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Allergen-specific immunotherapy in dogs with atopic dermatitis: is owner compliance the main success-limiting factor?
  1. Laura Ramió-Lluch1,
  2. Pilar Brazís1,
  3. Luis Ferrer2 and
  4. Anna Puigdemont3
  1. 1Animal Health BU, Laboratorios Leti SL, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Animal Medicine and Surgery, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
  3. 3Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laura Ramió-Lluch, Animal Health B.U, Laboratorios Leti SLU, Barcelona 08038, Spain; lramio{at}


Background While the efficacy of allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) to treat canine atopic dermatitis has been well established, it remains unclear why not all dogs show the same response to treatment. The goal of the study was to determine the relationship between duration of ASIT and two measurements of success: disease severity and concomitant medication sparing effect.

Methods Data were retrospectively compiled for 145 dogs with atopic dermatitis treated with ASIT. As a measure of treatment compliance, cases were stratified into dogs treated for less than 12 months or for at least 12 months. Treatment efficacy, defined as a reduction in disease severity score (scale 0–10), was compared between both groups, and correlations between treatment success and several related factors were examined.

Results ASIT treatment duration was strongly correlated with treatment efficacy. Animals treated for less than 12 months showed lower efficacy rates (22 per cent) than those treated for at least 12 months (65 per cent). Further, in animals treated for at least 12 months, concomitant medications were reduced more (87 per cent) than in animals treated for less than 12 months (39 per cent).

Conclusion A lack of owner compliance emerged as the main factor explaining the reduced effectiveness of ASIT. To improve treatment adherence, veterinarians and owners need to be better informed about ASIT mechanisms of action before starting treatment.

  • immunology
  • atopy
  • allergy
  • dogs
  • dermatology
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data are stored in Laboratorios LETI and are available from the corresponding author.

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