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Several human studies have reported that capsaicin has anti-pruritic effects. Moreover, sever- al concentrations of topical capsaicin have been used to alleviate itch. The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-pruritic effect of capsaicin against histamine-induced pruritus compared with that of topical steroid or vehicle in 15 healthy beagles. Fifteen dogs were divided into three groups (n = 5 each), and treated topically with one of the following on the left side of the neck: capsaicin, positive control (steroid), or negative control (vehicle). Each treatment was performed twice daily for 8 days. All dogs were injected with histamine intradermally before treatment and on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th days of the treatment to evoke itch. Pruritus, wheal, and erythema intensity were assessed at each evaluation; cutaneous temperature was also recorded. On the final day, skin biopsy was conducted for histopathological evaluation for all dogs. The severity of pruritus was lesser in the capsaicin-treated group compared with the negative control group on day 8 (p<0.05). In the capsaicin and steroid groups, wheal size, erythema index, and cutaneous temperature also decreased compared with pretreatment. Histopathological evaluation showed that the capsaicin-treated group had a higher number of inflammatory cells in the dermis com- pared to the vehicle control group; however, the steroid-treated group showed less severe inflam- matory reactions than the vehicle control group. These results suggest that capsaicin cannot reduce inflammation but may play a helpful role in reducing pruritus in dogs.
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