Itchy dogs and cats are on the rise, but so are treatment options. Apoquel can help your itchy pet

According to current statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association, pet allergies, like human allergies, have been on the rise. This means that more of our furry loved ones are doing a lot of excessive scratching— a common sign that an allergy could be causing both discomfort and health problems. 

The causes of allergies in dogs or cats come from many sources— fleas, foods, environmental substances like molds, pollen, or dust, and contact substances like fabrics and chemicals. 

The best treatment for your pet’s allergy will obviously depend on which allergen is the culprit. While the presence of fleas might make for an easy diagnosis, the source of other allergies can take some time for your veterinarian to uncover.  

If your furry loved one is doing a lot of excessive scratching, it’s best to get them evaluated by a veterinarian soon to avoid the development of secondary, and sometimes resistant, infections resulting from excessive scratching. 

Cytopoint injections and Apoquel (oral) are two popular medication options that provide long-lasting skin allergy relief. They are available only by prescription from a veterinarian who can determine whether either treatment is right for your pet. 

How will my vet know what itch treatment plan is right for my scratching pet?

While topical ointments, antihistamines, benadryl, and steroids were the common treatment options for pruritus (the medical term for itch) years ago, current treatments can be more effective, long lasting, and without the undesirable side effects of steroids. Today’s treatments—both tablets and injectables—are designed to not only provide relief from itching, but to also target the body’s immune response that causes swelling and redness. 

What is Apoquel and why is it one of today’s more popular treatment options for allergic itch?

One of the advantages of the oral treatment Apoquel is that it’s nonsteroidal and takes effect quickly. Apoquel targets specific cytokines (proteins) that lead to itch and inflammation. It comes in tablet form and is given daily, providing relief for 24 hours. Apoquel cannot be used for dogs under one year or breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs. Apoquel side effects are reportedly rare (less than 1 dog out of 10,000 treated), but may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, or blood work changes. Apoquel has been safely used with other common medications such as antibiotics, parasiticides and vaccinations. Your vet, with your input, can determine if Apoquel might be right for your pet. 

Cytopoint Injections are another leading treatment option for allergic itch.

The advantage of Cytopoint is that one injection can start controlling your pet’s itching usually within a day, and can provide relief that lasts for 4 to 8 weeks. It’s safe to use in dogs of any age and can be used with various medications. Cytopoint will not put pressure on your pet’s liver or kidney because it is not chemical-based. Instead, it’s an antibody that blocks the itch signal in your pets nervous system. As with Apoquel, side effects are reportedly rare, but your vet will determine if this medication is right for your particular fuzzy family member.  

Professional management by your vet is critical to preventing secondary infections

Pet allergies can be a lifelong condition, so having your vet manage these issues helps in preventing secondary infections. Excessive scratching can lead to secondary infections, so it’s important to stay on top of it and follow the treatment plan for your dog or cat. Secondary infections can lead to resistant bacteria, therefore, early detection and treatment of itchy skin and allergies is critical to your pet’s long term health. 

If your pet is exhibiting excessive scratching, contact us at Harmony Animal Hospital for an evaluation. We can give your furry loved one the relief they need from itching and a long-term plan to manage the underlying allergy. Scratching is no fun for them or for you. Help is on the way!

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