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31-07-2012 | Veterinary medicine | Article

Shampoo effective for pruritus relief in dogs


Free abstract

MedWire News: Shampooing dogs with pruritus is an effective method to reduce symptoms even if the shampoo does not contain any active ingredients, report researchers in Veterinary Record.

They found a significant reduction in the extent of pruritus among dogs treated over 4 weeks with DermaTopic (Almapharm, Kempten, Germany), a shampoo containing chlorhexidine, lactoferrin, piroctone olamine, chitosan, and essential fatty acids, and a similar, significant reduction in dogs washed with a placebo shampoo.

"Pruritus is one of the most common clinical signs in small animal practice," explain Ralf Mueller and J Schilling (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany). They add that its pathogenesis is complex and that there are various therapies available for treatment including antihistamines, which can take 1-2 weeks to determine the most efficacious dose.

The pair randomly assigned 27 dogs with a history of mild to moderate pruritus to at least 4 weeks treatment with either a commercial medicated shampoo (n=13) or a placebo shampoo (n=14) to evaluate the efficacy of this treatment option. Five dogs did not complete the study; four were in the placebo group.

Using a visual analog score, the dogs' owners assessed their pets' pruritus before the start of the study and every evening beginning from the first day of the twice-weekly bathing. Scores dropped significantly in both the medicated shampoo and placebo groups, although there were no significant between-group differences.

Despite the nonsignificance of the finding, owners of dogs treated with either shampoo reported better skin and hair quality of their animals at the end of the study - an observation that was confirmed by treating veterinarians.

Conversely, there was no significant pre- and post-treatment (or between treatment group) difference in skin lesion scores as assessed by a clinician using the canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index.

In an accompanying editorial, Monika Linek (Tieraerztliche Spezialisten, Hamburg, Germany) welcomes Mueller and Schillings' findings to the existing evidence base for shampoo treatment of pruritus in dogs.

She remarks that the rising incidence rates of skin colonization and infections with certain antibiotic-resistant infections in the past few years has made it "even more important to develop an effective topical therapy to replace systemic antibiotics and reduce flare-ups."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Sarah Guy, MedWire Reporter