Hi Folks,

My vet has just put Mishka on Apoquel, which came on the market last week.  She is very excited - the owners of dogs in her practice who have been on it for a couple days are already calling to say that the dogs have Just Stopped Itching.  

It sounds like it has been thoroughly tested, and there have been dogs on it continuously for 4 and 5 years.  It can be given for short duration or ongoing, and has less serious side effects  than steroids.  More effective than Atopica and less expensive....though more expensive than steroids.  Then again, everything is more expensive than steroids.  Also, doesn't interfere with a lot of other drugs.  So by all accounts, it sounds like this stuff works and is also (relatively) safe.

Anyone else with a dog on this yet?

Here's the official website:  https://online.zoetis.com/US/EN/Products/Pages/Apoquel/index.aspx#s...

I will chime back in with how Mishka does on the drug (and how my bosses' dog does on it - her allergies are as bad as Mishka's, but she also gets raging secondary ear and skin infections - usually resistant staph - which Mishka doesn't get).

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Our Rep from Zoetis just stopped in at the clinic to talk about Apoquel just last week, we only have 1 dog on it so far so its great to hear someone say its working for them. Please post how Mishka does on it if you intend to keep her on it long term.

I was considering using this drug this summer on my corgi Jaffa for his allergies. He's mostly got seasonal allergies with only a few food allergies (so far anyways, he's still young) but he gets so darn itchy and red in the summer. He has to stay on an antihistamine to keep his skin clear of infections.

So far so good.  Mishka is now on Day 4, but I started noticing differences by lunchtime on Day 1 (mostly that he didn't start chewing the minute my back was turned, and he stopped sneaking into the next room to chew).  No side effects so far.  The irritated areas around crusty spots on his feet are no longer red, and the crusty spots themselves are drying up and falling off.  No waking me up in the middle of the night trying to get around his cone to chew.  

It's like someone flipped a switch - truly.  He hasn't worn a cone in 3+ days, so he's started spontaneously playing with toys again, asking me to play with him, sharing snooze space with my bosses' dog, etc.

My bosses' dog (mini labradoodle) is still in a cone due to a skin infection, so we'll see what she's like when that clears up.  Cytology confirmed she's on the right antibiotic, so hopefully that will be soon.  She's a little more subdued, but it's hard to tell if that's a side effect or if it's just because she's less frantic about the itching.  But so far no vomiting or diarrhea, change in appetite, etc. for either of them.  My bosses' dog tends to be sensitive to medication and often gets side effects; Mishka does not.

For now we are on the 10-day series of 2x day, and then we will move him to 1x day to see if that is as effective.  If everything settles down we might try taking him off after that and going back to clemastine and seeing what happens.  Allergy shots did appear to give him some relief Jan-June after the first year (we're starting year 3 of those), so it's possible he may be fine again after this flare-up.  

My vet's (relatively small) practice is in Palo Alto and about half the dogs in her practice have some kind of allergy, and most of them have gotten referrals to the derm specialist in the area.  Both Mishka and my bosses' dog have done the food trials and the skin test, the trial runs of every antihistamine under the sun, allergy serum shots, etc.  

More when we go to 1x day.....

Thanks for updating your experience with this new medication! My Corgi has the itchies too and it is frustrating for sure.

Any particular reason you would stop this and go back to your clemastine (Benedryl?). Awaiting further updates!!

The main reason I would stop this and go back to antihistamines (Benadryl did nothing for him; the most effective one was Tavist (clemastine fumarate)) would be because he had 3 itch-free months last year (Jan-March) and generally I'm not big on giving meds if they really aren't needed.  Then again, it doesn't look like we're going to get last year's weather, so I'm not expecting to.  But it might be worth a check.  

On a side note, I'm curious about what the vets (reg and derm) are going to decide about his food situation.  He has been on prescription hypoallergenic food (the kind where all the proteins are hydrolyzed) for almost 2 years, but we never determined whether or not he has food allergies.  Since he has environmental allergies (which you can do a skin test for), putting him on special food indicated that his continuing itchiness was not JUST food-related, but it didn't prove that is itchiness IS food-related.  

He's mostly doing well on the food (still has a gorgeous coat everywhere but his paws and around his mouth, health is otherwise great).  I say mostly because this food can cause loose stool in some dogs, and Mishka is one of them.  Something about the hydrolyzed proteins causing the gut to call in more water than usual - when the loose stool persisted after a month on the food and he was negative for parasites, my vet called the vets at Hills (food is Hills Z/D), who said, "oh, this happens with some dogs - give him some psyllium husk powder and water with his food and it should help".  And presto - no more runs.  But his stool is still not "normal" - it's kind of soft and stretchy (I know, TMI).  

So if the food is making his gut act weird, maybe it would be better to get him back on less-processed food if possible?  He did great on regular food before (and firm stools do help keep anal sacs clear, which means fewer fish-butt episodes at inopportune times).  But if a dog is allergic to something in his food, does it have other bad health effects besides itchiness?  

(Incidentally, Day 6 here and all is still well.)

Becca, how is Mishka doing with the Apoquel? No noticeable increase in water or food intake? No extra peeing like with steroids?

He's still doing great!  No increase in water or food intake, and no extra peeing.  He's a little peppier than usual - maybe because he isn't on antihistamines?  

Day 16 here.  We completed the 10-day series of 2 pills/day and are now on the 1 pill/day test run.  He still hasn't worn a cone since starting Apoquel.  

I have, in the last couple days, noticed slightly licked feet a couple times, but not like before, where if left without a cone for 2 minutes all four feet would be slobbery and the skin underneath red (and sometimes bloody).  I can't tell if the fur is growing back in some of the bald spots on the outside toes yet.

Beca,

I am very interested in finding out how Mishka is doing now that it is over a month since he has been on Apoquel.  My dog has been on it for about 5 weeks.  It seems to wear out by the 15th hour.  Hope to hear back

Rebecca

Yep - it's a short-acting drug for us as well.  Seems to last a little longer with Mishka - more like 18 hours.  So, I give it to him with breakfast and my vet has me give him antihistamines with dinner.  So, he's not-itchy during his waking hours, and asleep when it wears off.

The longer version of the story since February is that after about a week of being on once-a-day, he got really itchy, and was scratching his neck in addition to licking his feet, even during the hours when the Apoquel should have been in effect.  When I looked, I saw what I thought were flea bites - some fresh and some healing/peeling.  Asked the vet, who inspected him and said, "These aren't flea bites - it's pyoderma.  Antibiotics for you!"  The itching died down after a couple days on the antibiotics, and his skin cleared up.  He's been pretty stable since then.  

Without the antihistamines, he wakes me up a couple times in the wee hours (sleeps on my bed - easier to monitor him that way).  With the antihistamines he just stays asleep.  He's on Tavist (clemastine fumarate) because Benadryl never worked for him.  Mishka's maximum per-day dose (from the allergist) was 2.68mg twice a day, so I've been giving him one dose of 2.68mg with dinner only.  He's generally between 28-30 lbs.

At this point, I put a cone on him if I go to the gym before he gets breakfast, or if I have to be gone more than 3-4 hours late in the day.

-Beca

I too put Jake on the bed at night so I can hear/feel him scratching.  I put shoes on his back feet so he does not rip himself when scratching.  What I have found to help ease the itching is part apple cider vinegar and part water.  I spray it on him a couple times a day.  When I give him a bath, I rince him with apple cider vinegar and water.  I have tried Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin and now this past Friday my vet put him on Atarax.  He just went on it so I am to give him a couple of weeks to see if this will help.  I too use the cone when I will be gone for awhile.  

I am going to try another remedy that I found at a holistic site.  It is 1 part Original listerine 1part baby oil and 1 part water.  You mix it in a spray bottle and apply to area.  I have tried so many things that one of these days I will find the answer!  Let me know how it goes and thank you for posting because it really helps others to find out what works and what doesn't work

His coming down with Pyoderma was not a side effect of the Apoquel right?  When I went in to see the vet for his 1 month check up on Apoquel, I told her that it wears off after the 15th hour.  She checked to see about if going back to 2X a day is an option. she read what can happen possibly and so she immediately said no Jake could not go back on 2X a day because of some side effects.  I found this in article on Apoquel and side effects:

APOQUEL may increase the susceptibility to infection and demodicosis and may exacerbate neoplastic conditions. The study can be accessed online 

Just wondering if this could be the case for mishka

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