What is living on your dog's skin? Characterization of the canine cutaneous mycobiota and fungal dysbiosis in canine allergic dermatitis

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Abstract

To characterize the skin-associated fungal microbiota (mycobiota) in dogs, and to evaluate the influence of body site, individual dog or health status on the distribution of fungi, next-generation sequencing was performed targeting the internal transcribed spacer region. A total of 10 dogs with no history of skin disease were sampled at 10 distinct body sites consisting of haired and mucosal skin, and 8 dogs with diagnosed skin allergies were sampled at six body sites commonly affected by allergic disease. Analysis of similarities revealed that body site was not an influencing factor on membership or structure of fungal communities in healthy skin; however, the mucosal sites were significantly reduced in fungal richness. The mycobiota from body sites in healthy dogs tended to be similar within a dog, which was visualized in principle coordinates analysis (PCoA) by clustering of all sites from one dog separate from other dogs. The mycobiota of allergic skin was significantly less rich than that of healthy skin, and all sites sampled clustered by health status in PCoA. Interestingly, the most abundant fungi present on canine skin, across all body sites and health statuses, were Alternaria and Cladosporium—two of the most common fungal allergens in human environmental allergies.

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