Apoquel (Oclacitinib) is a medication prescribed by veterinarians to treat itching and inflammation caused by various skin conditions in dogs, including allergies and atopic dermatitis. It works by inhibiting the enzymes responsible for causing inflammation and itchiness, providing relief for your dog’s discomfort.
Common Side Effects of Apoquel in Dogs
While Apoquel is generally considered safe for dogs, it’s essential to be aware of the potential side effects. Some common side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
These side effects are usually mild and resolve on their own. However, if your dog experiences any severe or persistent side effects, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian immediately.
Can Apoquel Cause Frequent Urination in Dogs?
Although frequent urination is not listed as a common side effect of Apoquel, it’s important to remember that every dog is different, and individual reactions to medications can vary. If you notice a change in your dog’s urination habits after starting Apoquel, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to determine if it’s related to the medication or if there may be another underlying cause.
Addressing Urinary Issues in Dogs on Apoquel
If your dog experiences frequent urination while taking Apoquel, it’s crucial to work with your veterinarian to determine the cause and find a solution. Possible steps to address urinary issues include:
- Monitoring your dog’s water intake to ensure they are not drinking excessively
- Recording any changes in your dog’s urination habits, such as frequency or volume, to share with your veterinarian
- Considering alternative treatments for your dog’s skin condition if Apoquel is determined to be the cause of the urinary issues
Apoquel vs. Cytopoint: Do They Cause Frequent Urination?
Cytopoint is another medication prescribed for dogs with skin allergies and atopic dermatitis. Like Apoquel, it targets specific enzymes responsible for inflammation and itchiness. Frequent urination is not a reported side effect of Cytopoint. If your dog experiences urinary issues while on Apoquel, your veterinarian may suggest switching to Cytopoint as an alternative.
Long-term Apoquel Use and Its Effects on Dogs
While Apoquel can be a highly effective treatment for skin allergies and atopic dermatitis, it’s important to understand the potential implications of long-term use. Some concerns associated with long-term Apoquel use include:
- Weakened immune system: Apoquel can suppress the immune system, making your dog more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Monitoring your dog’s health and scheduling regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify any potential issues early on.
- Potential for increased cancer risk: Some studies have shown a possible link between Apoquel and an increased risk of cancer in dogs. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. Discuss the potential risks with your veterinarian and consider regular cancer screenings for your dog if they are on Apoquel long-term.
- Liver and kidney function: Although rare, long-term use of Apoquel may have an impact on your dog’s liver and kidney function. Your veterinarian may recommend periodic blood tests to monitor liver and kidney function and ensure your dog remains healthy.
Monitoring Your Dog’s Response to Apoquel
To ensure your dog is benefiting from Apoquel and not experiencing any adverse side effects, it’s essential to monitor their response to the medication. This may include:
- Observing your dog’s skin condition: Check for improvements in itching, redness, and inflammation, as well as any new skin issues that may arise.
- Watching for gastrointestinal issues: Vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite are common side effects of Apoquel. If your dog experiences these issues, consult your veterinarian for guidance.
- Monitoring energy levels: If your dog becomes lethargic or experiences significant changes in energy levels while on Apoquel, discuss these changes with your veterinarian.
Alternatives to Apoquel for Dogs with Skin Allergies
If your dog experiences side effects or does not respond well to Apoquel, there are alternative treatments to consider. Some options include:
- Cytopoint: As mentioned earlier, Cytopoint is another medication prescribed for dogs with skin allergies and atopic dermatitis. It targets specific enzymes responsible for inflammation and itchiness without suppressing the immune system.
- Allergy shots or immunotherapy: Allergy shots can help desensitize your dog to allergens and reduce their allergic reactions. This option may require a longer commitment but generally has fewer side effects compared to medications like Apoquel.
- Topical treatments: Medicated shampoos, creams, or sprays can help soothe and treat localized skin issues. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate topical treatment for your dog’s specific skin condition.
- Natural remedies: Some pet parents opt for natural remedies, such as supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids or topical treatments like coconut oil. It’s essential to discuss these options with your veterinarian to ensure they are safe and effective for your dog.
Tips for Managing Your Dog’s Skin Allergies
In addition to medications like Apoquel or Cytopoint, there are steps you can take to help manage your dog’s skin allergies:
- Regular grooming and bathing: Keeping your dog’s coat clean and well-groomed can help reduce allergen exposure and prevent skin infections.
- High-quality diet: Feeding your dog a well-balanced, high-quality diet can support their overall health and immune system, potentially reducing the severity of allergic reactions.
- Allergen avoidance: Identifying and minimizing your dog’s exposure to specific allergens can help decrease the severity of their allergic reactions.
- Environmental control: Regular cleaning of your dog’s living environment, including bedding and toys, can help reduce allergen exposure.
Can Apoquel be used with other medications?
Apoquel can be used in conjunction with other medications, but it’s important to inform your veterinarian about all medications, supplements, and over-the-counter products your dog is currently taking. Your veterinarian will evaluate any potential drug interactions and adjust your dog’s treatment plan accordingly to ensure their safety.
Can Apoquel be used in puppies?
Apoquel is approved for use in dogs aged 12 months and older. It is not recommended for puppies under 12 months of age, as its safety and efficacy in this age group have not been established. If your puppy is experiencing skin allergies or atopic dermatitis, consult your veterinarian to discuss appropriate treatment options.
How long does it take for Apoquel to start working?
Apoquel typically begins to relieve itching and inflammation within 4 hours of administration. Most dogs experience a significant reduction in itchiness within 24 hours. However, it’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding the duration of treatment, as individual responses to the medication may vary.
How should Apoquel be stored?
Apoquel should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Apoquel for my dog?
If you miss a dose of Apoquel, administer the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it’s close to the time for the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your dog’s regular dosing schedule. Do not give a double dose to make up for the missed dose. If you’re unsure about how to proceed, consult your veterinarian for guidance.
Can Apoquel be stopped suddenly, or should it be tapered off?
Apoquel can generally be stopped suddenly without causing withdrawal symptoms or adverse effects. However, stopping the medication may result in a return of your dog’s skin allergy symptoms. It’s important to discuss any changes to your dog’s treatment plan with your veterinarian, as they can provide guidance on the best course of action and recommend alternative treatment options if needed.
How often should I bring my dog to the vet while they’re on Apoquel?
It’s essential to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian while your dog is on Apoquel. Initially, your vet may recommend more frequent visits to monitor your dog’s response to the medication and adjust the dosage as needed. Once your dog’s condition has stabilized, your veterinarian will likely recommend routine check-ups to ensure the ongoing effectiveness and safety of the treatment.
Can Apoquel be used for cats?
Apoquel is not approved for use in cats, as its safety and efficacy have not been established for feline patients. If your cat is experiencing skin allergies or other skin issues, consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment options tailored to their needs.
Can my dog become resistant to Apoquel over time?
While it is possible for some dogs to experience a decreased response to Apoquel over time, this occurrence is relatively rare. If you notice that your dog’s symptoms have returned or worsened while on Apoquel, consult your veterinarian to determine if a change in treatment may be necessary.
Are there any breed-specific concerns when using Apoquel?
There are no known breed-specific concerns associated with the use of Apoquel. However, each dog is unique, and individual responses to the medication may vary. It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to ensure that Apoquel is the most suitable treatment option for your dog’s specific needs.
Can Apoquel cause behavioral changes in dogs?
Behavioral changes are not a common side effect of Apoquel. However, if you notice any significant changes in your dog’s behavior, such as increased aggression, anxiety, or lethargy, consult your veterinarian to determine if these changes may be related to the medication or another underlying issue.
How can I help my dog cope with the side effects of Apoquel?
If your dog experiences side effects while on Apoquel, it’s essential to communicate with your veterinarian. They can offer guidance on managing side effects, adjusting the dosage, or exploring alternative treatment options if necessary. Additionally, providing a comfortable, low-stress environment and ensuring your dog receives plenty of love and attention can help them cope with any potential side effects.
Can I give my dog over-the-counter antihistamines in addition to Apoquel?
Before giving your dog any over-the-counter medications or supplements, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian. Although some antihistamines are safe for dogs, combining them with Apoquel may not be recommended, as it could lead to potential drug interactions or increased side effects. Your veterinarian can advise you on the most appropriate course of treatment for your dog’s specific needs.