Efficacy of subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy in atopic dogs

Canine atopic dermatitis (cAD) is an allergic skin disease affecting approximately 10% of dogs. allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) is currently the only treatment option able to induce tolerance to the causative allergens.

To retrospectively establish the efficacy of ASIT in atopic dogs.

Client-owned (n = 664) dogs with cAD presented between 2008 and 2018 to two dermatology referral clinics.

Clinical records of atopic dogs were reviewed to obtain information including the results of the intradermal skin test and/or allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E serological results, the allergens included in the ASIT, concurrent symptomatic medications, and ASIT efficacy after at least 9 months.

Excellent (ASIT alone controlled clinical signs), good (≥50% reduction of clinical signs) and poor (<50% improvement) responses were seen in 31.5%, 28.5% and 40.1% of the dogs, respectively. No significant differences in efficacy were associated with breed, sex, age at initiation of ASIT, type of allergens in ASIT, and between clinics. Dogs re-examined regularly responded significantly better to ASIT than dogs that did not (>50% improvement in 69.3% and 55.4% of the dogs, respectively). Dogs treated with ASIT and concomitant systemic glucocorticoids showed a significantly poorer response (success rate of >50% improvement of 38.5%).

In 59.9% of atopic dogs, subcutaneous ASIT can improve clinical signs by ≥50%. The beneficial effect of ASIT is higher if dogs are re-examined regularly and if systemic long-term corticosteroids are avoided, at least during the first 9 months of ASIT

“Efficacy of subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy in atopic dogs: A retrospective study of 664 cases”. Evelien E M Fennis, et al. Vet Dermatol. 2022 May 30.  doi: 10.1111/vde.13075.

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