Allergic Dermatitis: Apoquel & Cytopoint

blog image

As mentioned in Part 3 of this series on Allergic Dermatitis, Apoquel and Cytopoint have emerged in the past 5 to 7 years as vital means of managing Allergic Dermatitis in dogs.

And this is a good time to mention that Cytopoint should not be used in cats.  The ‘biology’ of the way that allergies effect dogs and cats is different, so cats simply won’t respond to Cytopoint.  Apoquel is not approved for use in cats, but has been used experimentally with some success.

Apoquel is a tablet that has great success with about 80% of the dogs it is used in.  The use of Apoquel is pretty simple as we initially give the medication twice a day for 10-14 days, then (if we get some improvement), we reduce the dose to once daily or as needed.   Contrary to what some pet parents are told by other veterinarians, the Apoquel can be stopped and started so it can be given on an as-needed basis.  It does not need to be given continuously.  Side effects are very rare, but vomiting and diarrhea may be seen, as well as sluggishness and loss of appetite.  Apoquel can suppress the body’s immune / self-defense system if used continuously for a long period of time.

Cytopoint was released in late 2016, and has become a favorite for many veterinarians … including me … for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, Cytopoint is NOT an injectable form of Apoquel.  Like Apoquel, it works with about 80% of dogs, and we don’t know if it will work until we try it.  The 2 features that make this such an appealing choice to manage allergies is

  • When it works, it usually lasts 4 to 8 weeks. Fewer visits = happier pets and pet parents.
  • Safety: There are virtually zero side-effects to Cytopoint.  Very rarely is vomiting or diarrhea seen after giving the injection

For some dog owners, particularly large breed dogs, Cytopoint can be very expensive.  But if it lasts for   ~2 months, it may not be as pricey as it seems if a pet doesn’t have to come back very often for the injection.  AND if the itching is managed effectively, the pet parent can give less attention to the daily demands of an itchy pet.

One final note:  Apoquel is a prescription medication.  We MUST see (or have recently seen) your dog in order for us to try it.