5 years ago

Environmental and phenotype-related risk factors for owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms and for canine atopic dermatitis verified by veterinarian in a Finnish dog population

Liisa Uusitalo, Johanna Anturaniemi, Anna Hielm-Björkman

by Johanna Anturaniemi, Liisa Uusitalo, Anna Hielm-Björkman

The aim of this cross-sectional study was to observe whether environmental factors and phenotypic traits are associated with owner-reported skin problems and with veterinary diagnosed canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). Data were collected using the validated online DOGRISK questionnaire. Out of the data that the questionnaire provides for analysis, focus was first turned towards addressing questions regarding ‘Atopy/allergy (skin symptoms)’ using a total of 8643 dogs: 1585 dogs with owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms and 7058 dogs without. A subsequent analysis compared dogs with veterinary-verified CAD (n = 322) as a case group against the 7058 dogs without owner-reported skin symptoms. The association between 21 factors related to the environment, canine phenotypes and breed groups within both populations were analysed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression. The environmental factors that showed a significant inverse association with the risk of owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms were as following: whether the dog was living in a detached house, whether there were other dogs in the household, and whether the dog was born in the current household. Having over 50% white colour in the coat and living in an extremely clean household were significantly associated with an increased risk of owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms. The five breeds demonstrating the highest proportion of owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms were West Highland white terrier, Boxer, English bulldog, Dalmatian and French bulldog. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale dog breed groups 3 (Terriers) and 6 (Scent hounds and related breeds) showed a significantly higher risk for owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms than mixed breed dogs. In the second population, the inverse association was observed between the risk of CAD and the presence of other dogs in the household, and whether the dog had been born in the current household. The results indicate that some environmental factors and canine phenotypes are associated with CAD and owner-reported skin symptoms, but they still do not prove causality.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178771

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