About the project
The overall aim of the Itchy Dog Project was to investigate the potential causes - environmental and genetic - of canine atopic dermatitis and skin allergies. We set out to help develop news to aid owners and veterinarians in diagnosing and managing this complex and distressing condition.
The project began in 2017, with funding from the Dogs Trust Canine Welfare Grants Scheme. We developed an online questionnaire to gather information about dog skin health directly from dog owners and collected data on over 4,000 Labrador and Golden retrievers, alongside researching the genetics underpinning atopy risk in these breeds. The data we have gathered has helped us to develop a standardised skin health questionnaire, that we believe could be used to better diagnose and treat dogs with allergies. Alongside this, we have been able to shed light on the environmental risk factors for atopic dermatitis and behavioural differences in dogs with skin allergies. Further analysis is still underway.
A further year of research was funded from mid 2018 to 2019 by the University of Nottingham HERMES fellowship and Royal Canin. The aim of the extra year was to test the validity of the newly developed questionnaire (the cAD-RQ) in dogs of varied breeds, to ensure that the diagnostic criteria we developed from it could be used in general veterinary practice. We also aimed to develop a new dog allergy severity scoring tool (the DOASS) that owners could use to monitor their dogs’ symptoms and help with managing their flare ups. The papers from this work are still being prepared but a further 1,707 dog owners took part in this phase of the study and we are very encouraged by the results so far – watch this space.
The project has officially come to an end now, as our funding has finished, but this website will be updated updates on the project outcomes - with the release of publications and further resources. You can also keep up to date on our via our social media pages.