Apoquel® was approved by the FDA and launched by Zoetis in January 2014 for the treatment of itch, most often caused by allergic dermatitis. Unfortunately, the demand quickly exceeded the manufacturing capacity and this led to limited availability and backorders. Remember this if you have asked your veterinarian about Apoquel® but were unable to try this medication for you're your own dog. In many cases, only veterinary dermatologists have increased access to this medication. Zoetis anticipates increased availability of the drug in the summer of 2015. The drug has a rapid onset of action with decreased itching often noted within a few days. This medication is typically given twice daily for 2 weeks, and then tapered to once daily. Because the drug has a short half-life, tapering to lower doses is typically not possible.
After ruling out the other possible causes mentioned above such as
food allergy and fleas, a
veterinarian could test the dog for various allergens using an ELISA or
RAST test in the same way humans are tested for allergies. Allergy
testing is not foolproof. Allergy tests that show that a dog has
antibodies to specific substances only means that he has been exposed
and reacted to dust mites, ragweed or another allergen. Often this
testing is only done if it is necessary to identify the specific
allergen causing the problem, which is the case if immunotherapy
(allergy shots) is used.
My dog’s story- adopted him from the local animal shelter and within months he becomes an allergy dog. Spent thousands and countless vet visits before he went to a dermatologist. Atopica was the first treatment option and he developed two different tumors on it. Finally got him a chronic yeast infection, with maybe four flare ups a year with the weekly allergy shot. Moved him from NC to WA and he flared up so badly – paws swollen and ulcerated, bowel movements of only blood, we made the decision to put him down. The vet asked us to try one more thing – Apoquel. He has only been on it for five days but it is a miracle drug. I have read the potential side effects and have decided even if he has a shorter life due to his body not fighting off cancer cells, it is worth it. Atopica worried me more since it was originally intended for humans.