Topical treatment with cyclosporine A (CsA) has recently become possible with the development of novel nanotechnology pharmaceutical formulations of CsA able to penetrate through the epidermis providing good absorption and dermal action. The aim of this multicentre, blinded, parallel, randomized, placebo controlled trial was to evaluate the efficacy of a new topical CsA formulation in dogs with atopic dermatitis (AD). Dogs (n=32) with severe and moderate clinical signs of non-seasonal AD, but few localized lesions, were randomly allocated to receive topical CsA (17 dogs) or placebo (15 dogs) and were treated twice a day for 6weeks. Before and 21 and 45days after starting the treatment, the severity of a previously selected skin lesion was evaluated according to a dermatological scoring system. Owners using a visual analogue scale also assessed pruritus weekly and effectiveness of the treatment was defined as a reduction of at least 50% in these variables after 45days. After 21 and 45days the lesion severity score in animals treated with CsA was significantly lower than at baseline (P<0.01, both times). In contrast, the animals on placebo showed no significant improvement at days 21 or 45. The percentage of dogs with an effective reduction in pruritus at the end of the trial was 87.5% and 28.6% in the CsA and placebo groups, respectively. These results suggest that topical administration of CsA is effective in reducing the severity of skin lesions and pruritus in dogs with moderate to severe AD as soon as 3weeks after starting treatment.