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College of Veterinary Medicine Researchers Seek Participants for Canine Atopic Dermatitis Study

Dermatology faculty members at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are seeking participants for a three-month clinical study of  chronic canine itching and skin lesions.

Dermatology researchers been known for decades that most dogs with the skin disease atopic dermatitis have high levels of  “allergic” (IgE) antibodies against environmental allergens  such as mites, molds, pollens, and certain foods. What remains unclear is if eliminating these antibodies from the dog’s blood would prevent the dog from developing itchy skin lesions.

A pilot study conducted by the Dermatology Service at the Randell B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center aims at testing this strategy by evaluating two novel NC State reagents that will inactivate canine IgE.

To be selected for this study, dogs must have:

  • nonseasonal (year round) itching and skin lesions,
  • tested positive on a blood or skin allergy test, and
  • had itch and skin lesions respond in the past to oral or topical steroids.

If accepted for this three-months trial, owners will be expected to bring their dog to the dermatology clinic once a month for three months (a total of four visits). The tested drug will be injected only once in the skin at the beginning of the trial.

The reagents injected are expected to be very safe to the pet. Dogs will receive a low dose of steroids for the first two weeks of the trial.  At each visit, clinical signs will be rated, and a blood sample taken.

Visits and laboratory tests run for this study will be covered by the funded grant. Additionally, for each visit of the four visits completed for this trial, the owner will receive up to $187 credit toward future hospital expenses for a possible total of $750.

The study, “Allergic Disease Therapy Using Anti-IgE Monoclonal Antibodies from Canine B Cells,” is supported by a grant from the University’s Chancellor Innovation Fund and is based on Dr. Bruce Hammerberg’s ongoing allergic disease research and Dr. Thierry Olivry’s focus on canine atopic dermatitis.

Dr. Hammerberg, a professor of immunology-parasitology in the CVM Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, and Dr. Olivry, a professor of immunodermatology in the Department of Clinical Sciences and a senior clinician in the Dermatology Service,  have been collaborating on research projects as members of the NC State Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research.

Owners interested in enrolling their dogs  in this study, should email Berryman Hill at for further details and enrollment criteria.