Investigation on the effects of Linkskin® spray on the cutaneous microbiome in canine atopic dermatitis: a double blinded, randomized, placebo controlled study

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (environmental allergy) for a clinical research trial to test the efficacy of a new probiotic topical skin spray in preventing secondary skin 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. Dogs belonging to Retriever (Labrador and Golden) and Staffordshire (Pit-bull) and their mix are highly wanted. 
  • 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 skin infection will be excluded from the study.
  • Treatment: This is a randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled study. This means that your dog will be randomly assigned (like a coin flip) to either the study treatment group (receiving LinkSkin®) or the control group (receiving a placebo [saline] treatment). Atopic dogs enrolled will receive LinkSkin® or placebo. This will be sprayed on the underside of the body (axillae [armpits], chest, and abdomen) daily for 4 weeks.  Healthy dogs enrolled will not receive any treatment, but rather the axillae (armpits) and the abdomen will be brushed for microbiome collection. At the first appointment, the dogs will be examined for eligibility to be enrolled in the study. Enrolled dogs will be seen on days 0 (enrollment), 14, 28, and 42 (end of the study). At each visit, the dogs will undergo clinical evaluation and skin cytology (examination of a tape or smear from your dog’s skin under a microscope) to ensure that there is no skin infection. In case of an infection, the dog will not be allowed to enroll in the study. At each visit dogs will also undergo tests to evaluate the function of their skin barrier. Additionally, at each visit areas of skin will be rinsed with a skin rinsing solution, and the fluid from this is collected to measure markers of skin immunity (antimicrobial peptides).  Finally, on days 0, 28, and 42, a small brush will be used to collect any bacteria present on the skin (axillae [armpits] and abdomen) for the evaluation of the bacterial flora of the skin.
  • Costs: The study will cover the examination fee, LinksSkin®, placebo, skin cytology, and microbiome evaluation associated with each visit. No other costs will be covered..
  • Contact:  You can contact our Small Animal Hospital at 352 392 2235 to schedule an appointment with Clinical Trials or email . Dr. Santoro is the Principal Investigator.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a very common allergic skin disease associated with skin infection in dogs. Currently, many therapeutic options are available to treat skin infections in atopic dogs; however, very few options are present to prevent recurrent skin infections. Thus the purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a new formulation of skin spray or topical (LinkSkin®) in preventing skin infections in dogs. The study aims to evaluate the effect of LinkSkin® on skin bacterial load and production/secretion of antimicrobial peptides on the skin of atopic and healthy dogs. The long-term goal of this study is to find a potential use of LinkSkin® in reducing the presence of recurrent skin infections in atopic dogs.




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