIT in combination with decreasing oral doses of methylprednisolone.

During the study, mean canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index scores declined from 76.5 to 59 and median pruritus scores from 65 to 37. Mean methylprednisolone use declined in the first two months from 10.2 to 4.3mg/kg. So this therapy did produce good evidence of clinical improvement in atopic dogs. 

Veterinary Dermatology 27 (2): 82-87. 

Management of canine cutaneous and subcutaneous soft tissue sarcoma 

Anne Hohenhaus and others, Animal Medical Center, New York City 

Cutaneous and subcutaneous soft tissue sarcomas are responsible for more than 20% of malignant neoplasms affecting the skin in dogs. The authors review the available evidence on the diagnosis, staging, surgical excision, histopathology and adjuvant therapies for these conditions. 

They conclude that surgical excision with wide (more than 3cm) margins decreases the likelihood of tumour recurrence, use of a histologic grading scale helps in predicting biological behaviour of the neoplasm, and that radiation and chemotherapy may be useful adjunctive therapies. 

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 52 (2): 77-89. 

Pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of oral itraconazole solution in cats 

Chaoping Liang and others, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou

Itraconazole is an effective treatment against a wide range of fungal infections in humans and animals. There is plenty of published evidence on the pharmacokinetics of this agent in various species but no equivalent studies have been published on cats. 

The authors report on the pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of oral and intravenous doses of 5mg/kg itraconazole in healthy cats. Their data indicate that the disposition of this agent given orally in cats is characterised by a long terminal half- life, a short peak time and moderate bioavailability.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18 (4): 310-314. 

Clinical features of 17 cases of Aspergillus otitis in dogs and cats 

Elizabeth Goodale and others, University of California, Davis 

Aspergillus sp. is a saprophytic environmental fungus that occasionally causes opportunistic infections in small animals. In humans, it is a common cause of otitis externa while sino-nasal and sino-orbital aspergillosis are the most common manifestations in small animals. The authors examined the clinical records of eight dogs and nine cats with Aspergillus otitis. Predisposing factors included immunosuppressive therapy or an otic foreign body in many cases. Otic lavage under anaesthesia and/or surgical intervention increased the likelihood of successful resolution. 

Veterinary Dermatology 27 (1): 3-8. 

Negative pressure therapy during full thickness skin grafts in cats 

Mirja Noiff and Andrea Meyer- Lindenberg, Ludwig-Maximillians University, Munich

The limited mobility of skin in the lower limbs is often problematic for reconstruction procedures in cats, resulting in fragile skin and extensive scarring. Skin grafts may therefore be the best option for an acceptable outcome. The authors investigate the use of negative pressure wound therapy to assist full thickness skin grafts in 10 cats. Their findings show that skin graft augmentation using negative pressure wound therapy

in cats is a feasible option, allowing graft fixation even in anatomically demanding areas. Their success rate is slightly higher than that documented in previous reports.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17 (2): 1,041-1,048. 

Fungal infections as an emerging concern in reptile medicine 

Volker Schmidt, University of Leipzig, Germany

Fungal infections in reptiles have often been described as opportunistic infections. However, dermatomycoses caused by obligate pathogenic fungi are now recognised as a significant cause of disease in both free-living and captive reptiles. The author reviews the pathogenic features and treatment of two fungal families Onygenaceae and Clavicipitaceae. 

Treatment of the former with voriconazole has been shown to be effective in bearded dragons and girdled lizards. But there are no reports of successful treatment of Clavicipitaceae in lizards and this agent is not well tolerated in chameleons. 

Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 24 (3): 267-275. 

Treatment of Demodex gatoi in cats with imidacloprid and moxidectin 

Jean-marie Short and Dunbar Gram, Animal Allergy and Dermatology, Chesapeake, Virginia

Demodex gatoi is a short-bodied mite species first identified in cats in the US in the 1980s and which has since been recorded in various European countries, including the UK. The parasite spends its entire life cycle in the stratum corneum, is readily transmissible between individuals and causes moderate to intense pruritus, self-induced alopecia and excoriations. 

The authors describe the successful treatment of a household containing 13 cats with a topical solution containing 10% imidacloprid and 1% moxidectin administered weekly for a total of 10 doses.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 52 (11): 68-72. 

Assessment of the implant- skin interface in external fixation surgery 

Mischa McDonald-Lynch and others, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

External fixation is commonly used in the surgical treatment of fractures, angular limb deformities and joint instability. However, soft tissue inflammation may occur at the implant-skin interface and can lead to significant complications, such as septic osteoarthritis. 

The authors describe the repeatability and intra- observer agreement when using a visual scoring system for assessing changes at the interface. Their results indicate that the system does produce consistent results but note that the photographic and in vivo assessment scores were not equivalent and so cannot be used interchangeably. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 76 (11): 931-938. 

Zoonotic potential of dermatophytosis in small exotic mammals 

Michael Fehr, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany 

Dermatophytes are occasionally transmitted by pets to their owners and recent studies have suggested that the incidence of these events is increasing. The author reviews the zoonotic risks from the various dermatophyte species carried by different exotic mammalian pets. He offers advice on the diagnosis and treatment of such pathogens in small mammals, such as hedgehogs. He also notes the key role of veterinarians in alerting local health authorities, pet shop employees and animal handlers to zoonotic disease risks. 

Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 24 (3): 308-316. 

Skin lesions in an aged mare due to two unusual fungal pathogens 

Joanne Jennings, University of Guelph, Ontario 

A 21-year-old Appaloosa mare was presented with a pigmented cutaneous mass at the base of the right side of the neck. The lesion was slightly raised, alopecic, circular and about 8mm across. The owners reported that the mass did not appear to be causing any discomfort. 

It was surgically excised with clean margins and there has been no evidence of a recurrence. The cause was identified as a phaeohyphomycosis, due to the pigmented fungi Pyrenophora phaecomes and Drechslera nobleae. This was confirmed by PCR analysis of a tissue sample.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57 (4): 431-432. 

Cytology of a subcutaneous mass at a moxidectin injection site 

Natalie Courtman, University of Melbourne 

A 10-year-old neutered female cocker spaniel was presented with a 50mm diameter, rm, mobile, non-painful dermal mass on its shoulder. A fine needle aspirate smear revealed a small bundle of spindle cells, along with a few neutrophils and many granular basophils. 

The submitting veterinarian reported giving a moxidectin-based annual heartworm injection at the same site 16 weeks earlier. The morphology of the lesion and laboratory results supported a diagnosis of an inflammatory injection site reaction. The mass resolved spontaneously over the following few months.

Australian Veterinary Journal 94 (3): 81-82. 

Dorsal skin necrosis due to a solar-induced thermal burn in a dog 

Julia Sumner and others, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

A five-year-old neutered male brown dachshund developed a large dorsal burn through direct exposure to sunlight during a period of high temperatures. The lesion was full thickness and extended from the shoulders to the tail with a width of about 10cm. 

The patient was given fluids and a fentanyl constant rate infusion before being anaesthetised for surgical debridement of the necrotic tissue. It was discharged and was reported to be well 12 weeks later. The author notes that burns like these are quite common in dogs but full thickness lesions are unusual and do not appear to have been reported before in animals without a black coat. 

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57 (3): 305-308.