Itchy dog research project to be launched at Crufts

09 Mar 2017 12:17:32.713


Dog lovers who own Golden Retrievers and Labradors are being invited to take part in new research into canine atopic dermatitis — otherwise known as skin allergy. 

The Itchy Dog Project is being launched at this year’s Crufts Dog Show by veterinary researchers at The University of Nottingham’s Vet School. The team is looking for dog owners to take part in the study which can all be done online. 

The aim of the project is to investigate the potential genetic and environmental causes of canine atopic dermatitis and to develop a strategy to reduce the number of dogs affected by the disease. The researchers are asking owners to register online to take part, even if their dog does not have an itching problem. 

Click here for full story

Vet School Research Fellow, Dr Naomi Harvey, said: “We know that at least 10 per cent of dogs suffer from long-term skin allergies and it can have a serious impact on their lives, and on the owners’ lives in dealing with it. We need to collect data on both atopic (itchy) and non-atopic (non-itchy) dogs from these breeds so we can look for differences between them at a genetic, environmental and behavioural level to help us better understand the causes and impact of the disease. Only purebred Labradors and Golden Retrievers, aged three years and over, can be registered with the project.”

Dean of the Nottingham Vet School, Professor Gary England, said: “This is a great opportunity for dog lovers to get involved in some citizen science that could have a huge impact on future treatment and possibly even breeding methods.”

Taking part in the study will involve completing an online survey after registering your dog on The Itchy Dog Project website. The survey will ask questions about your dog’s health and lifestyle and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. A link to a second survey about your dog’s behaviour will then be emailed to participants and should take up to 15 minutes to fill in. 

Owners of eligible dogs may be invited to donate a sample of their dog’s saliva to the project for genetic analysis of their DNA. However, the samples and information provided by dog owners will only be used for the research purposes — not for offering a diagnosis or individual results of the analysis.

The Itchy Dog Project has been funded by the Dogs Trust. Runa Hanaghan, Deputy Veterinary Director of the Trust said:

“As well as ensuring that every dog it rehomes goes to a loving, responsible family, Dogs Trust invests in research projects across the UK to improve animal welfare. Canine atopic dermatitis can be extremely uncomfortable and distressing for dogs so we’re pleased to support this research and play a key role in aiming to reduce the number of Golden Retrievers and Labradors who suffer from the condition. We look forward to seeing the results and how they’re taken forward to shape future preventative treatment.”

Full information on the research and details of how to register to take part are available here: 

— Ends —

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

More information is available from Naomi Harvey in the School of Veterinary Medicine & Science, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)0115 951 

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Related articles

Itchy Dog Project extended to all breeds of dog

Published Date
Monday 22nd October 2018

Securing the future of cattle production in Africa

Published Date
Thursday 16th March 2017

New tool helps pick puppies most suited to guide dog training

Published Date
Wednesday 14th June 2017

University Cake-Off goes global with world's grossest cake

Published Date
Friday 17th March 2017

Cutest rabbit survey launched to inform safer breeding

Published Date
Thursday 26th July 2018

Nottingham's Vet School launches MSc in Veterinary Physiotherapy

Published Date
Tuesday 26th September 2017

Farm vets can help farmers minimise damage to meat

Published Date
Monday 14th November 2016

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798