Blog by Dr. Andrew Cruikshank DVM, DACVECC, Veterinary Criticalist
As a veterinarian, I often see dogs and cats with symptoms of allergies. Allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to a particular substance, such as pollen, dust, scented detergents, or certain foods. These substances are known as allergens.
In dogs and cats, allergies can present in a variety of ways, including:
- Itchy skin, which can lead to scratching, biting, and licking
- Red, inflamed skin or rashes
- Ear infections or inflammation
- Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting or diarrhea
- Viral flare ups. (I’ve seen papilloma virus - oral warts)
Apoquel is a medication commonly used to treat allergies in dogs. It works by blocking the action of cytokines (hormones) that are involved in the body's allergic response, thus reducing itching and inflammation. It is a fast-acting medication and can start working within 4 hours of administration. However, it is important to note that Apoquel is not a cure for allergies and does not address the underlying cause of the allergic reaction.
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While Apoquel can be an effective treatment option for allergies in dogs, it is not without potential side effects. Some common side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
- Increased susceptibility to infection
It is important to discuss any concerns you have about potential side effects with your veterinarian before starting your pet on Apoquel.
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If you are looking for natural solutions to help manage your pet's allergies, there are several options to consider. Some of these include:
- Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your pet's diet, which can help reduce inflammation and improve skin and coat health.
- Using herbal remedies, such as Itchy Scratchy, calendula, or chamomile.
- Avoiding potential allergens, such as certain foods or environmental triggers.
- Keeping your pet's living space clean and free of allergens, such as dust or pollen.
- Foot soak with oatmeal, chamomile, and a drop of lavender. Leave paws in for ten minutes followed with lukewarm water to rinse off.
Ultimately, the best course of treatment for your pet's allergies will depend on the severity of their symptoms and the underlying cause of their allergic reaction. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best treatment options for your furry friend.
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