Allergen-specific immunotherapy in dogs with atopic dermatitis and house dust mite hypersensitivity: use of symptom/medication scores



There is no published literature on the efficacy of allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) for dogs with atopic dermatitis (AD) and house dust mite (HDM) hypersensitivity. Symptom/medication (SM) scoring is the standard measure of clinical disease during ASIT in humans. The purpose of this study was to determine the response to ASIT in dogs with AD and HDM hypersensitivity using SM scores, and compare results with the owner’s global assessment and the investigator’s clinical evaluation. All dogs had nonseasonal AD, positive intradermal test reactions to HDM, and were treated for 12 months with ASIT that included HDM allergens. Evaluations at 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months included: daily owner symptom (pruritus, lesions, coat character) and medication (all anti-inflammatory medications) scoring for 28 days; owner global assessment; and investigator clinical sign score. Occurrence of skin infections was documented throughout the study. Statistical analysis of SM scores at 0 and 12 months was performed using Student’s t-test. Nineteen dogs completed the study. Fourteen (74%) dogs showed significant improvement (P < 0.05) in SM score. A 50% improvement in SM score, owners’ global assessment and clinical sign score was seen in 12 (63%), 17 (89%) and 10 (53%) dogs, respectively. In the first 6 months of ASIT, 17 episodes of skin infections (12 dogs) were recorded, and 13 episodes (10 dogs) in the final 6 months. The majority of dogs with AD and HDM hypersensitivity improved with ASIT. SM scores are a useful semiquantitative measure of clinical disease. Many dogs continued to have skin infections.

 This study was funded by the Ohio Animal Health Foundation.