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has anybody heard of or used apoquel for their dogs?

(8 Posts)
planeymcplaneface Fri 20-May-16 22:41:22

I adopted my lab x staffy nacho from dogs trust in june 2012 and the night before i was to get him they told me he had problematic skin and did i still want him (no mention of it at the initial checks) and of course i wasnt going to say no...
Anyway fast forward nearly 4yrs and so many vets appts and courses of steroids that started the day i got him, ear drops and cleaners to having an operation on his ear as he was scratching so bad he burst the blood vessels in his ear and had to have it fixed. Nobody from dogs trust to the vet seems to be able to pinpoint what it is that is causing his itchy skin.
At his last check up i got told about apoquel being a new drug to help skin itchiness and did i want to consider it? I said yes and since its new pdsa doesnt cover it so i pay it myself and he started it yesterday and today has been the first day in months and months he hasnt scratched like crazy at his ears in the morning! I hope its going to help him not to be so itchy and irritated now

Titsywoo Fri 20-May-16 22:59:28

We used it for our bulldog for 20 days recently. It worked very well. She was scratching herself raw beforehand and stopped immediately. When she came off she scratched a couple of times and we were worried that she might have to go on it long term but she hasn't done it since and that was the end of March I think. I think there are some risks if used long term and of course it is expensive so I hope a short course works for him smile

TheDogsCat Sat 21-May-16 01:23:44

I've heard of apoquel as it became available locally just after I put my dog on Atopica for atopic dermatitis. It's cheaper than Atopica, but I decided not to bother trying it yet (thankfully the insurance is happy to pay the £400 a month). When the insurance excess goes to high, I'll probably switch.

Has your dog been tested for allergies? I went through the whole elimination diet with mine prior to allergy testing (blood tests and skin biopsy), and the result is that most of his allergies are managed by managing his environment and diet. Atopic dermatitis is common in staffies.

My main concern with using apoquel in my own dog was that it is simply masking symptoms. Unfortunately in my dog itching was merely the obvious symptom, as he has also had other issues over the years (ear and eye infections from irritation, aural hematomas). Apoquel would not have helped reduce the occurrences of them. Then again, if Atopica becomes unaffordable for me then it's apoquel.

Hopefully you can use apoquel to break the cycle of itching and then things will improve. Prior to treatment my dog would bite and scratch at the itch until it became infected then bite and scratch at the infection. Itching got to be more out of habit than anything else I think.sad Most of the time ime if the dog can be persuaded to stop itching things improve dramatically. My dog would however prefer to keep scratching until he chews off the itching limb completely.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 21-May-16 08:35:55

Apoquel is one of the range of drugs used to reduce itchiness in dogs with allergies. All of these drugs including steriods, cyclosporine ( of which atopica is one brand) and Apoquel down regulate the activity of the immune system.
Steriods are the cheapest, but the bluntest instrument and can have other widespread effects on the body.
Cyclosporine down regulates a variety of cytokines ( messagers) in the immune system, it is fairly expensive, some dogs vomit with it and it does make some dogs more prone to infections.
Apoquel acts on a single receptor blocking the release of interleukin 31 which gives the message to scratch, so it is the most specifically targeted of all the drugs used. It is medium priced compared to the others. It is wonderfully effective in some dogs, but less effective in others.
Apoquel had been around for four years now, however, the drug company underestimated how popular it would be initially and so after 6 months it was put on restricted supply where it remained till this time last year. My practice was lucky enough to have supply through out this time.
We have used it on a wide variety of dogs combined with cyclosporine, anti-histamines and immunotherapy.
I do think all of these drugs are a horses for courses situation and there is no one magic combination that is right for every dog.

planeymcplaneface Sat 21-May-16 08:41:59

He hasnt been tested for allergies as i cant afford the cost of it at the moment. He has had one aurul haematoma and i really hope he doesnt have another one as it was horriblesad

Noofly Sat 21-May-16 21:28:21

My dog has been on it for nearly a year. It's not 100% effective but it does make his pollen/grass allergies manageable- much better than the incessant scratching and biting!

mommybunny Sun 22-May-16 19:51:26

My German Shepherd has some sort of undefined allergy (DH spent hundreds of pounds a couple of years ago on allergy tests that told us nothing) and he scratches and licks horribly. We've had him on and off apoquel for just over a year now and he's definitely better when he's on the apoquel - we ran out a couple of days ago (you can imagine how much it costs for a German Shepherd!) and our dog has since licked himself a hotspot about 3cm in diameter - he's bleeding all over the carpets. We can't let him out of our sight.

DH is reluctant to keep him on it, and not just for the expense (he's as tight as can be but no expense is too great for his cherished companion!). He's worried that it will suppress GS's immune system. He had a GS years ago who was on steroids and DH is convinced this opened him up to the mange that killed him. Is this a valid concern with apoquel?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 22-May-16 20:03:36

Apoquel is much more targeted than steroids. There are dogs who were involved in clinical trails who have been on it for 6-7years now and there have been no significant concerns.

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