0001840: Studies of the Host (Canine) Immune Response to the Opportunistic Pathogen Malassezia pachydermatis

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $18,585
Daniel O. Morris, DVM; University of Pennsylvania
July 8, 1999 - January 14, 2002

Sponsor(s): American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc., American Spaniel Club Foundation, Basset Hound Club of America, Inc., Collie Health Foundation, Dalmatian Club of America Foundation, Inc., Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association Foundation, Siberian Husky Club of America, Inc., Westie Foundation of America, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Immunology and Infectious Disease
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Project Summary

This study confirmed that the immune system of allergic dogs recognizes a specific yeast as a contributor to allergies that the dog's body is mounting an allergic response to the yeast, not just reacting to a yeast infection. The yeast, Malassezia pachydermatis, is present in many dogs with skin allergies, causing itching, infection and sometimes licking to the point of self-mutilation. The most common symptoms of the yeast are ear canal infections and paw licking. Dogs with the yeast allergy can react to a quantity of yeast that would be considered within normal limits for healthy dogs. This discovery provides evidence and hope that it might be possible to manage that allergic reaction through the development of yeast-specific allergy shots, rather than relying on anti-fungal medications, which carry a possibility of side effects and don't stop the allergic reaction from recurring.


Morris, D. O., Clayton, D. J., Drobatz, K. J., & Felsburg, P. J. (2002). Response to Malassezia pachydermatis by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from clinically normal and atopic dogs. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 63(3), 358–362. https://doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.2002.63.358

Morris, D. O., & DeBoer, D. J. (2003). Evaluation of serum obtained from atopic dogs with dermatitis attributable to Malassezia pachydermatis for passive transfer of immediate hypersensitivity to that organism. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 64(3), 262–266. https://doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.2003.64.262

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