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It is speculated that the presence of storage mites in dry dog foods might cause some relapses of AD because of their allergenic crossreactivity with house dust mites to which atopic dogs are frequently hypersensitive SOR C.
Freezing dry dog foods might reduce contamination with storage mites, but the impact of such freezing on the clinical signs of mite-hypersensitive dogs is unknown SOR C. Nevertheless, to decrease excessive storage mite contamination, owners should be encouraged to avoid storing dry dog foods in humid and warm areas, and they should be advised to store foods in clean and sealed containers SOR C.
Whether or not such contamination would induce flares in dogs with food-induced AD is not known.
House dust and storage mites and faeces are rarely present in commercial dry dog foods QOE 3. Storage of foods in paper bags QOE 3, and especially in environmental conditions of moderate temperatures and high humidity, increases Tyrophagus storage mite numbers QOE 3.
Nevertheless, the concentration of mite allergens on the floor adjacent to stored dog food bags appears much higher than in the food itself QOE 3. Implementation of a flea control regimen Summary of the guidelines: Dogs with AD should be treated year-round with an effective flea control regimen.
Systemic and oral adulticides are recommended in case of repeated shampooing to prevent the wash off of topical flea control products.
Insecticides that demonstrate long effect and fast residual speed of kill should be theoretically more effective in dogs with AD that are hypersensitive to flea bites SOR C.The evidence to support this practice.
As a result, these tests cannot be used to differentiate dogs with AD from healthy dogs or dogs with other pruritic dermatoses.
Serological and intradermal tests to determine hypersensitivity to food allergens are not recommended to assess the presence of food hypersensitivity in dogs with food-induced AD.
There is currently no standardization in the performance of serum allergen-specific IgE assays for environmental allergens, and there is evidence that the results of IgE serological tests can vary substantially between laboratories SOR C.
Because of inconsistent or limited data available, additional studies are needed before recommending the use of specific IgG and IgE serology for, or intradermal or epicutaneous patch or lymphocyte stimulation tests with, food allergens to diagnose, or identify relevant food allergens in dogs with food-induced AD SOR C.
Basis for such recommendations: A recent study that compared IgE serological assays at four different laboratories showed a high variation in tests results, except for mite allergens for which there was generally a stronger agreement QOE 3.
Patch testing with food items has been shown to have a very high negative predictive value when compared to the response to a restrictive diet trial. Consequently, this method might be useful to identify food items to which dogs are not likely to react clinically.
Finally, in a small study from Japan, most dogs with signs of allergic skin disease that had a negative IgE serology to environmental allergens and a positive lymphocyte proliferation test to food allergens had a favourable response to a dietary restriction trial QOE 3.
Implementation of house dust mite control measures Summary of guidelines: House dust mites are the most important source of allergens for canine AD, worldwide.
House dust mite control measures should be relevant and might be effective in dogs hypersensitive to such allergens.
The individual, or combinations of, house dust mite control measures most effective to prevent the flares of dogs with AD still have not been determined.
Basis for such recommendations: There is still only one uncontrolled study that reported the benefit of house dust mite control with a benzyl benzoate acaricidal spray Acarosan Spray, Bissell for reduction of clinical signs of AD in mite-hypersensitive atopic dogs QOE 2.
Recently, the isolation of dogs with AD in cages in which house dust mites were controlled was shown to lead to a rapid reduction in pruritus in most dogs with IgE hypersensitivity to environmental allergens QOE 2. Veterinarians and dog owners should watch for a drying or irritating effect of topical antimicrobials—especially shampoos—that might induce a flare of AD in their patient SOR C.
Investigation of the relevance of other flare factors Summary of guidelines: There is insufficient evidence to make general recommendations regarding the importance of the environment, humidity, detergents and stress as flare factors in dogs with AD.
Improvement of skin and coat hygiene and care B. Bathing with a non-irritating shampoo Summary of guidelines: Bathing at least once weekly with a mild non-irritating shampoo and lukewarm water is likely to be beneficial.