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August 12, 2021 – This month, we’re taking a virtual tour of the United States in celebration of National Dog Day, and recognizing the work of our funded researchers who, with your support, are helping dogs live longer, healthier lives.

The third stop on our tour is Texas A&M, where researchers are using a bacteria found on cat skin to combat skin infections in dogs.

If you’re wondering how this might work, we should review some basics about skin infections in dogs.

The skin is a remarkable organ, capable of withstanding all sorts of insults from the outside world. One important defense mechanism is the skin microbiome, which consists of hundreds of thousands of bacteria that live on healthy skin. These tiny inhabitants act as a defense against other microbes that might try to invade the body. However, under some circumstances (such as a cut or scrape), our resident skin bacteria can go rogue and actually cause infections.

It’s probably no surprise to learn that bacterial skin infections are the most common skin disease diagnosed in dogs. These pesky infections can be tough to treat and often recur again and again. Antibiotics have been a mainstay of therapy for years, but they can be costly, and alarming numbers of bacteria are becoming resistant to many antimicrobials. New treatments are desperately needed to improve outcomes while minimizing the chance of resistance.

The team at Texas A&M is studying a harmless bacteria (as a probiotic preparation), applied directly to the skin, to determine if it would slow or stop the growth of disease-causing bacteria. The product is derived from Staphylococcus felis, a bacteria found on the skin of cats. In this cat and dog vs. bacteria battle, existing evidence suggests that S. felis can stop the growth of Staphylococcus pseudointermedius, the most common bacterial cause of skin infections in dogs. The team is hoping this topical preparation could be an effective way to treat superficial skin infections without needing to use antibiotics. We can’t wait to see what they discover!

Next up, we’ll be traveling to the Sunshine State where we’ll be stopping by the University of Florida where researchers are studying whether the gene editing tool CRISPR could be used to treat heart disease in dogs – wow!

Your Support Makes These Critical Studies Possible!

Cutting-edge canine health research would not be possible without the support of dog lovers like you. For over 73 years, Morris Animal Foundation has been dedicated to funding innovative research to make the lives of our dogs healthier and happier. And that means more time together with the dogs we love.

Your help allows us to support unique studies that might not find funding from other sources. We fund high impact studies that help dogs everywhere live happier and healthier lives. Learn more about how you can help!