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CVM Author Updates Guidelines for Treating Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Thierry Olivry, professor of Immunodermatology at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, led the development and is the lead author of “Treatment of canine atopic dermatitis: 2015 updated guidelines from the International Committee on Allergic Diseases of Animals (ICADA).”

Like the previous guidelines published in 2010, the updated guidelines provides open access standard of care recommendations created by leading veterinary dermatologists to help primary care practitioners better treat atopic dermatitis (AD) in dogs.
The 2015 version further establishes treatment of canine AD is multifaceted, and interventions should be combined for optimal benefit. The new guidelines also note treatment plans are likely to vary between individual dogs and even for the same dog when the disease is at different stages. “This paper is designed as an update of the longer original publication,” says Dr. Olivry. “it uses the same framework and actualizes the recommendations with new drugs and recent study results. Each section contains an abbreviated summary of the 2010 guideline followed by the updated 2015 recommendation and the supporting information for the proposed change or update.

The updated guidelines are divided into three sections: managing acute flares of canine AD, treating chronic skins lesions of AD, and interventions to prevent disease relapses. Managing acute atopic dermatitis effectively involves the search for, and then elimination of, the cause of the flares. Bathing with mild shampoos and controlling pruritus (itch) and skin lesions with topically applied or orally given steroids (glucocorticoids) or inhibitors (oclacitinib) is recommended.
Treating chronic canine atopic dermatitis requires identification and avoidance of flare factors, and ensuring skin and coat hygiene and care. This might include more frequent bathing and increasing essential fatty acid intake. Several oral and topical medications currently may reduce chronic pruritus and skin lesions.

The 2015 updated guidelines may be viewed online at The 2010 peer-reviewed guidelines were translated into 17 languages and were downloaded more than 50,000 time worldwide.