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A look through the latest literature on research into skin conditions

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01 January 2016, at 12:00am

Pilot study of oclacitinib in the treatment of hyper- sensitivity dermatitis in cats 

Christian Ortalda and others, Veterinary Dermatology Service, Peveragno, Italy

Oclacitinib (Apoquel, Zoetis) is a Janus kinase enzyme inhibitor licensed for the control of pruritus in allergic dogs. While the molecule has been shown to inhibit interleukin-31-induced pruritus in cats, there is little published data on its clinical effectiveness in this species.

The authors assessed the efficacy, ease of administration and tolerability of oclacitinib in 12 cats diagnosed with non-flea and non-food-induced hypersensitivity dermatitis. The cats were all under 12 months old and received twice-daily oral doses of 0.4 to 0.6mg/kg for two weeks and then once-daily for a further two weeks.

In five of the group, there was an improvement in feline allergic dermatitis lesions and in a visual analogue scale assessment of pruritus scores. But in the remaining cats, their skin condition was unchanged, worsened or the patient was removed from the trial due to treatment failure. Their owners rated the efficacy of treatment as good or excellent in four cases while the ease of administration and tolerability were rated as good or excellent in 10 cats. 

Veterinary Dermatology 26 (4): 235-238.

Aural micro flora in healthy cats, allergic cats and those with systemic disease 

Charline Pressanti and others, National Veterinary School, Toulouse, France

Changes in the skin environment of the feline ear and immunological dysfunction can lead to an overgrowth in the aural micro ora, resulting in infectious otitis. The authors cultured smears from the ear canals of 20 healthy cats, 15 with systemic disease and 15 with allergies. 

While the fungal population was significantly higher in both diseased groups than in the healthy cats, the bacterial population was higher in the allergic cats than in the healthy or systemic disease groups. There was a correlation between fungal overgrowth and the severity of otitis in cats with systemic disease and between bacterial overgrowth and otitis severity in the allergic group. 

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 16 (12): 992-996. 

Mucocutaneous lupus erythematosus in 21 dogs 

Thierry Olivry and others, North Carolina State University

Lupus erythematosus is a group of dermatoses in humans and dogs that occurs in a range of different presentations. The most common forms in dogs are similar to those classed as discoid and exfoliative chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus in human patients. The authors describe the clinical features of a distinct subgroup of this condition, which they term mucocutaneous LE, involving chronic juxtamucosal lesions of the anal, genital, oral, nasal planum and ocular mucosa. 

The condition appears to have a strong breed and gender predisposition, affecting disproportionate numbers of adult female German shepherd dogs. 

Veterinary Dermatology 26 (4): 256-264.

Wound healing complications after excision of injection site sarcomas in cats 

Matteo Cantatore and others, University of Milan, Italy

Injection site sarcomas in cats are subcutaneous tumours that have a moderate metastatic rate and are locally aggressive, so they are usually excised with wide tissue margins. The authors assessed the factors associated with wound healing complications in a series of 49 cats with lesions affecting the trunk. Analysis of 15 variables showed that only an increased duration of surgery was associated with an increased risk of wound healing complications. Surgery duration was, in turn, influenced by the excision pattern and tumour width on computed tomography imaging.

Veterinary Surgery 43 (7): 783-790. 

Management of endemic Microsporum canis dermatophytosis in a cat shelter 

Sandra Newbury and others, University of California, Davis 

Endemic M. canis dermatophytosis was identified in a large animal shelter which admits around 1,200 cats a year. Fungal culture screening showed that 38% of cats in parts of the shelter open to the public were positive, and 79% of animals in the non-public access areas. 

The authors describe the strategy used to control the outbreak, involving cats in the public areas receiving once-weekly lime sulphur rinses before being divided into high and low risk groups, depending on the presence or absence of skin lesions. Later, on the basis of fungal culture results, cats regarded as low risk continued to receive weekly rinses while the high-risk group were given rinses and oral terbina ne.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17 (4): 342-347.

Evaluation of marketing claims of skin and coat health effects for pet foods 

Lily Johnson and others, Tufts University, Massachusetts 

Federal regulations in the United States require that any dietary product claimed to cure, treat or prevent disease should be regulated as a drug rather than a foodstuff. However, the manufacturers of many over-the- counter pet foods still make claims about the effects of their products on skin and coat health. 

The authors examine the marketing claims made for 24 commercial dog foods in relation to analyses of their nutrient profile. The results show that there is considerable variation in the major ingredients contained in these products and particularly in those known to be associated with skin and coat quality. The authors urge pet owners to seek advice on dietary choices from their veterinary practice.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246 (12): 1,334-1,338.

Effects of shrinkage on skin samples from canine cadavers 

David Upchurch and others, Louisiana State University

Cutaneous tumours are excised and the tumour margins studied in order to aid surgical planning in canine patients. However, the effects of sample shrinkage have rarely been taken into account in those investigations. The authors examined the effects of sample site, skin tension lines and formalin fixation on the shrinkage of post-mortem samples from four dogs. 

The mean sample diameter differed significantly before and immediately after excision. A better understanding of the factors associated with skin sample shrinkage is needed for cases in which histopathological findings provide guidance in setting surgical margins in oncology patients. 

American Journal of Veterinary Research 75 (11): 1,004-1,009.

Distribution, complications and outcomes of footpad injuries in dogs 

Lane Hansen and others, US Military Working Dog Centre, Kaiserslautern, Germany 

Traumatic injuries to the distal limbs are frequently reported in military working dogs when serving in disaster relief operations. The authors investigated the site and nature of injuries to the footpad in military dogs and compare the outcomes to similar injuries in the pet dog population. 

Metacarpal pads were the most common site of injury and those dogs with full thickness lacerations were at greater risk of short-term complications in healing. Military dogs with full thickness injuries were at greater risk of such complications than pet animals with similar lesions. Suture repair and bandaging of such lesions could not be shown to significantly improve the rate of healing. 

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 51 (4): 222-230.

Methicillin-resistant staphylococci in canine pyoderma cases 

Daniel Joffe and others, Calgary Animal Referral and Emergency Centre, Alberta 

The emergence of methicillin- resistant staphylococcal bacteria lagged well behind the appearance of such strains in human patients in North America. But since 2000 there has been an increase in the prevalence of such strains reported by specialty veterinary dermatology clinics. 

The authors investigated the prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococci in canine pyoderma cases treated in primary care practice in Canada. Among 149 staphylococcal-positive pyoderma cases seen at seven practices from four different Canadian provinces, resistant strains were present in 12.1% of cultures.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 56 (10): 1,084-1,086.

Canine alopecia following exposure to human topical hormone replacement therapy

Darren Berger and others, Iowa State University

Alopecia is a common complaint in companion animals, occurring secondary to various primary conditions. The authors report three incidents in which six dogs developed alopecia as a result of accidental transdermal exposure to their owners’ topical hormone replacement therapy. 

The condition ranged in duration from two months to around 30 months and affected the ventral neck, thoracic and abdominal surfaces. All dogs had elevated oestradiol levels and five of the six showed evidence of feminisation. According to the owners, there was a correlation between the severity of signs and the time that individual dogs spent sitting on their lap.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 51 (2): 136-142.

Increased numbers of peripheral blood Cd34+ cells in canine atopic dermatitis cases 

Vincent Bruet and others, National College of Veterinary Medicine, Nantes, France

Studies on allergic asthma suggest that bone marrow plays a role as a mediator of atopic disease. Bone marrow is the main reservoir of CD34+ haematopoietic progenitor cells which are detectable in peripheral blood using flow cytometry. 

The authors investigated the prevalence of these cells in samples from dogs with atopic dermatitis, healthy animals and patients with non-allergic inflammatory disease. The numbers of CD34+ cells were seen to be significantly higher in the atopic dermatitis cases than in the other two groups. These results suggest the possible involvement of CD34+ cells in canine atopic dermatitis but their exact aetiological role remains unclear.

Veterinary Dermatology 26 (3): 160-164.

Molecular and immunohistochemical analysis of canine oral squamous cell carcinomas 

John Munday and others, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand 

Oral squamous cell carcinomas are a common neoplasm in humans and dogs. In humans, papillomaviruses have been shown to be responsible for about 20% of cases but in dogs the cause remains unknown. The authors examined samples from 28 affected dogs, looking for papillomavirus DNA and the presence of the p16 protein commonly expressed by papillomavirus-related human tumours. 

While there was some evidence of p16 staining in four samples, no trace of papillomavirus could be detected, showing that the virus is not a significant cause of canine 

OSCCs. The Veterinary Journal 204 (2): 223-225.