As prednisone and ciclosporin can have immunosuppressive effects and have been considered potential predisposing factors for skin infections, we investigated the impact of these drugs on the diversity of the cutaneous microbiota, the abundance of Malassezia and infection with Papillomaviruses.
Six atopic, asymptomatic Maltese-beagle dogs were treated with ciclosporin for one month and then with prednisone for another month, with a one-month wash-out between treatments. The dogs were sampled on the abdomen and pinna before and after each treatment using a swab. Samples for Papillomavirus detection were obtained with cytobrush sticks. The bacterial microbiota was characterized using 16S amplicon high-throughput sequencing. Malassezia populations were quantified with nested real-time PCR targeting the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1. The diversity and composition of cutaneous microbiota was not impacted in a detectable manner by any of the treatments. As observed for the bacterial microbiota, Malassezia populations were not affected by treatment. Three dogs were positive for Papillomavirus at more than one timepoint, but an association with treatment was not apparent.
Ciclosporin and prednisone at doses used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis do not impact the canine cutaneous microbiota in a detectable manner.