Our current research in skin disease


Rows of samples in test tubes. All are held in a plastic blue container

Exploring the dog microbiome for therapeutic potential in the treatment of canine bacterial pyoderma

Student Research Project Grant: £2,800 awarded in 2024

Institution: University of Liverpool

Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin are among the most common diseases seen in small animal
practice, and are a major cause of morbidity. This undergraduate project aims to identify and characterise commensal bacteria with therapeutic potential against Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, the most common cause of bacterial skin infections in dogs. This will help determine mechanisms of inhibition and their potential for clinical application.


Is IgA deficiency a feature of canine atopic dermatitis in small and medium sized dogs?

Master’s Degree by Research Grant: £39,365 awarded in 2023

Institution: Scottish Rural College/University of Edinburgh

Canine atopic dermatitis is a common, genetically predisposed and chronic skin condition in dogs characterised by pruritus and inflammation. This study aims to improve the understanding of underlying mechanisms of atopic skin disease in small and medium breed dogs to help in the development of new treatment strategies and the reduction in antimicrobial use.


Evaluation of antimicrobial activity of canine urinary extracellular vesicles against causative agents of canine otitis externa (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus)

Student Research Project Grant: £3180 awarded in 2023

Institution: University of Cambridge

Bacterial species that cause canine otitis externa are becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant. The potential antimicrobial activity of urinary extracellular vesicles against these species could provide a novel topical therapeutic to address this issue. This undergraduate project will explore whether canine urinary extracellular vesicles demonstrate antimicrobial activity against common bacteria that are causative of otitis externa.


Fungal dysbiosis following antibacterial monotherapy in canine otitis externa

Clinical Research Project Grant: £6650 awarded in 2021

Institution: RVC

Secondary ear infections with bacteria or Malassezia yeasts commonly exacerbate the clinical signs of the initial infection and complicate the treatment. While the use of drugs to treat the primary bacterial infection may be effective, they can lead to Malassezia overgrowth. This prospective study will characterise this fungal dysbiosis to better inform treatment decisions.


Past research in this area


Exploring the dog microbiome for therapeutic potential of skin disease

Student Research Project Grant: £3000 awarded in 2022

Institution: University of Liverpool

Microflora dysbiosis, with resultant staphylococcal infection, is common in atopic dermatitis. This undergraduate study investigated the inhibition of staphylococci by co-inhabiting microbes.

Bacterial isolates from skin swabs of dogs with atopic dermatitis were used in competition tests against clinical isolates of S. pseudintermedius. Five isolates showed consistent inhibition of S. pseudintermedius, withS. warneri and S. epidermidis showing the largest inhibition zones.

Findings were presented as an abstract at BSAVA Congress 2023, which can be freely accessed here.