Here is the real meat of this blog: APOQUEL and skin allergy issues.
I will create a post describing Gidget’s skin issues, tried and failed treatment methods, etc., but for now, I’d like to introduce you to the Gidget Case Study on Apoquel.
This Winter, Gidget’s skin issues were not terrible. They were not good, but they were not terrible either. In the month of March here in Georgia, the tree pollen starts kicking things up a notch. Everything is coated in yellow pollen powder. It was as if a light switch had been flipped and BOOM! One day, Gidget’s itching became intense. I called the Vet at Animal Medical and Surgical Center in Canton, Georgia, and I made an appointment for Gidget to see her. At this time, I had already been reading about Apoquel. Within a matter of a week and a half from her appointment (my husband and I both work full time so we were controlling her itching the best we could until we got her to the Vet on my husband’s next day off,) behind her ears were raw, and she had scratched two thinned hair patches on either shoulder and her side. She was also shaking her head though we rinsed them with Vetericyn Ear Rinse.
I gathered my information together, and my husband took Gidget into the Vet’s office. I told him that I REALLY wanted to try Gidget on Apoquel based on what I had read about the drug (FDA approves new drug ; Apoquel .) A few things stood out to me about Apoquel over other therapies:
1. The propensity for dogs to have gastrointestinal issues was not as high as Atopica (cyclosporine.)
2. Apoquel had results seen within four hours of the first dose.
3. A dog’s itching was reduced to “normal” itching after 24 hours (i.e. a dog that has a random itch behind its ear.)
4. It does not have the same side effects as prednisone as it is not a steroid and does not work the same way (i.e. panting, excessive thirst, excessive urination and, in Gidget’s case, unable to control her bladder even with taking her out on the hour.)
5. 1/2 to 1/3 less the monthly cost of Atopica (even the generic cyclosporine)
6. Can be given with/without a meal.
But with any drug also comes downsides:
1. There was a shortage that was later determined to be a packaging shortage shortly after this miracle drug’s release. Some Vet’s offices still have a limited supply.
2. There haven’t been any case studies weaning dogs off of Apoquel to an every-other-day type of administering of the drug.
3. POSSIBLE gastrointestinal issues. Continuing to give Apoquel saw a reduction and end of this distress in those affected. (Gidget is on Herbsmith Microflora Plus Prebiotics, Probiotics, Enzymes so we didn’t foresee this being an issue.)
The Vet proceeded to give Gidget an exam. I was not there so I am relying on my husband’s info and the results. No ear infections – just itchy from skin issues. The Vet was 100% on board with starting Gidget on Apoquel; so she did. The Vet would like for us to do our own case study (see this blog?) with photos to document progress. She said she has a few dogs in her practice on Apoquel now including a dog with allergies worse than Gidget to the extent that the poor pooch had “elephant skin.” Fortunately, this drug worked for the dog, and her skin and coat started to grow back. We agreed.
Gidget has been started on the “high dose” of Apoquel twice a day for fourteen (14) days.
After fourteen (14) days, Gidget will have Apoquel once a day, and we will go from there.
For her first month of Apoquel (in this case, measured at 28 days,) it cost around $94. That is half of generic cyclosporine (quoted by current Vet) and 1/3 of Atopica from what we were quoted by a former Vet.
We gave Gidget her first dose of Apoquel with her meal at 4:45 pm.
By 7:17 pm, we had a dog whose itching had STOPPED, but she still continued to lick her paws and chew on her legs a bit due to itchiness. We could rub and pet her like a normal dog. No crawly skin. No itching.
Morning of Day 2: Gidget slept the entire night through without itching.
I had a very happy dog this morning.
I took her out to potty: normal bowel movement and urination.
I gave her her food with Apoquel in it along with her antibiotic and Microflora Plus.
I was still able to pet, scratch, and rub her. This is a HUGE step for us since we couldn’t touch her anywhere but the top of her head without her skin crawling.
When I came home in the later afternoon, I was greeted by a very happy Gidget.
No accidents in the house of either urine or feces. With prednisone, I would always expect a urination accident even with my husband scooting home to take her out to potty on his lunchbreak.
I took her outside: normal urination, slightly softer defecation but not loose by any means.
Normal water intake.
Still…no itching. I am able to pet her like a normal dog.
No more head shaking.
Her skin behind her ears and in other raw spots are starting to heal already. They are not bright red. They are a very light pink.
Tonight I will give her a bath because her skin is dry from her itching earlier this week, and I will do a Vetericyn Ear Rinse on her as well since the pollen is ROUGH.
I hope to continue these positive updates.
Day 2 photo:
Hair loss around eyes, ears, shoulders.
** There are active links in this blog post for items we use or feed as well as Apoquel information. They will open in the same window.