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      Ceramides and Avenanthramides in Canine Dermatology: 5 Reasons They’re Up to Scratch

      For decades, humans experiencing dermatological conditions like eczema and psoriasis have relied on ceramides and avenanthramides to find relief. Now, these long-trusted skincare ingredients will be appearing in some animal pharmaceutical products, too. That’s because a growing body of evidence has shown that both ceramides (a natural component of healthy skin) and avenanthramides (colloidal oatmeal) can improve outcomes in dermatologically-affected dogs and cats, just as they do for human patients.

      Study results have been so conclusive that at least one major leading animal healthcare brand, Suffusion™, has revamped its entire animal skincare line to include both ceramides and avenanthramides. If you and your patients have relied on Suffusion products to manage topical dermatitis and similar conditions (or haven’t, but are exploring new management strategies), here are five reasons why the new, upgraded Suffusion formula promises to help your four-legged patients and your practice.


      1. Clinically proven benefits

      As mentioned above, both ceramides and avenanthramides have been found to generate positive results in dogs and cats suffering from topical dermatitis and similar conditions. Ceramides, in particular, have been found to be a critical component of healthy skin, and to be absent in diseased skin. These naturally-occurring lipid molecules make up a large portion of the outer epidermis layer, called the stratum corneum, and they have been found to help the epidermis perform its essential functions: retaining water; repelling foreign irritants and allergens; guarding against harmful microorganisms; and more. Considering all the advantages ceramides provide, adding them to canine topical dermatology products seems like a no-brainer!

      Not only are ceramides a core component of healthy skin, clinical research has found that it is noticeably absent in diseased skin. One study, conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota, samples of clinically non-affected (or non-inflamed, healthy-looking) skin in dogs afflicted with atopic dermatitis. They found that even this clinically non-affected skin had critical ceramide deficiencies (specifically, ceramides 1 and 9). Ultimately, the findings gave evidence to suggest that decreased amounts of ceramides in canine skin may disrupt the function of epidermal barrier, thus resulting in the symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis and similar diseases.


      2. Restorative properties

      It’s an unfortunate fact that many solutions and treatments, both in human and animal healthcare industries, only reduce secondary symptoms without addressing the root cause of the ailment. But this is not the case when it comes to ceramides. Ceramides have been found to actually rebuild the epidermal skin barrier, healing and repairing it on a molecular level.

      The researchers applied a ceramide-infused lotion to the participants’ skin, and then examined samples beneath an electron microscope. They found that the ceramide-treated skin became much more uniform in thickness, composition, and orientation than the untreated skin around it. In fact, even the layers of lipids in-between the skin cells became more even and uniform, too. The researchers concluded that applying ceramides to afflicted skin can yield powerful results for flaky, itchy patients.

      Avenanthramides, too, are well known for their restorative properties. Oats and oatmeal have been used for thousands of years to treat dermatological conditions, but the idea that oats heal the skin is far from an old wive’s tale; clinical trials have also demonstrated that avenanthramides, found within many plants but especially in oats, can restore and moisturize the skin. Since more and more evidence has confirmed that these effects can apply to dogs and cats, too, adding them to skincare products promises to provide patients with even more benefits than previous formulations.


      3. Profitability and patient familiarity

      Like all Pivetal® products, the Suffusion line is designed to maximize veterinarian profitability, first and foremost by keeping costs low without sacrificing ingredients or quality. Additionally, the products are designed to be sold in the front office environment, which offers multiple benefits for both clients and physicians: the vet has the assurance of knowing that the patient has purchased the correct product; the client does not have to drive to another location; and the profits stay in the veterinary practice.

      The new formulas’ ingredients, ceramides and avenanthramides, can help assist this process. Since both of these ingredients can be found in popular human skincare brands, like Aveeno®, Curel®, and CeraVe®, clients are more likely to recognize them, trust them, and understand their use. Clients who are uncertain or on the fence about using topical products may be assuaged by the familiarity of the ingredients, for the ultimate benefit of themselves, the treating veterinarian, and the patient.


      4. Topical therapies: Reducing antibiotic dependencies

      For years, antibiotics reigned supreme as the “go-to” veterinary treatment option for a wide variety of conditions, both systemic and topical. Veterinarians were more likely to view pills, injections, and oral solutions as the first and most powerful lines of defense against allergies and skin disorders. However, in the past few decades, this approach has changed dramatically. Modern veterinarians prefer a more holistic, multi-modal approach that addresses all parts of the animal, both topical and systemic.

      There are multiple reasons for this, but chief among them is a concern regarding the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. We now know that exposing bacteria repeatedly to antibiotics can cause them to evolve until they are resistant to antibiotic treatment. This kind of resistance has been found to occur in the pathogens which represent the greatest threat, globally, to humans: Staphylococcus, E.coli, and Pseudomonas.

      While antibiotics can still serve as a powerful and effective defense against many diseases and disorders, veterinarians and doctors now understand that their administration must be more judicious than it has been in the past. Designing a multi-modal treatment plan that includes both systemic and topical therapies can help reduce patient dependency on antibiotics, while still providing significant relief to the patient.


      5. Topical therapy advantages: Human health & safety

      Reducing reliance on antibiotics has another beneficial effect, too: that of protecting the patient’s human family members. This is because studies have shown that it is possible for humans to contract bacterial strains from their companion animals, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria. One study conducted by veterinary researchers in China, for instance, studied a pet shop worker who shared the same strain of E. coli as four dogs and two cats in the shop. The strain was found to be carrying the MCR-1 gene, a molecule that can confer resistance to the antibiotic colistin. The researchers concluded that “mcr-1–producing E. coli can colonize companion animals and be transferred between companion animals and humans...companion animals can serve as a reservoir of colistin-resistant E. coli.”

      It bears noting that this scenario is very rare and unlikely, especially in the developed world. However, incorporating topical therapies into a multi-modal treatment strategy can help reduce the risk even further. Mitigating the use of antibiotics and using a broader, more holistic treatment approach can help protect the entire family, not just the feline or canine patient.



      If we look at the clinically proven benefits of ceramides and avenanthramides, as well as the overarching benefits of topical dermatological treatments, we can easily conclude that the Suffusion reformulation is very exciting news for animals, veterinarians, and clients striving to manage dermatological disease symptoms. Topical washes, wipes, lotions and sprays, especially those fortified with ceramides and avenanthramides, are an affordable and easy way to moisturize, repair, and restore damaged skin cells. The skin barrier is a fragile, delicate ecosystem, and the new, ceramide- and avenanthramide-infused formula promises to provide as much care and protection as is currently possible.

      Of course, the items outlined above are just five of many reasons why products like Suffusion are "up to scratch." If you’re interested in exploring more about this topic, we invite you to visit the articles below. You can also reach out to your local Patterson representative at any time, or visit this page of our website to learn more about Suffusion as well as our entire line of Pivetal products.




      Avery May-Hocutt is contributing writer for Pivetal, based in Cary, North Carolina.