Probiotics or Fecal Transplant as Treatment for Canine Atopic Dermatitis

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs diagnosed with atopic dermatitis for a clinical research trial.  This study aims to determine whether changing the dogs’ gut bacteria using probiotics or fecal transplant can improve allergic skin disease.

  • Inclusion Criteria:  Dog diagnosed with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and allergies to environmental allergens. All dogs must be over 1 year old and have lived in Florida for at least 1 year and be fully wormed and vaccinated. Allergy vaccine treatment is allowable as long as it has been ongoing for 12 months and will not be altered during the trial. Topical therapy, antihistamines, and low dose glucocorticoid are allowed as long as they have been used at the same dose for >12 weeks at the time of enrollment and will not be changed throughout the study.
  • Exclusion criteria: Dogs must not have concurrent infection requiring antibiotic or antifungal therapy. Dogs with vomiting or diarrhea in the last month, with a history of chronic gastrointestinal disease or which cannot be removed from antibiotic, antifungal or immunomodulatory treatment for the required withdrawal times will be excluded from the trial. Dogs which are fed raw food diets, or are pregnant or lactating will also be excluded.
  • Treatment: Participation includes
    • Probiotic (or placebo) capsules to be given to your dog twice a day for the 12 weeks.
    • Visits to the Small Animal Hospital so your dog can receive Fecal Transplant (or placebo) capsules. These visits will be 4 weeks apart, and a follow up visit 4 weeks later. Fecal Transplant capsules are give over 3 consecutive days.
    • During the first and last visit your dog will be fed artificial sweetener capsules and we will take 2 blood samples and a fecal sample.
    • This is a controlled trial: dogs may be assigned to a Treatment group or a Placebo group.
    • You will be asked to return for long-term follow up visits in week 21 and 37.
  • Costs: You will not be charged for visits, procedures or examinations associated with this trial. The study treatment will be provided at no cost.  Owners will be responsible for travel costs and medications to treat skin infection (antibiotics and prednisone) should this appear during the course of the trial.
  • Contact: You can contact our Small Animal Hospital by calling 352 392 2235.  Please schedule an appointment with  Dermatology.  Dr. Marsella is the Principal Investigator.

Background:

There are several treatment options available for atopic dermatitis in dogs, however these are often expensive, take a long time to work or have significant side effects. Recent studies in humans have indicated that gut bacteria may be a component in allergic skin disease, and altering gut bacterial populations may be beneficial in controlling it. The purpose of this trial is to test whether probiotics or fecal transplant from a healthy dog are effective in treating dogs with atopic dermatitis.