Comparison of once-daily versus twice-weekly terbinafine administration for the treatment of canine Malassezia dermatitis - a pilot study

Vet Dermatol. 2012 Oct;23(5):418-e79. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3164.2012.01074.x. Epub 2012 Jul 24.


Background: Terbinafine, an allylamine antifungal, is used in pulsatile dose regimens for superficial mycoses in human medicine.

Objectives: To compare the clinical efficacy of twice-weekly versus once-daily terbinafine administration to determine whether preliminary proof-of-concept evidence exists for pulsatile administration of terbinafine in the treatment of canine Malassezia dermatitis and to determine whether twice-weekly treatment results in fewer clinical and owner-perceived adverse events.

Animals: Twenty client-owned dogs with Malassezia dermatitis.

Methods: In this randomized, single-blinded clinical trial, dogs were randomly assigned to receive terbinafine (30 mg/kg) either once daily for 21 days (n = 10) or once daily on two consecutive days per week for six doses (n = 10). On day 0 and day 21, a mean yeast count was calculated from eight anatomical locations via adhesive tape-strip cytology, clinical lesion scores were assigned to the same locations, and owners assessed pruritus using a visual analog scale.

Results: There was no significant difference between treatment groups with respect to the reduction in mean yeast count (P = 0.343) and clinical lesion scores (P = 0.887). Pruritus measured by visual analog scale was significantly decreased in the twice-weekly treatment group compared with the daily treatment group (P = 0.047). Seven of 20 dogs had a clinically measurable or owner-reported adverse event during treatment that included gastrointestinal disturbances, excessive panting and elevated hepatic enzymes, with no significant difference noted between treatment groups.

Conclusions and clinical importance: This pilot study indicates that twice-weekly terbinafine administration may be an effective alternative treatment for canine Malassezia dermatitis and merits further investigation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dermatomycoses / drug therapy
  • Dermatomycoses / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / microbiology
  • Dogs
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Malassezia / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Naphthalenes / administration & dosage
  • Naphthalenes / therapeutic use*
  • Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • Opportunistic Infections / microbiology
  • Opportunistic Infections / veterinary
  • Pilot Projects
  • Terbinafine


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Naphthalenes
  • Terbinafine