As our pets are a key part of our family we feel for them when they are sick. The effects of seasonal allergies can be heartbreaking. Our once fun loving, energetic four legged friends are reduced to biting and gnawing at their legs and paws. Rubbing the fur off, leaving raw and bleeding skin.
What can we do. Well for me the scratching and itching didn’t happen until my dog turned 6 years old and didn’t flair up until the end of summer and through the fall. Couldn’t wait until the first frost and snow.
Going to the vet was a common course of events for my dog and he was given the common course of treatment which was to receive a cortisone shot and a series of cortisone pills called vanectyl-P (Prednisone More). Though this was effective for some time, the side effects were somewhat disconcerting. There was lethargy, thirst and diarrhea. Every season it was a race to the vet to receive more pink pills.
A different approach to dealing with the itching by stopping the itch response. The drug Apoquel is helps control pruritus (itching) associated with allergic dermatitis and control of atopic dermatitis. Apoquel (https://www.apoqueldogs.com/) stops the itch cycle caused by flea allergies, environmental indoor and outdoor allergens (such as pollen, dust mites, or mold), food allergies, or contact allergies (such as carpet, deodorant, shampoo, insecticidal products). A bonus is the size of the pill is small and easier to administer than some other medications. Dosage will vary on size of dog.
Please note: Apoquel may reduce the immune system, which may effect your dogs ability to heal or fend off disease.
I was also introduced to cyclosporine. It is available from your vet and you can get it through a pharmacy as a prescription or you can get it from your veterinarian as the brand name Atopica More.
What a difference this drug made. As for my dog, he needed to start taking it everyday for a month, then once every second day for another month and then once every third day as maintenance. I would also give an allergy medication, in my case it was a low dose of Reactine (cetirizine).
However I have found that it’s best to give every Reactine every day during high allergy season. In my dog’s case it was August and September. Furthermore, during the winter and spring he would receive neither cyclosporine nor Reactin as it wasn’t necessary.
But further to medication, I used to use some physical barriers to prevent my dog from gnawing himself. I would buy some dog shirts or even buy babies long sleeve shirts. I bought some babies socks and cut off the toes and made of cuff which was sewed. These would be put on his back legs to stop him from biting his legs. Further he would wear a cone around his neck to keep him from further biting himself.
Furthermore, I would give him frequent baths with an Oatmeal & Aloe dog shampoo.
Whether your experience may be similar or not, we all care for our pets and will do anything to endure they are healthy and happy.
All said I am not a veterinarian nor a medical provider, just a pet owner discussing what I have found effective for my pet. So it’s important to discuss your pet issue with your own veterinarian before using any medications. Remember any medications have side effects and risks and you should discuss these with your pet care provider as well.