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Development and validation of a new standardised data collection tool to aid in the diagnosis of canine skin allergies


N. D. Harvey

S. C. Shaw

Assistant Professor in Precision Live Stock Technologies

Foundation Dean & Prof Comparative Veterinary Reproduction


Canine atopic dermatitis (cAD) is a common hereditary clinical syndrome in domestic dogs with no definitive diagnostic tests, which causes marked morbidity and has a high economic impact internationally. We created a novel questionnaire for Labrador (LR) and Golden retriever (GR) owners to evaluate canine skin health with respect to clinical signs of cAD. 4,111 dogs had fully completed questionnaires (2,803 LR; 1,308 GR). ‘Cases’ (793) had a reported veterinary diagnosis of cAD, and ‘controls’ (1652) had no current or past clinical signs of cAD and were aged >3 years. Remaining dogs (1666) were initially categorised as ‘Other’. Simulated annealing was used comparing ‘Cases’ and ‘Others’ to select a novel set of features able to classify a known case. Two feature sets are proposed, one for use on first evaluation and one for dogs with a history of skin problems. A sum for each list when applied to the whole population (including controls) was able to classify ‘Cases’ with a sensitivity of 89% to 94% and specificity of 71% to 69%, respectively, and identify potentially undiagnosed cases. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that owner questionnaire data can be reliably used to aid in the diagnostic process of cAD.


Harvey, N. D., Shaw, S. C., Blott, S. C., Vàzquez-Diosdado, J. A., & England, G. C. W. (2019). Development and validation of a new standardised data collection tool to aid in the diagnosis of canine skin allergies. Scientific Reports, 9, Article 3039.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 22, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2019
Journal Scientific Reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 3039
Keywords Veterinary
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 8 May 2018; Accepted: 22 January 2019; First Online: 28 February 2019; : The authors declare no competing interests.


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