Canine and human atopic dermatitis (AD) are multifaceted diseases which clinical
development may be influenced by several factors such as genetic background,
environment, secondary infections, food and psychological effects. The role of the
environment has been extensively examined in humans but remains unclear in dogs.
The aim of the present study is to examine environmental factors in 2 genetically
close breeds: Labrador and Golden Retrievers. Using standard criteria, atopic dogs
were selected and compared to healthy individuals. Information on environmental
factors was collected using a questionnaire. Univariate and multivariable logistic
regression was subsequently used in order to assess the association between all
potential risk factors and the disease status.
The following parameters, resulting from the multivariable logistic regression, were
associated with an increased risk of disease development: living in a shed during
puppyhood, adoption at the age of 8 to 12 weeks and washing the dog regularly. On
the contrary, the following factors were associated with a lower risk: living in a rural
environment, living in a household with other animals and walking in the forest.
These associations do not prove causality but support the primary hypothesis that
certain environmental factors may influence canine AD development. Further studies
are warranted to confirm the current results and conclusions.