Canine Grass Dermatitis

canine grass dermatitis

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Dermcare Vet.

A newly described condition in Veterinary Dermatology

A recently published retrospective study by Mason et al describes dogs with atopic-like dermatitis resembling protein contact dermatitis in humans.  This paper refers to this novel disease in dogs as canine grass dermatitis. Canine grass dermatitis is caused by an IgE-mediated reaction to grass leaf proteins. These grass leaf proteins elicit an immediate type I hypersensitivity in susceptible dogs on contact with the allergen.

Historical and Clinical Features

Canine grass dermatitis typically affects short-haired dogs, with the average age of onset being 9 months. Lesions predominantly occur on sparsely-haired body regions in contact with the ground, such as ventral abdomen and thorax, muzzle, ventral aspect of interdigital skin, tarsus, carpus and external pinnae. Clinical improvement may occur when the dog is away from their normal home environment or areas containing the offending grass. A key historical feature owners may report is that their dog avoids walking on wet grass or dislikes getting their feet wet. 


A diagnosis of canine grass dermatitis is made by: 

  • Ruling out other diseases with similar clinical presentations. 
  • Clinical and historical features.
  • Response to isolation trial and rechallenge.
  • Scratch test.

After bathing and isolating, clinical signs improve quickly, with pruritus resolving within 12 hours and papules and macules within 24 to 36 hours. After rechallenge, clinical signs would be expected to return within hours.

Treatment and Management 

Treatment of canine grass dermatitis involves: 

  • Identification and avoidance of offending grasses.
  • Removing allergens from the skin and coat with bathing. 
  • Treating secondary infections if present. 
  • Symptomatic treatment of lesions and inflammation.

Canine grass dermatitis occurs on contact with the offending grass. Lesions are localised to body regions in contact with the allergen, therefore, systemic treatment is often not required. Topical treatment is beneficial as it can be easily applied directly to affected areas providing targeted relief. 

How can Barazone® help?

Barazone® is a novel topical therapy for the symptomatic treatment of canine atopic dermatitis, contact allergy and other pruritic conditions of the dog. Barazone® effectively reduces the extent and severity of lesions and pruritus associated with allergic skin disease in dogs. It contains the active ingredient budesonide, a glucocorticoid, formulated in a leave-on conditioner. Budesonide exhibits prolonged retention in target tissues, only requiring application once weekly, making Barazone® compatible with a weekly bathing routine. Barazone® may be applied just to affected areas, making it an ideal choice for the targeted treatment of contact allergies.

Benefits of Barazone®

  • Barazone® is long acting, only requiring application once weekly.
  • Local activity of budesonide within the skin.
  • Barazone® is formulated in a leave-on conditioner that is non-greasy, will not cause matting of the fur or leave a residue on the coat, meaning it can be easily applied to haired areas of the skin. 
  • As it is a topical treatment, Barazone® can be used to target affected areas. If the lesions are severe and affecting the whole body, however, a maximum dose of 1g/kg once weekly may be used for up to 6 weeks. As with all corticosteroids, the dose should be gradually reduced to the lowest effective dose and frequency to manage the clinical signs.

With allergy season around the corner, Barazone® will play an important role in the multimodal management of canine allergic skin disease.

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1. Mason, K., & Ruutu, M. (2023). Canine dermatitis on contacting grass leaf: A case series. Veterinary Dermatology.

2. Mason, K., Davies, J., & Ruutu, M. (2023). Immunoglobulin E-specific allergens against leaf in serum of dogs with clinical features of grass leaf allergy. Veterinary Dermatology.

3. Miller WH, Griffin CE, Campbell KL et al. Muller & Kirk’s Small Animal Dermatology, 7th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Mosby, 2013; 392-397; 663-665.

4. Ahlstrom, L. A., Mason, K. V., & Mills, P. C. (2010). Barazone decreases skin lesions and pruritus and increases quality of life in dogs with atopic dermatitis: a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics, 33(6), 573-582.


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