Topical Area: Experimental Animal Nutrition
Objectives : Pruritus is the most common reason for dog visits to veterinarians for dermatological diagnosis. Here we hypothesize that dietary intervention alleviates pruritus by reducing intestinal inflammation to improve skin health.
Methods : Control food (CF) and Test food (TF) were formulated to meet or exceed AAFCO nutritional recommendations. Difference between the foods was inclusion of grains in TF. Both foods had similar macronutrient levels (fat: 15.33% ±1.73, protein: 16.57% ±0.35, carbohydrate: 53.16% ±1.15, crude fiber: 2.1% ±0.1, total dietary fiber: 9.5% ±0.3, moisture: 7.35% ±0.08 and ash: 5.49% ±0.05). A feeding study was performed with 15 derm disorder dogs (DD) and pair-matched 15 healthy dogs (HD). All dogs were pre-fed with maintenance food for 28 days and then randomized into 2 groups based on their age, gender and disease condition. A feeding study was performed using a cross-over design without a washout period and each phase was fed for 42 days. Fecal and blood samples were collected and assessment of skin symptoms was conducted by a veterinarian for all dogs at all phases of the study.
DD increased the response rate 14.29% for pruritus reduction when fed TF compared with CF. Also, DD fed with TF decreased the mean level of fecal calprotectin (FC) (57.914 ng/g SE ±52.26) compared with CF (129.09 ng/g SE ± 54.10). However, HD fed with TF showed no decrease in the mean level of FC (36.40 ng/g SE ±6.49) compared with CF (33.68 ng/g SE ±6.49). Number of DD that responded by decreasing FC levels increased to 42.86% fed with TF compared with CF. FC is a major protein released from neutrophils during the period of active inflammatory status and DD fed with TF increased the mean level of neutrophils count (4.28 k/µl SE ±0.34) compared with CF (3.85 k/µl SE ±0.34). However, HD fed with TF did not show any increase in the mean level of neutrophils count (3.97 k/µl SE ±0.21) compared with CF (3.77 k/µl SE ±0.22). Our results suggest that a decrease in FC levels with TF, likely indicating a reduction in the inflammatory status in the gut, was due to the addition of grains in TF.
Conclusions : TF intervention alleviates pruritus by reducing intestinal inflammation to improve skin health in dogs.
Funding Sources :
This study was funded by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.