Apoquel (Oclacitinib) is an FDA-approved drug for managing pruritus (itching) associated with allergic dermatitis and controlling atopic dermatitis in dogs who are at least 12 months of age. Unlike steroids, Apoquel is an immune modulator, targeting specific receptors on your pet’s skin to alleviate allergy symptoms.
The Purpose of Apoquel 16mg for Dogs
Apoquel 16mg is typically prescribed to medium-to-large dogs, depending on their weight. The primary use is to alleviate the frustrating symptoms of allergies in dogs. These can include incessant scratching, runny eyes, redness, and discomfort.
Apoquel Dosing Guidelines
The general rule of thumb for administering Apoquel to dogs is 0.4-0.6mg per kilogram of body weight, twice daily for up to 14 days. After this initial stage, the dosage is typically reduced to once per day. However, always follow your vet’s specific instructions as they might adjust the dosage based on your dog’s condition and response to the medication.
Safety Considerations: Can Apoquel Be Given Every Day?
Given the recommended dosage, Apoquel is safe for daily use in managing chronic skin conditions in dogs. However, it’s crucial to monitor your pet closely and regularly visit the vet to assess your dog’s response to the medication.
Interactions With Other Medications
Based on available data, Apoquel can be used concurrently with other medications, including anti-infectives and parasiticides, without risking any significant interactions. Some owners might find they need to use it alongside other medications, such as prednisone, a common steroid used to treat a variety of conditions in dogs.
Overdose: What Happens If My Dog Gets an Extra Dose?
Studies have shown that even when dogs received up to 6 times the normal dose of Apoquel for several weeks, the most common side effects were gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. While an extra dose might not be life-threatening, it’s always best to avoid overmedicating and to consult your vet if an overdose happens.
What About Side Effects?
Most dogs tolerate Apoquel well. However, as with any medication, some dogs might experience side effects. These can range from mild symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea to more serious issues such as blood disorders and increased susceptibility to infections.
Efficacy and Application
Apoquel 16mg demonstrates high efficacy in alleviating itching and inflammation associated with allergies in dogs. The quick-acting formula often reduces itching within 4 hours and significantly controls it within 24 hours. Moreover, its non-steroidal nature makes it a go-to for many pet owners and veterinarians.
When administering Apoquel, it’s essential to consider your pet’s weight. This medication comes in tablet form, which can be given with or without food. Some pet owners find that administering Apoquel during meal times helps to avoid upset stomachs and ensures that the medication is fully absorbed.
Apoquel and Long-Term Use
Chronic allergies may necessitate long-term use of Apoquel. It’s crucial to understand that long-term usage could pose increased risks of side effects. Therefore, periodic veterinary examinations and blood tests are recommended for dogs on a long-term Apoquel regimen. Regular monitoring allows veterinarians to catch potential side effects early and adjust the treatment plan if needed.
Combination with Other Allergy Medications
In some cases, veterinarians may recommend combining Apoquel with other allergy treatments, such as antihistamines or corticosteroids. This combination could offer a comprehensive approach to managing stubborn allergies. The pairing of Apoquel with other drugs like prednisone hasn’t shown any significant negative interactions, but it’s always important to discuss this approach with your vet.
Cost-Efficiency of Apoquel
The cost of Apoquel can seem high, especially for pet owners needing a long-term solution. However, the price tag must be weighed against its effectiveness and the improved quality of life it offers for allergic dogs. To mitigate costs, pet owners can explore different purchasing options, including online pharmacies or bulk purchasing. Some pet insurance plans may also cover a portion of the medication’s cost.
Utilizing Alternatives to Apoquel
While Apoquel proves to be an effective solution for many dogs, some owners might seek alternatives due to cost or potential side effects. Alternative treatments could include Cytopoint, a monoclonal antibody therapy, or natural approaches such as dietary changes and supplements. Always discuss these alternatives with your vet to ensure they are safe and suitable for your pet’s specific needs.
FAQs about Apoquel 16mg
Q: Can my dog overdose on Apoquel?
A: Although Apoquel is generally safe for dogs when used as directed, an overdose can occur if your dog ingests a much larger dose than prescribed. Symptoms of an overdose may include vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues. If you suspect your dog has ingested too much Apoquel, contact your vet immediately.
Q: Can Apoquel cause side effects in my dog?
A: Like any medication, Apoquel can potentially cause side effects. These can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and new cutaneous or subcutaneous lumps. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with your vet.
Q: Can Apoquel be combined with other allergy medications?
A: Yes, Apoquel can often be used in combination with other allergy treatments, such as antihistamines or corticosteroids, to help manage stubborn allergies. However, always consult with your vet before adding any additional medications to your dog’s treatment plan.
Q: What can I do if Apoquel isn’t working for my dog’s allergies?
A: If your dog’s symptoms do not improve or worsen while on Apoquel, contact your vet. They may suggest adjusting the dosage or switching to a different medication. There are alternative treatments to Apoquel available, such as Cytopoint, or holistic approaches like dietary changes and supplements.
Q: How long does it take for Apoquel to start working?
A: Apoquel is known for its rapid action; it starts to relieve itching within four hours of administration. For substantial relief and control of itching, it usually takes 24 hours.
Q: Does Apoquel have any long-term effects on my dog’s health?
A: Long-term effects of Apoquel are still being studied, but some potential risks may include an increased chance of developing infections, as well as skin and subcutaneous lumps. Regular vet check-ups are recommended to monitor your dog’s health while on long-term Apoquel therapy.
Q: What should I do if my cat accidentally ingests Apoquel?
A: If your cat consumes Apoquel, contact your vet right away. While some vets have started to use Apoquel in cats, the safety and appropriate dosing aren’t fully understood, so prompt veterinary advice is essential.
Q: Is Apoquel a steroid?
A: No, Apoquel is not a steroid. It is a Janus Kinase inhibitor. Unlike steroids, it doesn’t have the same long-term negative effects such as damaging the liver, kidney, or adrenal glands. However, it works at the cellular level to control itching and inflammation related to allergies.
Q: Can Apoquel cause weight gain in dogs?
A: Weight gain is not a commonly reported side effect of Apoquel. However, any changes in your dog’s weight, appetite, or general behavior should be reported to your vet as they could indicate an underlying health issue.
Q: Can Apoquel be used in puppies?
A: Apoquel is approved for use in dogs who are at least 12 months old. It has not been extensively tested for safety in puppies under one year of age, so it is typically not recommended for use in these young animals.
Q: Is it necessary to wean my dog off Apoquel, or can I stop the medication abruptly?
A: In most cases, it is safe to stop administering Apoquel suddenly without the need for a gradual reduction in dose. However, it’s always best to consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s medication regimen.
Q: Can I use Apoquel only during allergy season?
A: Yes, many pet owners use Apoquel seasonally to manage symptoms during peak allergy seasons. However, your vet should make this decision based on the severity of your dog’s symptoms and their overall health.
Q: What should I do if I miss giving my dog an Apoquel dose?
A: If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Do not give two doses at once. If you have concerns or questions, contact your vet.
Q: Are there any foods or supplements that can enhance or diminish the effectiveness of Apoquel?
A: Currently, there’s no specific food or supplement known to interact with Apoquel. However, a diet high in essential fatty acids can support your dog’s overall skin health, which can potentially complement the action of Apoquel. Always consult with your vet before starting any new dietary regimen or supplement.
Q: Is it normal for my dog’s symptoms to worsen when starting Apoquel?
A: Typically, the symptoms of allergies should improve with Apoquel, not worsen. However, each dog is unique and may respond differently to medication. If you notice a worsening of symptoms, contact your vet immediately for advice.
Q: Is there a cheaper alternative to Apoquel?
A: There are alternatives to Apoquel, but whether they are cheaper depends on several factors including the specific alternative, dosage, and your geographical location. Options may include traditional antihistamines, corticosteroids, or other medications like Cytopoint. Discuss these options with your vet to find a suitable and affordable solution for your dog.
Q: How should I store Apoquel tablets?
A: Apoquel should be stored at controlled room temperature, between 68°F and 77°F (20°C – 25°C). Keep it out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
Q: Can Apoquel cause changes in my dog’s behavior?
A: While uncommon, changes in behavior can occur in dogs taking Apoquel. If you notice any significant behavioral changes, such as increased aggression or lethargy, you should contact your vet.
Q: Does my dog need to undergo regular testing while on Apoquel?
A: While Apoquel is generally considered safe, it can occasionally affect liver enzyme levels. Regular blood tests, especially during the first few months of use or for long-term therapy, can help monitor your dog’s liver health and ensure the medication is being processed correctly.
Q: Can I give Apoquel to my pregnant or lactating dog?
A: The safety of Apoquel in pregnant or lactating dogs has not been determined. Therefore, use in these animals should only occur if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks, as determined by your vet.
Q: Can I purchase Apoquel without a prescription?
A: No, Apoquel is a prescription medication. It’s essential to consult with a vet before starting Apoquel to ensure it’s the appropriate treatment for your dog’s condition. It’s illegal and unsafe to attempt to purchase Apoquel without a prescription.