Hooray! Spring is here! But with the warm weather comes those dreaded spring time allergies! Our pets suffer from allergies just as we humans do, but unlike us, who sneeze and cough, our pets mostly itch. This is the excessive itching that wakes you up at night. The excessive feet licking that drives you..and the pet……crazy!
Since we have different reactions, this should tell you that the mechanism of allergy is DIFFERENT in humans vs pets. This is why for most pets, anti-histamines do not work very well. Pets normally have to receive some kind of steroid in order to stop that severe itch. And yes, here is a place that steroids DO do a nice job. However we all know that we do not want to keep giving steroids (aka, cortisone) constantly to our pets
Here at Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we will also add natural therapies such as fatty acids, Vitamin A, Zinc, and herbs to help with the allergies and to try to decrease our dependence on the steroids as best we can. Do not get me wrong, if a pet comes in scratching and chewing so badly that the skin is open and bleeding and infected, then yes, a shot of a short acting steroid helps relieve that itch almost right away. We need to help the pet as quickly as possible.
However there is a new therapy that is a “biologic” and not a chemical/drug, called Monoclonal Antibody. Cytopoint, an FDA approved therapy for dogs with allergy, actually targets the immune system, with canine antibodies to a pro-inflammatory compound called Interleukin 31. Allergy dogs have high levels of IL 31 and this is the biological compound in the pet’s body that stimulates the itch.
Cytopoint, “attaches” itself to IL 31 and neutralizes it! Thus IL 31 can not signal the body to itch! Wow! This is a huge breakthrough as it stops the itch where it actually starts, and not just cover up the itch symptoms.
Monoclonal antibody therapy is the new wave of “targeted biologicals”, that is, antibodies “target” the specific mechanism of pathology. There are huge implications for the treatment of many diseases this way, including cancer.
Injections are given once a month for 3 times, then on average, about every 2- 3 months depending on the pet and the allergy season. Typically within 24 hours the itch is significantly better. Sometimes we will also give an oral dose of Apoquel, which also targets itch cells for faster relief.
Because Cytopoint is NOT a drug, there are no drug interactions so most all dogs can receive this, even dogs with liver or kidney problems as it in not metabolized in those organs.
Give your dog the relief they need today, without relying on drugs! Now at Newkirk Family Veterinarians. Winner for 4 years in a row, Best of the Press, for BEST Veterinary Hospital.