Background: Canine atopic dermatitis is a common pruritic skin disease often treated with allergen immunotherapy (AIT). AIT in dogs traditionally begins with attempting to identify clinically relevant environmental allergens. Current allergen testing methodologies and immunotherapy techniques in dogs are not standardized. Immunotherapy with a mixture of allergenic extracts selected based on regional aerobiology rather than intradermal tests or serum IgE assays has been described. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of regionally-specific immunotherapy in dogs with atopic dermatitis. The medical records of a veterinary dermatology referral clinic were searched for dogs with atopic dermatitis that began regionally-specific subcutaneous immunotherapy from June, 2010 to May, 2013. An overall assessment of treatment effectiveness (excellent, good, fair, or poor) was assigned based upon changes in pruritus severity, lesion severity, and the reduction in concurrent medication(s) during a follow-up period of at least 270 days. Baseline characteristics that might predict treatment success were analyzed with the Spearman's correlation and the Kruskal-Wallis tests.
Results: Of the 286 dogs that began regionally-specific immunotherapy (RESPIT) during a 3 year period, 103 met the inclusion criteria. The overall response to RESPIT was classified as excellent in 19%, good in 38%, fair in 25%, and poor in 18% of dogs. The response classification correlated significantly with a reduction in pruritus severity (r = 0.72, p < 0.001) and lesion severity (r = 0.54, p < 0.001), but not with the dogs' baseline characteristics. Adverse reactions were reported in 7/286 (2.4%) of treated dogs.
Conclusions: Under the conditions of this study, RESPIT was safe and effective for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs.
Keywords: Allergen; Atopic dermatitis; Dog; Immunotherapy; Pruritus; RESPIT; Regionally-specific immunotherapy.