Welcome To Our Complete Guide To Apoquel For Dogs.
Looking At What It Does, How It Works And What Dosage Your Pup Will Need.
We Will Also Explore Your Safety Concerns In Detail, And Let You Know What Potential Side Effects It Could Cause.
If you have a pup with allergies, then you’ve probably heard of Apoquel for dogs.
This commonly prescribed anti-itching medication was first given FDA approval in 2013 and has been widely recommended by vets ever since.
But it’s not without controversy.
Some dog owners have speculated about the long-term risks of taking Apoquel, as well as the permanent effect it may have on a dog’s immune system.
With so much information and debate out there, it can be difficult to decide if Apoquel is right for your pup.
This guide will help you cut through the noise, by providing clear and concise information.
In it, you’ll get the lowdown on what Apoquel does, how it works, dosage, side effects, safety and more.
Apoquel for dogs
There is nothing worse than seeing your canine companion in distress.
Allergies are one of the most common ailments in dogs and can cause skin problems, discomfort and inflammation.
Apoquel dog medicine is a drug developed by Zoetis Inc that treats allergic skin conditions in dogs.
Dogs with allergies frequently lick, scratch and claw their skin to try and relieve the agonising itching. It can be very distressing for both pup and owner.
If left untreated, this painful cycle of itching and scratching can cause the dog to cut its skin, develop infections and lose hair.
This itching, known as atopic dermatitis, can be a short-term condition or a long-term illness.
Pets with chronic allergies can suffer repeated bouts, significantly reducing their quality of life.
If you have a pet with allergies, always talk to your vet to decide on a diagnosis and treatment plan.
What is Apoquel for dogs?
Apoquel (also known as oclacitinib) stops allergic dogs itching within hours, by disrupting the itch and inflammation pathway.
The drug inhibits the Janus kinase (JAK) 1 enzyme – a protein that sparks itching and inflammation.
While it does not treat the cause of the allergy, Apoquel blocks the symptoms.
This gives vets and owners some breathing room to discover and treat the dog’s underlying condition. And relieves the dog’s problem in the meantime.
According to the manufacturer, dog allergy medicine Apoquel is safer than steriods because it has less side effects and a simpler dosing regime.
It is available through veterinary prescription only.
But does that Apoquel for dogs is entirely safe?
Is Apoquel safe for dogs?
Apoquel is safe for dogs over a year old. It can be administered both for short-term breakouts and for maintenance over the long-term.
The FDA granted approval of the drug based on two clinical trials, carried out in the US.
In the first trial 67 per cent of dogs with allergic dermatitis were successfully treated with Apoquel, according to their owners.
And dogs that stayed on Apoquel for a further week saw continued improvement.
The second clinical trial concerned dogs with atopic dermatitis (a type of skin inflammation). In this study, 66 per cent of dogs were reportedly less itchy. And vets were positive about the results, saying it reduced dermatitis.
However, according to the manufacturer, Apoquel for dogs may make your pet more susceptible to infection and mange.
It should not be given to dogs with cancer or parasitic skin infections. It is also unsuitable for pregnant, breeding or lactating dogs.
Apoquel – The Wonder Drug?
When Apoquel for dogs first hit the market in 2014, it was hailed as a wonder drug.
Having a medicine that provides relief to itchy dogs within four hours, and controls the itch completely within a day, was great news for desperate dog owners.
But given that the drug disrupts a dog’s immune system, some pet owners remain wary of the long-term consequences.
In so-called ‘margin of safety’ studies conducted by the manufacturer on 12 month old dogs, there were incidences of warts, cysts and abnormal or swollen lymph nodes.
It also lowered white and red blood cell counts.
Safety studies performed on dogs less than six months old were discontinued as the dogs developed bacterial pneumonia and demodectic mange.
So are these potential issues something you should be worried about when using apoquel for dogs?
Apoquel side effects in dogs
In clinical studies of Apoquel dog allergy medicine, the most common side effects were vomiting and diarrhea.
Additional side effects were lack of energy, decreased appetite and skin irritation or infection.
Some dogs also suffered ear irritation or infection.
However, any medication that has effects will have side effects.
You and your vet need to decide whether the potential for these is worth it, given your dog’s distress without it.
If you’re worried about any potential side effects, talk to your vet about your concerns. They will be able to inform you of the risks so you can decide together if Apoquel is suitable for your pet.
Apoquel dosage for dogs
Apoquel tablets for dogs come in varying strengths and dosage depends on the weight of the dog.
According to the manufacturer’s dosage chart, a large breed weighing between 130 and 175lbs should take two Apoquel 16mg for dogs daily.
If you’ve a medium or small-sized pup the Apoquel 5.4mg for dogs is probably more appropriate. For a dog weighing between 20 and 29.9lbs, one 5.4mg tablet daily is sufficient.
And very small breeds, weighing between 6.6 and 9.9lbs should take the lowest dosage. Half a tablet of the Apouqel 3.6mg for dogs is the recommended amount.
Tablets should be given twice a day for up to 14 days and then once daily for a maintenance dose if needed.
You don’t have to wait for mealtimes – dogs can take Apoquel with or without food.
Unlike steriods, there is no complicated tapering off period. Dogs can simply stop taking the medication at any time.
It is very important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions when it comes to dosage and frequency, there may be reasons to adjust those recommended doses to suit your pet.
Apoquel for dogs can usually be safely given alongside other drugs including anti-fungals and NSAIDs but always check with your vet before beginning your dog on a new medication.
Apoquel for dogs price
Given that the demand for the Apoquel for dogs is so high, many pet owners are asking, what does Apoquel for dogs cost?
The good news is that all three tablets are the same price.
Online retailers sell Apoquel for between $2-$2.50 per tablet.
Don’t be fooled if you come across Apoquel generic for dogs online however.
Zoetis is the only manufacturer to produce oclacitinib tablets, so Apoquel is the only available brand.
Apoquel alternative for dogs
If you are unsure of whether to give your dog Apoquel, you may want to consider alternatives.
Other common drugs used to treat allergy-related itching in dogs are steriods and antihistamines.
Steriods such as Prednisone do have a long list of side effects and can be dangerous for some dogs so check with your vet first.
When it comes to managing allergy symptoms, there are a variety of holistic alternatives you can try in addition to your vet recommended medication.
When my dog has an allergy breakout, I find that an oatmeal bath soothes his red, itchy skin. Make a paste with oatmeal and warm water and rub it into his fur, leave for a few minutes and thoroughly wash.
Another option is a baking soda bath, using a ratio of one tbsp of baking soda to one cup of warm water.
You’ll need to be guided by your vet here, and he or she should always be informed of any self-help treatments or home remedies you are considering.
Apoquel For Dogs
Treating an itchy, allergic dog is often a difficult process of trial and error.
Chewing, licking, biting and scratching, an itchy dog can drive itself and its owner mad.
Not to mention the frustration of trying to decipher the underlying cause.
Using Apoquel for dog allergies can give both dog and owner much-needed instant relief. But it’s important to be an informed customer – for you and your dog.
Talk to your vet, read the manufacturer’s information and research every possibility so you can make the right decision for your pup.
And, of course, the best treatment of all is getting to the core of the problem, not just alleviating the symptoms.
If your dog is diagnosed with allergies, it may be worth having him tested.
Knowing whether he is suffering from food or environmental allergies can help you pinpoint the problem and put an end to your dog’s misery – giving him a happy, healthy, itch-free future!
- Cosgrove SB, Cleaver DM, King VL, et al. “Long-term Compassionate Use of Oclacitinib in dogs with atopic and allergic skin diease” Vet Dermatol, 2015.
- Gadeyne, C et al Efficacy of oclacitinib (Apoquel) compared with prednisolone for the control of pruritus and clinical signs associated with allergic dermatitis in client-owned dogs in Australia. Vet Dermatol, 2014
- Little, PR et al A blinded, randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy and safety of oclacitinib and ciclosporin for the control of atopic dermatitis in client-owned dogs Vet Dermatol 2015
- Zoetis, Prescribing Information, 2013
- Gonzales, AJ et al Oclacitinib (APOQUEL) is a novel Janus kinase inhibitor with activity against cytokines involved in allergy. Journal of Veterinary Pharacology and Therapeutics
- Cosgrove, SB et al A blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of the Janus kinase inhibitor oclacitinib (Apoquel) in client-owned dogs with atopic dermatitis. 2013. Vet Dermatol