Validation of CADESI-03, a severity scale for clinical trials enrolling dogs with atopic dermatitis


  • Thierry Olivry,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
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  • Rosanna Marsella,

    1. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
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  • Toshiroh Iwasaki,

    1. Department of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Ralf Mueller,

    1. Medizinische Tierklinik, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Münich, Germany
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  • The International Task Force On Canine Atopic Dermatitis

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      As of 1 October 2006, The International Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis was composed, in alphabetical order, of Emmanuel Bensignor (France), Didier Carlotti (France), Douglas J DeBoer (USA), Craig Griffin (USA), Richard Halliwell (Chair; UK), Bruce Hammerberg (USA), Peter Hill (UK), Toshiroh Iwasaki (Japan), Hilary Jackson (UK), Sadatoshi Maeda (Japan), Kenichi Masuda (Japan), Rosanna Marsella (USA), Ralf Mueller (Germany), Tim Nuttall (UK), Thierry Olivry (USA), Pascal Prélaud (France), Candace Sousa (USA) and Ton Willemse (The Netherlands).

Thierry Olivry, DVM, PhD, Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Research Building, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA. Tel.: (919) 513-7711; Fax: (919) 513-6336; E-mail:


In dogs, atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common and chronic allergic skin disease that often necessitates treatment with pharmacological interventions. In the last 30 years, numerous clinical trials testing the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs have been reported, but there has been a lack of consistency in the assessment of outcome measures. Several clinical scales have been employed over time, but none of these scoring systems were ever tested for validity and reliability. A committee of the International Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis evaluated the currently available scales used to assess disease morbidity in humans and dogs with AD, and a third version of the Canine Atopic Dermatitis Extent and Severity Index (CADESI-03) was designed. This version was expanded from previous ones by redistribution and increase in body sites tested, the use of an additional lesion reflecting underlying pruritus (e.g. self-induced alopecia) and an increase in the numerical range of severity for each lesion. The CADESI-03 scale was tested for validity and reliability in a cohort of 38 dogs with AD. Overall, this revised version of the CADESI was found to exhibit acceptable content, construct, criterion, and inter- and intra-observer reliability and sensitivity to change. As a result, this scale is recommended as a validated tool for assessment of disease severity in clinical trials testing the efficacy of interventions in dogs with AD.