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Vet Dermatol. 2015 Apr;26(2):79-e24. doi: 10.1111/vde.12196. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Review: Clinical and histological manifestations of canine atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27607, USA.



Many studies focusing on clinical and histological signs of canine atopic dermatitis (AD) have been published since its early descriptions decades ago. Findings of these studies contributed to our current knowledge about the disease pathogenesis and allowed establishment of diagnostic criteria used by clinicians and researchers.


This review serves as an update on the clinical and histological features of canine AD published by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis in 2001 and summarizes the recent discoveries in these fields.


The overall findings of studies focusing on clinical features mirrored those published by the Task Force in 2001. The novelty was the larger number of animals included in these studies, which allowed establishment of a new set of diagnostic criteria that exceeded the sensitivity and specificity of the previous criteria. The same study uncovered some clinical differences between dogs with food-induced and nonfood-induced AD; however, the authors concluded that these two entities cannot be distinguished based on clinical signs only. Another study demonstrated some major breed-specific phenotypes. Several publications addressed the histological features of canine AD skin lesions in experimental models of AD, but none of those addressed naturally occurring lesions. Nevertheless, the histopathological description of the skin reactions was generally similar to that published by the Task Force in 2001.


Considerable work has been done in recent years to provide a better definition of the clinical appearance and histopathology of canine AD. New sets of diagnostic criteria have been developed, and additional breed-associated differences in phenotypes have been demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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