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Flea allergic dermatitis in dogs: the benefits of hemp oil

Preliminary results of an Italian study presented during the SCIVAC international congress in Rimini.

Published on16 September 2022, by Silvano Marini

Fueled by an altered immune system response to the parasite’s saliva,flea allergy dermatitis (DAP) is quite common in our country due to the hot and humid climate.

In both dogs and cats, it causes intense itching, scratching lesions and hair loss, even going so far as to result in significant skin lesions.

In addition to appropriate antiparasitic treatment, the therapeutic approach often requires the use of products with antipruritic and anti-inflammatory activity. In mild cases, nutraceuticals based on aliamides and fatty acids can be used to manage symptoms.

PEA (palmitoylethanolamide) is an endocannabinoid aliamide that restricts mast cell degranulation and reduces the release of inflammatory mediators, with an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect.

Essential fatty acids-particularly omega-3 and omega-6-reduce the formation of leukotrienes and increase the production of molecules with anti-inflammatory action; due to the “steroid sparing” effect, they also allow for a reduction in steroid administration.

The two nutraceuticals involved in the comparison

It is precisely from these assumptions that an Italian study presented during the SCIVAC (Italian Veterinary Cultural Society for Companion Animals) international congress held in Rimini, Italy, began.

Objectives, To evaluate the efficacy ofa nutraceutical based on currant oil, hemp oil, and vitamin D3 in the management of pruritus in dogs with DAP and to compare its efficacy with a nutraceutical formulated with palmitoylethanolamide and biotin.

The work involved 18 dogs with DAP, which were given antiparasitic treatment at the beginning of the trial and were randomized in a blinded fashion to receive either the 7.53% palmitoylethanolamide and biotin 754 mg/kg pin preparation daily, or the bead preparation containing 250 mg currant seed oil titrated to 20% GLA, 10% hemp oil, and 5,000 IU Vitamin D3.

At days 1, 30, and 60, verifications by CADLI(Canine Atopic Dermatitis Lesional Index) and VAS(Visual Analogic Scale) were carried out by both owners and experimenters.

Benefits of hemp oil with GLA and vitamin D3

All animals arrived at the end of the study in good overall physical condition, and by day 30 were reported to be flea-free.

Clinically, the two preparations in the focus of the evaluationcombined with the appropriate antiparasitic treatment, appeared equally effective in reducing itching and dermatological lesions.

However, in statistical terms (p value), the preparation containing currant seed oil 20% GLA, 10% hemp oil and 5,000 IU vitamin D3 showed better data.

As the authors point out, this is probably attributable to the recognized activity ofhemp oil associated with gamma-linolenic acid and vitamin D3.


Cornegliani L, Persico P, Alessandro Gramenzi A. Comparative efficacy study of two nutraceuticals on itching in dogs with flea allergic dermatitis. SCIVAC International Congress Rimini, May 27-29, 2022. Abstract 51

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