New study confirms benefits of nutritional management for atopic dogs (Sponsored by Iams)
Omega-6:omega 3 fatty acid ratio affects the clinical signs of atopy.
Jul 01, 2008
IAMS NUTRITION INSIDER
Canine atopy is a multifactorial disease in which genetically predisposed dogs develop a combination of cutaneous immune responses to environmental antigens. Although the clinical signs can often be controlled, managing atopic dogs can be frustrating. Dogs usually require life-long therapy, and in most cases, a multimodal treatment plan is needed to yield optimal results.
The StudyFifty-six client-owned, adult, atopic dogs were randomly assigned to be fed one of three commercial veterinary dry diets indicated for nutritional management of allergic conditions (diet A, Iams® Veterinary Formulas Skin & Coat Response™ FP; diet B, ROYAL CANIN Veterinary Diet™ Canine Hypoallergenic HP 19™; diet C, Hill's® Prescription Diet® d/d® Potato & Salmon Formula Canine). Study groups were balanced by gender, age, and atopy severity on the initial screening examination.
Dogs were fed only the study diet, treated for fleas and ticks, and on a heartworm preventive throughout the eight-week trial. No additional treatments were initiated or changed during these studies. At weeks one, two, four, and eight, owners returned to the clinic with their dogs, and both owners and veterinarians assessed the dog's clinical signs. Only the veterinarians' assessment of clinical signs is reported here.
Pruritus, skin lesions, and overall severity of atopy were evaluated and assigned a score from zero to 100, with lower scores indicating milder clinical signs and higher scores indicating more severe clinical signs. Dogs were assigned a numerical score based on severity of their baseline clinical signs of 25 (mild), 50 (moderate), and 75 (severe). Most of the dogs were initially classified as mildly or moderately affected.
Clinical signs were found to be affected by both diet and duration of feeding in this study. In dogs with higher baseline scores, the response to the diet was more pronounced. Beginning after two weeks of feeding diet A, dogs that were moderately to severely affected at baseline showed a significant lowering of mean scores for pruritus and overall severity of atopy that were maintained over the study period. However, similarly affected dogs fed diet B showed no significant improvement in these scores, and dogs fed diet C showed significant improvement only after four to eight weeks of feeding. All dogs fed all diets showed significant improvement in skin lesion scores, compared with baseline, starting as early as week one and maintained throughoutthe study.