Welcome to some of the new readers. Thank you to persons who have offered recommendations on other things to try; however, if you notice one of our very first posts, you will see everything we tried, most of which is continuing to be recommended as “alternate treatments” in order to earn money for link clicks. Please don’t do that.
It has been almost a year since we updated the blog. We’ve had some good and bad times. I will go over Apoquel and its effects on Gidget in a year.
Apoquel still works…sort of. For us, it has its downfalls such as the continued limited supply as well as causes ear irritation. We work on this by attempting to keep Gidget’s ears as clean as possible using Veterycin Ear Rinse and Zymox Ear Rinse, interchangeably. However, this does not always work 100% of the time. It seems as though Apoquel may promote excessive ear wax production and irritation even when a dog is on quality, grain-free, low starch kibble (or raw.)
I have not seen the allergy reports for our area in north metro Atlanta this year, but allergies this Spring have been particularly difficult for Gidget. She goes outside and comes back in, and her eyes have gunk pouring out of them, she itches her muzzle and sneezes, and she becomes generally itchy all over. I use a damp soft cloth and wipe her eyes clean as well as around her muzzle and body. When I took her to the vet for her monthly pedicure, they pointed out that she had been licking (when we’re not home) her paws that could lead to an infection around the nail bed. They said…..”caused by allergies.” We started soaking her paws in a betadine/epsom salt soak prior to her baths every night.
While Apoquel helped her in the beginning, it seems as though it’s not working 100% as it had a year ago. Because of this, we’ve decided to try to wean her off of Apoquel (after discussing with the vet) so that her one month supply lasts two months. We can give her a daily dose when allergies are at its peak.
Something we have done that HAS worked for her:
Zymox. We purchased Zymox anti-itch shampoo (just the conditioning shampoo) and Zymox conditioning rinse. Prior to Zymox, we had purchased a $30 bottle of shampoo at the vet’s that contained chlorhexidine. It requires bathing and then bathing again and waiting 10-15 minutes before rinsing. It worked the first time; however, the next few times after her bath, she would scratch briefly after her bath, and be okay for a day. By the next day, she needed another bath as you could feel the sticky (and stinky) yeast grime rising from her skin. Her skin would be pink by the next day.
With Zymox, we bathed her the first time. Then I used the conditioning rinse on her. I didn’t realize what the consistency was so I put it on, and it was like hair conditioner. I rinsed it off even though the instructions say you can put it on straight or cut it with water and use it as a leave-in. You can also use the conditioner to “spot treat” areas. Her skin remained white/pale/tan whatever you want to call it; it wasn’t red. We now bathe her every other day or every two days (even every three days.) I dry her off after rinsing her shampoo. Then I use the conditioning rinse and rub her down with it before letting it dry. It does not feel greasy, and it leaves no residue. In between baths, she gets wipe downs and conditioning rinse. Some people have noted that the conditioning rinse’s fragrance is “too strong.” However, we do not find it unpleasant. When she is out of the bath, she is not itchy. She has gone back to hopping in the tub on her own, and when I turn on the light in the guest bathroom (where she is bathed,) she comes walking into the bathroom to wait for me to get ready.
Because we’ve made a full circle with Apoquel (from wonder drug back to square one,) that is why we will be reducing her to every other day and up’ing baths/conditioner with Zymox. Hopefully this will limit the amount of ear irritation she has as well.