Jun 14 2017

Newspaper Article June 2017- Allergies/Apoquel/Cytopoint

Newspaper Article June 2017- Allergies/Apoquel/Cytopoint
Birds are chirping outside my window, the swan family on Cedar Lake is now complete with cygnets swimming alongside mom and dad, and flowers are blooming everywhere. With all the abundance that spring brings, however, it also brings an abundance of pollens, signaling the beginning of allergy season here in New Jersey.
Dogs commonly suffer from inhalant allergies, known as atopy. Rubbing the face and ears, chewing the feet and under the tail and scratching along the sides can all be signs that your pet has this uncomfortable ailment. In the past, the first line of treatment was steroids, usually prednisolone. While very effective, prednisolone has multiple side effects, including excessive drinking, urinating and appetite. More chronically, it can cause thinning of the skin and coat, liver enlargement and increased liver enzyme levels. Other medications such as Atopica can be expensive especially for larger dogs and desensitization therapy (commonly known as “allergy shots”) can take 12-24 months to help. Fortunately, we now have two new options for treating atopy in dogs.
The first is Apoquel. Given orally, Apoquel stops itching by blocking an enzyme called JAK1 which is involved in the itch-creation pathway. It starts working within hours and can be given for as long as needed for a pet’s allergy season. Apoquel is dosed twice daily for the first seven to fourteen days and is then given once daily. It is very safe and unlike steroids, can also be given if a pet is on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as Rimadyl, Deramax or Metacam. Blairstown Animal Hospital was one of the first veterinary hospitals to use Apoquel when it became available two years ago and we have been very pleased with the results, as have our patients!
The most recent option we now have is Cytopoint. Cytopoint is not a drug, but rather a biological therapy. It is a monoclonal antibody designed to target and neutralize IL31, one of the main proteins that sends itch signals to the brain. Given as a monthly injection, it does an excellent job of stopping the itch with essentially no side effects. Like Apoquel, Cytopoint also starts working within hours and can be given for as long as needed. After the first three months, the frequency can often be decreased to less than once a month. It is safe for any age pet and there are no known drug interactions. Even in cases where other therapies have failed, Cytopoint has shown to be effective.
It was not an accident that cats were left out of this discussion. Apoquel has been used in cats but does not seem to be as successful as it is in dogs. Cytopoint is a “caninized” antibody, which means it is very specifically designed to affect the dog IL31 only, so it is not effective in cats. With the number of pet cats starting to outnumber those of pet dogs in the United States, hopefully there will be something available for our feline friends as well.
If you have any questions about Apoquel or Cytopoint or if your pup is scratching, rubbing, licking, or otherwise making himself miserable, please give Blairstown Animal Hospital a call and we can provide relief for your furry family member.

jadam | Uncategorized

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