Effects of the New Epiotic® on bacterial load and antimicrobial peptides secretion in the ears of atopic dogs: a double blinded, randomized, placebo controlled study

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs diagnosed with atopic dermatitis for a clinical research trial to test the efficacy of a new ear cleanser in preventing ear infections.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any dog previously diagnosed with non-seasonal mild Atopic Dermatitis after having ruled out common causes of itching, including parasitic diseases as well as flea, food, and contact allergies. Healthy control dogs are also needed.
  • Exclusion Criteria: Dogs without Atopic Dermatitis who have a history of systemic or skin disease. Also dogs with Atopic Dermatitis or dogs who are determined healthy who have an active otitis (severe signs of redness, discharge, swelling, and/or erosion), will be excluded from the study.
  • Treatment: Participation includes receiving either EpiOtic® ear cleanser or a placebo in each ear using a syringe every 3 days for 4 weeks followed by once weekly for another 8 weeks. The ears will be massaged gently for 5-10 seconds after each application, and the dog will be allowed to shake its head following the massage. Finally, a dry cotton ball will be used to wipe the ear dry. Appointments will be scheduled on day 0, 28, 56, 70, and 84. On each visit day the dogs will undergo otitis clinical scoring along with ear cytology (examination using a swab or smear from your dog’s ear) to ensure there is not an active ear infection. On day 0, 28, and 56, an ear lavage, to evaluate the amount of natural antimicrobial peptides secreted in the ear, will be performed along with ear culture. This is a controlled study, dogs may be assigned to either the Treatment group or a Placebo group
  • Costs: The study will cover the examination fee, EpiOtic®, placebo, ear cytology, and bacterial culture associated with each visit. No other costs will be covered. There are no additional expenses for participating in this study. The costs of all other procedures are not covered by the research study.
  • Contact:  You can contact our Small Animal Hospital at 352 392 2235.  Please schedule an appointment with Dermatology.  Dr. Santoro is the Principal Investigator.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a very common allergic skin disease associated with ear infection in dogs. Ear infections are the most common complaint for owner to seek veterinary care. Currently, many therapeutic options are available to treat ear infection in dogs; however, very few options are present to prevent recurrent ear infections. Thus the purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a new formulation of ear cleanser (EpiOtic®, by Virbac) in preventing ear infections in dogs. The study aims to evaluate the effect of EpiOtic® on otic bacterial load and production/secretion of antimicrobial peptides in the ear canal of atopic and healthy dogs. The long-term goal of this study is to find a potential use of EpiOtic® in reducing the presence of recurrent ear infections in atopic dogs.


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