What is Apoquel for Dogs?

Dog scratching

Dogs are more susceptible to dry and itchy skin in the winter months. Artificial heating can dry the air, in turn, drying the skin. If your dog is scratching but doesn’t show signs of having fleas or other pest infestations, he could be experiencing a range of skin conditions from dry itchy skin to a form of allergic dermatitis. Apoquel for dogs is a treatment prescribed for combating itchy skin. If your vet recommends this treatment and you have questions about its effectiveness and safety, here is everything you need to know about Apoquel for dogs.

What is Apoquel for dogs?

Apoquel for dogs is a medicine for treating allergies. It is the number one prescribed medication for treating allergic dermatitis in canines. The University of Wisconsin-Madison explains that this drug is an anti-inflammatory medication for dogs that reduces itching without the use of cortisone, antihistamines, or steroids. Therefore, it does not have the side effects of these drugs. The clinical name of this medication is oclacitinib, sold under the registered brand name Apoquel.

What is Apoquel used for?

Apoquel is a new class of medication for treating itch in dogs caused by allergic dermatitis. Dogs that have itching with no obvious signs of pest infestations are likely experiencing skin reactions caused by an allergy or allergies. It can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of allergic reactions. Some dogs are allergic to ingredients in the foods that they eat or something in the immediate environment. It translates into skin breakouts that are itchy and troublesome. Apoquel quells the itch to help prevent dogs from causing damage to the skin by scratching that could lead to more serious skin infections. Apoquel is widely prescribed as the first line of defense treatment in cases of allergy-related skin issues because testing for allergies can be long, tedious, and expensive, often, not producing accurate information useful in alleviating the cause of the problems.

Is Apoquel effective for controlling itch in dogs?

Apoquel is a medication that goes directly to the source of itching in dogs. Tests show that the effective rates are high with fifty percent of dogs having an exceptional response to the medication, thirty percent having partial relief and poor response in just twenty percent of dogs treated. Most dogs receive the needed relief from itching. Apoquel helps to control outbreaks of allergic dermatitis by relieving the condition and reducing inflammation of the skin. It is a powerful anti-itch medication. The initial fifty-percent effectiveness rating may sound low, but it’s good compared to some other treatments. Some dogs respond with total alleviation of symptoms, while others see a reduction in discomfort. The studies show that only twenty percent of dogs treated with Apoquel do not achieve remarkable results. Apoquel may be used with other treatment options in extreme cases. Pet Dermatology Clinic confirms that oclacitinib or Apoquel is an immune suppressant drug that inhibits specific signaling within the body to stop the processes that cause the symptoms associated with allergic dermatitis. The FDA has approved this drug for use in dogs for blocking inflammatory cytokines that cause the itching sensation.

How long does it take for Apoquel to work?

When your pet is suffering from severe itching and scratching himself raw, it’s only natural to want the fastest possible results to alleviate his extreme discomfort. One of the reasons why vets prescribe Apoquel frequently is because it is one of the fastest working treatment modalities available for this annoying and maddening skin condition. Apoquel is a rapid-acting treatment that starts working to relieve itch and inflammation in dogs within four hours of ingestion. The medication starts to work to control the cause of the problem within twenty-four hours. It relieves the problem internally by controlling the mechanisms that lead to skin itching and resolving them. While it is not a cure for allergic dermatitis, it does alleviate the problems that cause the symptoms.

Is Apoquel safe for dogs?

The official Apoquel website reports that Apoquel is considered a safe and effective treatment for dogs that are a minimum of twelve months of age. It is not considered safe for puppies under one year old. Other concerns include animals with parasitic skin infestations, extreme skin infections, and pre-existing cancers. Apoquel may not be safe when used in dogs that are pregnant or lactating. The safety of this drug used in conjunction with cyclosporine or corticosteroids is not known. Apoquel may cause some cancers, or parasitic skin infections to worsen. The medication also increases the chance of developing serious skin infections in dogs less than one-year-old. Aside from these noted concerns, Apoquel is co-prescribed with various other medications including vaccines, antibiotics, and parasiticides with no adverse effects.

Are there side effects with Apoquel?

Pet owners must consider any potential side effects when administering a new medication to their pets. Your veterinarian can answer any technical questions that you have about Apoquel. We offer the data produced from scientific testing and evaluation of this drug in a more condensed form. The most common side effects are diarrhea and vomiting, but recorded cases are generally mild, and they are quite rare. Apoquel has been tested in longitudinal studies. Most dogs experience few to no side effects. When side effects do present they are usually mild. There are no reports of serious side effects reported with the use of Apoquel, however, it’s recommended that pets using this medication for long-term treatment engage in annual medical checkups with kidney and liver testing. Some dogs have developed bladder infections with long-term use of Apoquel, but it is not known if the medication was the cause of these conditions. It is considered safe for long-term use based on the available information.

What is the dosage for Apoquel?

Your veterinarian is the best resource for determining the appropriate dosage for your dog. The literature on Apoquel recommends giving 0.4-0.6 mg at 12-hour intervals daily. It is administered twice daily for the first fourteen days, then decreased to one dose per day after the two weeks. There is no play in the dosage recommendations. Going above the established dosing guidelines will suppress the immune system and compromise the healthy operation of this essential function. This medication does not produce benefits if given below the recommended dosages, therefore, it is necessary to strictly enforce the guidelines and not give smaller or larger dosages. Only in extremely mild cases is lower dosing recommended by pet health care professionals. Apoquel is typically prescribed for seven days initially, twice daily. The pet’s condition is re-evaluated at this point to confirm that the medication is working. If Apoquel works, the dosage is generally reduced to once daily for another two weeks. If it has not worked after two weeks, it is likely not the best medication to treat the dog’s specific medical condition. In some cases, several combinations of therapies are necessary to control severe outbreaks of allergic dermatitis. Only a trained animal health care specialist is qualified to properly assess the best treatment methods for dogs suffering from severe allergic dermatitis.

How is Apoquel administered to dogs?

Apoquel comes in tablet form. You can give your dog Apoquel with food or without food. You can disguise the tablets in the center of a hot dog or another type of food if your dog refuses to take them any other way. It is an oral medication and must be ingested through the gastrointestinal tract to work. Some dogs are highly resistant to swallowing pills. Hide the medicine in a snack he enjoys, if your dog refuses to swallow the pill. This sneaky method is generally the best way to get them to take the entire dosage, which is essential. Apequol is not available through injection or IV formats.

What is the effect of overdosing

Studies showed that increasing the dosages three to five times the recommendations had dire consequences. Tests showed high rates of pneumonia and demodicosis when given to pets in higher dosages. The practice can be dangerous, particularly for those below one year of age. Apoquel is a drug that can become lethal in younger dogs with no significant benefits.

How long does it take for Apoquel to wear off?

Apoquel is a fast-working medication, hence its popularity for quick relief of pet discomfort. The anti-itch effects of Apoquel usually wear off within twelve to twenty-four hours of the last dose administered. Dosing may be different for each animal. The determination is made individually. That’s why it is essential to give your dog this medication under the advisement of an animal health care professional for the best results. Do not discontinue dosing unless advised to do so by your pet’s health care provider. Even if your pet shows signs of improvement, follow the recommended course of treatment and follow up with the vet for further instructions. Stick with the recommended schedule provided by your vet, and don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions. If your dog shows signs of any unusual symptoms during treatment, make the call before altering his current course of treatment.

Which dogs benefit the most from Apoquel?

Apoquel is the most effective for dogs over one year of age. This is a drug that offers no benefits for younger puppies, and it can be detrimental to their health. If your dog has been diagnosed with allergic dermatitis, Apoquel is the most highly recommended treatment. It is suitable for dogs of all sizes and all breeds. Apoquel is safe for dogs from age one year of age through old age. Even older dogs can safely use Apoquel. Some dogs should not receive Apoquel. Those excluded from this list of eligible patients include females who are either in the breeding process, pregnant, or lactating. This drug is safe for puppies who nurse mothers under treatment of Apoquel.

Can you get Apoquel without a prescription?

You can purchase Apoquel from various online providers without a prescription. According to Dog and Cat Pharm, Apoquel is available from a Canadian pharmaceutical distributor, where it is legal to buy for international shipping to your home address. Apoquel is sold in dosages of 3.6 mg, 5.4 mg, and 16 mg in 20, 40, and 100 tablet counts. The price range for the lowest dosage and tab count starts at $55 per bottle and goes up to $155 for 16 mg tablets in the 40 count bottles.

Should you administer Apoquel without vet approval?

Giving your pet any medication can be a risky situation unless it is under the guidance of a trained animal health professional. You can legally administer Apoquel to dogs without prescription or veterinary instructions but extreme caution is advised when attempting to treat your pet on your own. It’s advised that at a minimum, you consult with a licensed veterinarian who knows the health history of your pet, his age, size, and weight, and can help you to determine the appropriate dosage. This is usually determined for each animal on an individual basis. Pharmaceuticals for dogs may be cheaper when purchased online, but it’s essential that you only buy from reputable pharmacies to ensure that you’re getting a pure form of the medication. It’s wise to only buy brand-name medications and obtain them from the manufacturer to ensure that you’re not getting a knock-off drug with potentially dangerous ingredients.

Final thoughts

Apoquel is a medication that is prescribed for dogs for the treatment of allergic dermatitis. It is the number one prescribed medication that works quickly and can relieve the itching and discomfort of this medical condition within four hours of the first dose. Apoquel is a safe treatment for dogs over one year of age, with a high degree of effectiveness for relieving itch. It’s wise to consult with an animal healthcare professional before administering this treatment to your pet to ensure that your dog has a diagnosis of allergic dermatitis. Other issues can cause similar symptoms. It’s vital to use the appropriate medication for treatment.

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