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Round-up of recent papers published on dermatology

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01 January 2014, at 12:00am

Effects of manuka honey in accelerating wound healing in equine limb injuries 

Andrea Bischofberger and others, University of Sydney

Butter or beef fat mixed with honey was being used to treat chronic, infected wounds in people up to 3,000 years ago. More recently, honey has been shown to be effective as a topical treatment in patients with antimicrobial resistant bacterial infections. Manuka honey made by bees feeding on Leptospermum plant species has been claimed to have enhanced antibacterial activity due to the presence of the pyruvaldehyde compound methylgloxal.

The authors examine the effects of manuka honey and manuka honey gel on experimental distal limb wounds in horses. Honey and honey gel were applied daily for 12 days or throughout healing to wounds that were either clean or contaminated with equine faeces. The rate of healing was compared with that in untreated wounds or those treated with a non-honey based gel.

Wound area was measured at weekly intervals for six weeks and the time to full wound closure recorded. They found that wounds treated with manuka honey or manuka honey gel healed significantly faster than those which were left untreated or treated with a standard gel. 

Veterinary Surgery 42 (2): 154-160.

Residual antibacterial activity after treatment with antimicrobial shampoo in dogs 

Isabell Kloos and others, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich 

Antimicrobial shampoos are a practical and effective method for treating canine pyoderma but there is little published data on either the mechanism of action or the persistence of activity following treatment.

The authors took hairs from the coats of dogs two, four and six days after treatment with six different antimicrobial shampoos, placed them on agar plates streaked with Staphylococcus pseudointermedius and measured the inhibition zone following incubation. The products showing the greatest residual activity were those shampoos containing 2% or 3% chlorhexidine or a combination of chlorhexidine shampoo and conditioner. 

Veterinary Dermatology 24 (2): 250-254.

A new topical cyclosporine A formulation in the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis 

Anna Puigdemont and others, Autonomous University of Barcelona 

Cyclosporine A was the first immunosuppressant found to act selectively on T cells. The compound has now been produced in a novel nanotechnology-based formulation which is claimed to have better absorption through the epidermis. The authors report a multi-centre, blinded placebo-controlled trial comparing the efficacy of this product in 32 client- owned dogs with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. After 21 and 45 days lesion scores in the treated dogs were significantly lower than at baseline with an effective reduction in pruritus scores in 87.5% of the group. Meanwhile, those dogs receiving the placebo showed no significant improvement.

The Veterinary Journal 197 (2): 280-285. 

Review of non-flea bite induced hypersensitivity dermatitis in cats 

Claude Favrot, University of Zurich 

Hypersensitivity dermatitis is often suspected in the cat and while flea-bite reactions are the most common cause, other causative factors may include food or environmental allergens. The author summarises current knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of these non- flea-related forms of the condition. He notes that the clinical changes seen in affected animals are not pathognomonic and so a thorough work-up is essential. Once a diagnosis of non-flea hypersensitivity dermatitis is confirmed, a treatment plan involving antigen- specific immunotherapy, dietary changes or the use of immunomodulatory drugs may be implemented.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 15 (9): 778-784.

Pemphigus foliaceus in the dog and cat 

Mark Craig, Donnington Grove Veterinary Group, Newbury, Berkshire

Pemphigus foliaceus is one of the most common autoimmune diseases affecting the skin of canine and feline patients. The condition is characterised by a pustular, crusting dermatosis which mainly affects middle-aged and older animals. The author outlines the clinical features in both species, together with the diagnostic process and possible treatment options which would normally involve topical or systemic glucocorticoids. He notes that the prognosis varies according to the aetiology, form and severity of the disease but that in approximately 10% of cases there is no satisfactory response to therapy, which will frequently lead to euthanasia.

Companion Animal 18 (8): 374-377. 

Canine seborrhoeic keratosis compared with pigmented viral plaques

Charles Bradley and others, University of Pennsylvania 

Seborrhoeic keratosis is a common benign epidermal neoplasm in humans which is rarely diagnosed in dogs. The clinical features of circumscribed, raised, variably pigmented plaques make them very similar in appearance to papillomavirus-associated pigmented viral plaques. The authors describe the histological features in 11 cases of canine seborrhoeic keratosis recorded over a 12- year period. They state that the histopathological features and negative papillomavirus status distinguish CSK from pigmented viral plaques although the former condition is an important differential diagnosis.

Veterinary Dermatology 24 (4): 432-438.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy and growth factor expression in skin wounds 

Kaitlyn Link and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Extracorporeal shock wave has been used in the treatment of a number of conditions in the horses including skin wounds. Wound healing in mammals is mediated by a number of growth factors and cellular signalling agents. The authors investigated the effects of shock wave therapy on growth factor gene expression. In surgical wounds, ESWT was associated with reduced expression of the Transforming Growth Factor beta-1 gene. Suppression of TGF-beta-1 production will result in decreased granulation tissue production and therefore may explain the improved wound healing seen following treatment.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 74 (2): 324-332.

Extensive epidermal naevus in a foal 

Mick Ruppin and others, Tableland Veterinary Service, Malanda, Queensland

A two-month-old standardbred filly was presented with extensive congenital skin lesions on the left front leg, extending from the dorsal midline to the metacarpal region. The lesions were excised under general anaesthesia, which was curative and there was no recurrence. Such lesions have previously been reported as being associated with in-utero papillomavirus infection and were described as equine congenital papillomas. However, this and other more recent cases have shown no evidence of virus immunohistochemistry. The authors note similarities with verrucous epidermal naevus of humans and suggest an alternative name of equine epidermal naevus.

Australian Veterinary Journal 91 (10): 407-410. 

Retrospective evaluation of cutaneous adverse food reactions in 17 cats 

Linda Vogelnest and others, Small Animal Specialist Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales

Adverse food reaction is the term currently favoured to include both immunological and non-immunological forms of food intolerance. The authors sought to better characterise the clinical features of adverse food reactions in cats and to investigate the prevalence in a dermatology referral population. Examinations of clinical records of one centre over a 10-year period suggested a prevalence of cutaneous AFR of 6%. However, they suggest that the true prevalence may be higher due to the challenges of basing a diagnosis on strict adherence to dietary exclusion/ provocation trials and the misleading effects of concurrent disease.

Australian Veterinary Journal 91 (11): 443- 451.

Cutaneous lymphoid hyperplasia mimicking cutaneous lymphoma in a hyperthyroid cat

Elisabeth Snead and others, University of Saskatchewan

A 12-year-old neutered male domestic shorthair presented with chronic localised swelling and crusting of the upper left lip, weight loss, sporadic vomiting and intrascapular alopecia. The cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and regional eosinophilic lymphadenitis. It was treated with the antithyroid drug methimazole which exacerbated an underlying hypersensitivity disorder. This resulted in marked generalised lymphadenopathy which showed similarities on histological examination to lymphoma. 

Canadian Veterinary Journal 54 (10): 974- 978.

Dermatitis in a dog due to Uncinaria stenocephala hookworm infection

Shirley Chu and others, university of Saskatchewan

A 1.5-year intact female greyhound-cross had a history of recurrent pyoderma and pruritic dermatitis affecting the ventral neck, chest, interdigital skin and footpads. It had received previous empirical treatment for parasitism with permethrin and later selamectin and when this was unresponsive it was examined for possible food-related dermatological disease. However, further investigations involving macerated skin biopsies and faecal samples demonstrated the presence of the hookworm, Uncinaria stenocephala. It was then treated with moxidectin and both the parasitic infection and the dermal signs were rapidly resolved.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 54 (8): 743- 747.