Cytopoint Dosing in Dogs

Cytopoint is a canine-specific, FDA-approved treatment for chronic itch and atopic dermatitis in dogs. It’s a monoclonal antibody (lokivetmab) that works by neutralizing the main cytokine, interleukin-31 (IL-31), which is responsible for triggering itch in dogs.

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The Cytopoint Dosing Chart

The correct dosage of Cytopoint is determined by your dog’s weight. It is administered through a subcutaneous injection at a minimum dose of 2 mg per kilogram of your dog’s weight (0.9 mg per pound).

The product is available in four concentration levels: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, and 40 mg, provided in single-use 1-mL vials. Depending on the weight of your dog, the dosage chart will indicate the necessary amount to draw from each vial.

Dog’s weight (lbs) Cytopoint dosage (mg)
less than 5 lbs 5 mg
5 to 10 lbs 10 mg
11 to 20 lbs 20 mg
21 to 30 lbs 30 mg
31 to 40 lbs 40 mg
41 to 50 lbs 50 mg
51 to 60 lbs 60 mg
61 to 70 lbs 70 mg
71 to 80 lbs 80 mg
81 to 90 lbs 90 mg
91 to 100 lbs 100 mg
101 to 110 lbs 110 mg
111 to 120 lbs 120 mg
121 to 130 lbs 130 mg
131 to 140 lbs 140 mg
141 to 150 lbs 150 mg
151 to 160 lbs 160 mg
161 to 170 lbs 170 mg
171 to 180 lbs 180 mg
181 to 190 lbs 190 mg

How Cytopoint Works

Upon administration, Cytopoint targets and neutralizes the interleukin-31 (IL-31) protein. IL-31 is produced by the immune system and is one of the main instigators of itchiness in dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis. By neutralizing this protein, Cytopoint effectively reduces the itching sensation, offering your pet relief and helping prevent skin lesions caused by excessive scratching.

Duration and Frequency of Cytopoint Injections

The therapeutic effect of Cytopoint can last between 4 and 8 weeks, offering considerable relief for your pet. This makes it a convenient choice for pet owners, as it eliminates the need for daily medication administration. The specific frequency of injections will depend on your pet’s unique response to the treatment. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend more or less frequent injections based on how your dog’s symptoms and condition evolve over time.

Safety and Storage of Cytopoint

Because Cytopoint is a canine-specific treatment, it’s typically well-tolerated with minimal side effects. The medication does not contain any preservatives, meaning that each vial is for single use only. It’s critical not to split vials between different pets to maintain the sterility and effectiveness of the medication.

For optimal preservation, Cytopoint should be stored upright in the original packaging at temperatures between 2-8 °C (36-47 °F). It should not be exposed to freezing conditions, higher temperatures, or direct sunlight, as these factors could reduce its potency and effectiveness.

Small Dogs and Cytopoint

For dogs weighing less than 3 kg, determining the accurate dosage might be challenging due to the precision required. However, Cytopoint can still be a viable treatment option for small breeds. Your veterinarian will have the necessary expertise to adjust the dosage appropriately for these smaller patients.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cytopoint Dosing

1. What happens if my dog misses a dose of Cytopoint?

If your dog misses a dose, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian for guidance. However, since Cytopoint is a long-lasting injection that usually lasts 4-8 weeks, missing an exact date for the next dose may not pose a significant risk. Still, it’s crucial to maintain the schedule provided by your vet for optimal results.

2. Are there any side effects associated with Cytopoint?

Cytopoint is generally well-tolerated by dogs with minimal reported side effects. However, as with any medication, side effects may occur. These could include temporary reactions at the injection site, such as swelling or redness, or rare systemic reactions such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Always report any unusual behavior or symptoms to your veterinarian promptly.

3. Can Cytopoint be used in combination with other medications?

Yes, Cytopoint can be used concurrently with other common therapies for allergic dermatitis, such as corticosteroids, antihistamines, or antibiotics for secondary skin infections. It can also be used alongside Apoquel, another popular anti-itch medication. However, your vet should always be informed of any other medications your dog is taking.

4. Is Cytopoint safe for puppies?

Cytopoint is approved for use in dogs of any age. However, as younger dogs and puppies might have different reactions to medications than adults, it’s important to consult your vet before starting a new treatment.

5. How will I know if Cytopoint is working?

You should notice a decrease in your dog’s itching and scratching behaviors within a few days of receiving a Cytopoint injection. Improvement in skin lesions and overall comfort should also be evident. Your vet may also monitor your dog’s progress through regular follow-up appointments.

6. Does my dog need to stay at the vet clinic after a Cytopoint injection?

No, usually Cytopoint injections can be administered during a regular vet visit, and your dog can go home immediately after the injection. However, your vet might suggest monitoring your dog for a short period after the first injection to ensure there are no immediate adverse reactions.

7. Can Cytopoint cure my dog’s allergies?

Cytopoint does not cure allergies; instead, it controls the itchiness and discomfort associated with allergies. It works by neutralizing a specific cytokine involved in the itch cycle, which helps to alleviate your dog’s symptoms, but it doesn’t address the underlying allergy. Your vet can guide you on comprehensive management strategies for your dog’s allergies, which may involve allergen avoidance, dietary modifications, and other treatments.

8. Is Cytopoint safe for pregnant or lactating dogs?

The safety of Cytopoint in pregnant, lactating, or breeding dogs has not been evaluated. If your dog falls into one of these categories, it’s important to discuss this with your vet before starting or continuing treatment with Cytopoint.

9. Does Cytopoint have a withdrawal period if my dog has a scheduled surgery?

Cytopoint does not have a specified withdrawal period. However, if your dog is scheduled for surgery, it’s crucial to discuss this with your vet. They may decide to temporarily postpone the next Cytopoint injection, especially if corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs are planned for use during or after the surgery.

10. Is Cytopoint a steroid?

No, Cytopoint is not a steroid. It’s a caninized monoclonal antibody that specifically targets and neutralizes the cytokine (a protein that sends signals between cells) called IL-31, which plays a key role in sending the ‘itch’ signal to your dog’s brain.

11. Will my dog need to take Cytopoint forever?

The duration of Cytopoint use depends on your dog’s individual needs and how well they respond to the treatment. Some dogs may require long-term or even life-long treatment, particularly if they have chronic atopic dermatitis or other persistent causes of itchiness. Your vet can provide the best advice based on your pet’s specific situation.

12. Can I bathe my dog after a Cytopoint injection?

Yes, bathing your dog after a Cytopoint injection should not affect the efficacy of the medication. However, it’s recommended to wait for at least a few hours after the injection to avoid irritation at the injection site.

13. What should I do if I observe any adverse reactions to Cytopoint?

If you notice any adverse reactions in your dog following a Cytopoint injection, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or signs of discomfort at the injection site, you should contact your vet immediately. Although severe side effects are rare, it’s essential to ensure your dog receives appropriate care if they occur.

14. Is Cytopoint more effective than other allergy medications?

Cytopoint is not necessarily more effective than other allergy medications, but it functions differently. Its advantage is the targeted action against the itch signal and the duration of effect, which can last for several weeks. However, every dog responds to medication differently, and some dogs might respond better to other treatments. Your vet can help you determine the most effective treatment plan for your dog.

15. What should I do if I accidentally overdose my dog with Cytopoint?

Overdosing Cytopoint is highly unlikely as it is administered by a veterinarian and not given at home. However, in case an error occurs and your dog receives a higher than recommended dose, contact your veterinarian immediately. While Cytopoint has a good safety profile, an overdose may result in side effects.

16. Can Cytopoint be administered at home?

Cytopoint is an injectable medication that should only be administered by a licensed veterinarian or under the direct supervision of a vet. It is not suitable for home administration by pet owners due to the need for proper dosage determination, injection technique, and monitoring for potential side effects.

17. Can Cytopoint be used for cats?

Currently, Cytopoint is only licensed for use in dogs. Although some vets may use it off-label for cats, this should only be done with professional veterinary guidance. Always consult with your vet before using any new medication or changing your pet’s treatment plan.

18. How should I store unused Cytopoint vials?

Unused vials of Cytopoint should be stored upright in the original packaging at a temperature of 2-8 °C (36-47 °F). Do not freeze the medication, and avoid prolonged exposure to higher temperatures and direct sunlight, which could adversely affect potency. Remember, once a vial is punctured, it should not be stored for future use.

19. How quickly does Cytopoint start working?

In most cases, the anti-itch effect of Cytopoint can be seen within 24 hours after the injection, with a significant reduction in itching typically noted within 1-7 days. However, the exact onset of action can vary depending on individual dog factors and the severity of the itch.

20. What do I do if my dog doesn’t seem to respond to Cytopoint?

If your dog doesn’t appear to respond to Cytopoint or if the itching returns before the expected duration of effect, discuss this with your vet. They may consider revising the treatment plan, investigating other potential causes of itch, or trying a different medication.

21. Can Cytopoint be used alongside other medications?

Yes, Cytopoint is often used as part of a multimodal approach to managing allergic skin disease in dogs and can be used in combination with other medications. However, it’s always essential to discuss your pet’s full medication regimen with your vet, as certain drugs may have interactions that need to be considered.

22. Does Cytopoint help with skin infections?

Cytopoint is primarily designed to manage itching associated with atopic dermatitis. While it doesn’t directly combat skin infections, by reducing the itch and thereby decreasing the scratching, it can help to prevent secondary skin infections which often occur due to excessive scratching of irritated skin.

23. Can Cytopoint cure my dog’s allergies?

Cytopoint does not cure allergies. It is a symptomatic treatment that specifically targets and neutralizes canine Interleukin-31 (IL-31), a key protein involved in triggering itch in dogs. By reducing the itch, it helps to break the itch-scratch cycle and provides your dog relief. However, it does not address the underlying cause of the allergies.

24. Can I give my dog allergy medication with Cytopoint?

Yes, you can give your dog allergy medication with Cytopoint, but this should always be under the direction of a veterinarian. Since different medications can have different interactions and side effects, it’s important to consult with your vet about the safest and most effective combination for your dog.

25. What is the maximum duration of effect for Cytopoint?

The duration of effect for Cytopoint can last up to 4 to 8 weeks, depending on your dog’s individual response to the medication. Some dogs may experience relief for a shorter period, while others may have lasting effects for the full 8 weeks. Your vet can guide you on when to schedule the next injection based on your dog’s response.

26. Can Cytopoint be used for other skin conditions apart from atopic dermatitis?

Cytopoint is primarily indicated for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. However, because it acts by inhibiting IL-31, a key mediator of itch, it may provide relief from itching related to other conditions as well. Always consult with your vet for the appropriate use of Cytopoint.

27. Can Cytopoint cause weight gain in my dog?

There is no evidence to suggest that Cytopoint causes weight gain in dogs. If you notice a significant change in your dog’s weight while on Cytopoint, it’s crucial to discuss this with your vet to rule out other potential causes.

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