The influence of topical unsaturated fatty acids and essential oils on normal and atopic dogs

J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2011 Jul-Aug;47(4):236-40. doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-5607. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Seven dogs with atopic dermatitis and six normal dogs were treated with a spot-on product containing essential oils and unsaturated fatty acids q 7 days for 8 wk. Seven additional atopic dogs received a daily spray containing similar ingredients to the spot-on. In all dogs, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) was measured before and after treatment using a closed chamber device. In atopic dogs, a validated lesion score (canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index, CADESI) was determined and pruritus was assessed with a visual analog scale before and after treatment. The mean CADESI scores in atopic dogs decreased with the spot-on (P=0.0043) and with the spray (P=0.0366). Similarly, the pruritus scores decreased with the spot-on (P=0.266) and with the spray (P=0.0177). There was a significant difference between the TEWL values of healthy and atopic dogs on the abdomen (P=0.0181) and back (P=0.0123). TEWL decreased significantly on the back after treatment with the spray (P=0.016), but not on the abdomen (P=0.078). Adverse effects were not observed. The results of this pilot study indicate that topical fatty acids and essential oils are a useful treatment option for canine atopic dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / veterinary*
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Oils, Volatile