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Providing Apoquel to an always itchy dog makes sense (now that supply issues have finally been resolved)!
This FDA-approved medication was developed specifically for dogs and reviews are largely positive.
Your vet may recommend Apoquel for excessive itchiness (the type linked to allergies).
But learn much more, both pros and cons, before securing a prescription.
Apoquel Normally Works Well For Dogs
It is generally considered a better option than Prednisone.
But while prescription Apoquel can treat your dog’s itchy skin and allergy-related inflammation problems, it’s usually worth trying something milder.
For example, a quality canine shampoo is worth a shot.
FYI: The medical term for itchiness is pruritus (common in dogs). It is estimated that 10% of four-legged friends suffer from atopic dermatitis.
Be Familiar With Apoquel’s Basics
Apoquel (administered orally) is fast-acting. It will reduce your dog’s strong urges to scratch.
But here’s the deal:
AKA Oclacitinib, it cannot actually cure allergies. Apoquel only treats symptoms.
With that being said, tablets are usually given twice daily, for a couple of weeks, before a reduction to once a day.
Your vet will instruct you on correct dosing as well as how to most effectively use Apoquel.
Basic Precautions And Bad Reactions
One of the biggest benefits of Apoquel is that it works concomitantly. This means it safely interacts with other treatments.
But dogs under 1 year of age should never be given this drug. The same goes for breeding, pregnant or lactating canines.
It could also be problematic for dogs with serious infections.
While your dog is on Apoquel you should monitor them for:
- Lack of appetite
These problems typically resolve themselves. They do, however, need to be watched in case they worsen.
One Alternative And K9 Cancer Risk?
Though Apoquel does not come with many of the adverse side effects that long-term steroids have, this medication can be very expensive for large dogs.
While the expense may not concern you, the info that Sara Redding Ochoa (DVM) offered us may. Here is what she told us:
“Some studies link Apoquel to an increase in cancer. As a Janus kinase Inhibitor, it does slightly suppresses the immune system which may be responsible for a cancer risk in dogs. If you find this concerning there’s an even newer medication called Cytopoint. It’s an allergy injection that lasts 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes longer. It also may be cheaper than Apoquel, especially for small dogs.”
Allergies And Effects on Quality of Life
Canine itchiness is usually the result of dermatitis-type allergies.
The skin is most affected which results in reduced quality of life.
You see, when a dog scratches, it gradually worsens the condition and a vicious cycle ensues.
That’s why it is important to address, if at all possible, the underlying reasons for your dog’s allergies.
The Bottom Line
Apoquel may be just the itch solution your dog needs. Indeed, it works well.
Of course, identifying and eliminating the source of the skin allergies would be even better!
A diet change may also help as well as avoiding known indoors and outdoors allergens.
Otherwise, ask your vet about getting your dog an Apoquel prescription.