Apoquel for Dogs - Should Your Dog Use It

Apoquel for Dogs - Should Your Dog Use It

Author WDF Staff


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Dealing with allergies is irritating. If you are allergic to something, you know what we are talking about. The same is for our dogs. They most certainly don’t like having an allergic reaction, and you can be sure they will really appreciate your help. One of the ways you can help them is by giving them allergy medications like Apoquel for dogs. If your vet advised you to give Apoquel to your dog, you might want to learn more about it and its side effects. Here’s what you should know about Apoquel for dogs.

What is Apoquel?

Apoquel is an allergy medication dogs can take for different types of allergies. More precisely, it is an immune suppressant drug that inhibits enzymes directly responsible for the itching sensation in dogs. Usually, what vets prescribe to dogs with extreme cases of itchiness are corticosteroids. Some vets described Apoquel as being nearly as effective as corticosteroids but have fewer side effects.

Apoquel contains an active ingredient called oclacitinib. It is not the only medication that uses this enzyme inhibitor, but it is a powerful one. The good thing about this medication is that it can help your dogs with different allergies. The most common cases  that might require Apoquel are;

  • Food allergies
  • Contact allergies (environment)
  • Flea allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis

Is it effective?

The first question dog owners usually have is, “Is it effective?” Naturally, they want to know if this medication will help with their dog’s itchiness. It doesn’t make sense to give your dog medication that will not help them. The good news is - Apoquel is considered very effective.

cocker scratching

The manufacturer had to conduct a study to prove the effectiveness of the drug. They performed the study with 299 dogs in 18 veterinary hospitals. The dogs showed significant signs of improvement. After 28 days, dogs had about a 50% decrease in skin lesions. Plus, the drug will start easing the itchiness after just 4 hours.

Is it safe?

The second important question dog owners usually ask is, “Is it safe?” It is entirely normal they are interested in the drug’s safety. You’d want to be prepared for anything that might happen, and safety is a key component of a medication. The good news is that Apoquel is considered very safe. One veterinarian even mentioned he treated about 1.000 dogs with this drug, and only 10 had severe reactions.

Apoquel for dogs side effects

Nearly all medications in existence can cause adverse reactions and side effects. The main question is how often will these side effects happen. Luckily, Apoquel’s side effects are not that often. Mild side effects can occur, but dogs usually get over them pretty soon. That is why it is absolutely necessary to follow your vet’s instructions on dosage and administration frequency. Here are some of the most common Apoquel side effects;

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

In rare cases, a dog that takes Apoquel can develop severe side effects. In this case, it is only one - increased susceptibility to different infections. The most common types of infections are ear, urinary tract, skin, and respiratory. If that happens, and you notice your dog seems extremely “under the weather” or develops a fever, call your vet immediately. Make sure they know your dog is taking this medication.

CAUTION: Apoquel is developed specifically for dogs. You should not use it on your other pets or humans.

How is Apoquel given to dogs?

The best way to give your dog this medication is precisely how your vet prescribed it. You should never experience with dosages and medicate your dog on your own if you are not a licensed veterinarian. Apoquel comes in the form of tablets, and the dosages and administration frequency will be different for different allergies. For example, for allergic dermatitis, Apoquel is given to dogs twice a day for 14 days. For long-term use, the drug should be given once a day.

What is the correct dosage of Apoquel for dogs?

Your vet can adjust the dosage based on your dog’s condition. You should listen to their advice and instructions and stick to the dosage they prescribe. However, Apoquel is usually given to dogs like this - 0,5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That should be about 0,22 milligrams per pound of body weight.

Where can I get it?

Apoquel is an FDA-controlled medication. That means only a licensed vet can prescribe it to your dog. However, if you have a valid prescription, you can pick it up at your local pet pharmacy. If you prefer online shopping, you can order Apoquel on Chewy’s online pharmacy. You will still need a valid prescription.

World Dog Finder team

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