Last week I was catching up with my required veterinary reading, a mandatory professional practice that’s hard to get into but extremely rewarding. That’s when I came across this fun article, What’s New in Dermatology Therapy?, in one of the more magazine-ish publications I receive, The American Animal Hospital Association’s Trends.

Turns out, much of what’s new comes down to products, most of which I’m already using. It’s great to receive confirmation that what I’ve already employed in my daily practice is already the latest and the greatest, but I was still disappointed. After all, the point of this continuous reading isn’t to pat myself on the back. Rather, it’s to expand horizons on behalf of my patients, right?

Which is why I was relieved that they threw me a bone with the last of the six new drugs and products on the list. Not all a waste of time for yours truly — even less so because it offered me a great post idea. Read on to get the full scoop on what’s new and exciting for your pets’ skin:

1. ProMeris: Originally labeled for the prevention of ticks and fleas, this was a product I didn't think much of until another indication for its use was identified: demodectic (red) mange treatment. Though it still smells awful and isn't yet labeled for its mite-kiling powers, the fact that I can recruit it to help treat the notoriously frustrating demodectic mange mites with less stress and a lower cash outlay (read: greater compliance) is pure veterinary gold.

 

2. Resi-KetoChlor leave-on conditioner: More gold. Once I've looked under the microscope and confirmed that my patients are suffering from yeast infections of their skin (almost always secondary to allergic skin disease), I tend to prescribe a medicated shampoo that comes with a yeast killer (like ketoconazole) and a mild disinfectant (like chlorhexidine).

I have my clients use Virbac's KetoChlor shampoo every three to seven days until the infection resolves, or for as long as the allergy symptoms persist … which can be an onerous proposition. That's why Resi-KetoChlor helps. This leave-on conditioner stretches the length of the KetoChlor product's utility. And for pets who hate baths, I sometimes use it directly on the skin without bathing them first (not that it's as effective this way).

 

3. Comfortis (spinosad): A flea-killing marvel. When nothing else works, this WILL. Read this post for the full download.

4. Vetoryl (Trilostane): A safer alternative to Lysodren for Cushing's disease treatment. It's still not a great solution but it's a step in the right direction.

5. Allerderm Spot-On: Now here's a concept: Pets' allergies can be like people's. Which is to say that a disruption in the skin's protective barrier may be to blame for atopic dermatitis (aka seasonal or "environmental" allergies). In fact, studies have suggested that restoring the normal fats in the skin may be helpful to the skin's barrier function. To that end, this once-a-week spot-on fatty acid treatment is being proposed as a possible solution. More studies are needed, but in the meantime, my dog Vincent is serving as guinea pig (the breaks of being a vet's dog).

6. Phytosphingosine-based products: Don't bother trying to pronounce it. Just call it PS. PS is a naturally occuring fat in the skin of all mammals. Studies like the one I mentioned above have suggested that this molecule may be instrumental in the skin's protective barrier, particularly when it comes to the skin cell maturation process (keratinization). If so, using it in a shampoo, pad, or other topical spot-on application may be helpful for pets that suffer scaling disorders of the skin. Bonus: PS also has antiinflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

The Douxo line by Sogeval Labs carries PS (nice packaging, right?). After I do a little more research, I may be ordering some. Stay tuned.

OK, so that's it from me. Have any more great skin tools you'd like to offer?

Dr. Patty Khuly

Art of the Day: "Kinsey the Sphynx" by The Pug Father