Atopica for Dog Allergies. Benefits and Drawbacks.

Atopica for Dog Allergy TreatmentsAtopica for Dogs is an oral pill which is becoming a popular alternative to dog allergy steroid treatments.  Many veterinarians and dog owners are turning to Atopica to treat their dog’s allergy symptoms.  As stated on Novartis’ Atopica website, it “can be used for long-term control of the allergic response in a dog’s skin.”

Atopica (cyclosporine) is a canine atopic dermatitis treatment drug manufactured by Novartis, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2003.  It is designed to blocks the release of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines and histamines.  The Atopica website states that “This oral treatment has been proven through extensive clinical trials to be effective and well tolerated in reducing the pruritus and skin lesions associated with atopic dermatitis.”

As with any medication, there are potential side effects.  According to the Atopica product insert, the following side effects were reporting during clinical testing of this drug:  Vomiting and diarrhea were the most common adverse reactions occurring during the study. In most cases, signs spontaneously resolved with continued dosing. In other cases, temporary dose modifications (brief interruption in dosing, divided dosing, or administration with a small amount of food) were employed to resolve signs.

Persistent otitis externa, urinary tract infections, anorexia, gingival hyperplasia, lymphadenopathy and lethargy were the next most frequent adverse events observed.”

It’s recommended that you do your research and talk to your veterinarian about any potential side effects prior to starting your dog on a long-term drug like Atopic.

Atopica Benefits:

  • Designed more for long-term usage than steroids.
  • If your dog has a positive experience, they can often be tapered down from a daily to a weekly treatment.
  • If effective, could minimize your visits to your veterinarian.

Atopica Drawbacks:

  • Can be costly.  Atopica costs anywhere from $50-$200 per month.
  • Common side effects include vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Not all dogs will have a positive experience on the drug.

95 thoughts on “Atopica for Dog Allergies. Benefits and Drawbacks.

  1. I’m also interested to know if it helps with furunculosis!
    My 9 year old female Shiba Inu rescue suffers from repeated inflammation between her toes.

  2. I have used Atopica on my Ivory lab. It does work great but the side effects can be harsh. She had an unknown reaction causing ulcers in her mouth. It was very painful and the drool wouldn’t stop. I really wish there was alternative but we so far are unable to find anything else that works. It cost us $130 for 15 days. She is only 2 and my baby, what else could we do.

    • Hi Jenny – sorry for the delay! Have you considered getting your lab allergy tested? This ended up being the only solution that worked for our boxer Elsie. Atopica worked for a while, but she developed lesions on her stomach so we took her off. The allergy tests and the allergy shots were what finally worked. You can read more at dog allergy testing and allergy shots

  3. My daschaund has been on it for 3 weeks now. She did well until a few days ago. It started causing lethargy in her, so we took her off.

    • My dachshund has had itchy skin since we adopted him. I did allergy tests and most allergies were outside grasses but, also dust mites, etc. Apoquel didn’t help. Last year when he was 9 years old he developed a horrible looking skin condition on his chest and around his eyes. It looked like “elephantiasis”. It took me awhile to get him an appointment to see a specialist but, after strong shots to get rid of the infection he put him on Atopica and it has been awesome. He is 17 pounds and gets a .25mg dose every morning, with a little sliced turkey wrapped around it. His fur has never been as thick as it is now. I also give him a bath every week with Malaseb shampoo. That combo has made him the happiest dog ever! I didn’t find lethargy – actually seems the opposite. He has more energy and a bigger appetite than ever. Now that it is the dead of Winter, he looks great and I think I’ll take him off it for awhile.

  4. My Aussie .. The Rox… rescue came from the shelter with severe allergies. She scratched bald spots and chewed the pads off her feet. After diet modification, topicals and allergy Meds, we started on Atopica. For the first few weeks she was lethargic and vomited. I was not sure I could watch her stay the course. We adjusted her feeding schedule to three times daily and maintained the program. Now one year later she takes a dose every four days and is perfect. No chewing, no scratching… We worry about long term effects, but she is so healthy that the vet says… Stay the program. After this springs allergy season, we are going to try going to a lower dose, but for one the medication has been amazing.

  5. My moms 12 year old lassa had a bad reaction a few hours after her first pill. Her hind legs became very wobbly and she did not have any strath in them to walk. 24 hours later is doing a little better. Has anyone else had this side effect?

    • I have a 7 year old wirehaire fox terrier. He had been on apoquel for almost a year, but with the shortage in the drug he has been off of it for just a week and is a mess with scratching and biting. We probably can’t get the Apoquel until April, if we are lucky. We decided to try Atopica until then. Last night was the first pill and my dog had the same reaction that your moms dog it. What did your mom end up doing about the Atopica?

  6. I am trtying this product for my 10 year old Doxie. She has had a smelly abnoxious smellimg sking for years! She has skin yeast and scratches all the time. She had an allergy test, found out she was allergic to fleas and cats, that has been a joke around the dinner table! I have tried many diferent options, and they have been a moment of peace, then we have given her Benadry, its a temporary fix. I read an article that said to use vinegar and water as a “rinse”, half water, half white vinegar, then I do a quick rinse. That has helped a lot!!! I bathe her every 2-3 weeks, before it was weekly. I just read up on “Atopica” and like any med, there are side effects. I am willing to try this product but will keep a vigilant eye on her health and have occasional blood tests.

    • Vicky, thanks for sharing your experiences with Doxie. I recently read an article about how vinegar and water can help with dog allergies. That’s excellent to hear that it is helping your pup. Please continue to share your experiences. Kathy

  7. my staffie cross has been on atopica for almost 3 years and had no issues with any side affects. It’s not cheap as she has to have tablets every other day, but is better than filling her body with steroids and getting infected skin due to her grass/pollen allergies. we also cover her in sudocrem cream if we take her to the park, then wash her down when we get back as her allergy is severe and even the atopica doesn’t work if she actually lies on grass.

    • That’s wonderful to hear that you’ve had such good results with Atopica. I’m sure it’s been a great relief to have found something that works for your pup.

  8. My 10 year old golden retriever was recently prescribed Atopica. He has food and environmental allergies. I have an almost impossible time getting the pills down him. Should I miss it in with a desirable food? Is it safe to open the capsule and mix into food? Thanks!

    • Hi Debra. Have you tried including the pills in soft food? We also used to push the pills towards the back of our pups mouth, gently close her mouth and then gently pet her neck to encourage swallowing. It seemed to work for us. Good luck!

  9. Our 12 year old Golden has had recurrent bouts of reactive histiocytosis over the past six or seven years. Up until this year, treatment with doxycycline was effective and (up until a year or so ago) inexpensive. This time he had the worst outbreak he has ever had. The doxy was ineffective, and in fact the lesions got to an alarming size rather quickly. His dermatologist prescribed Atopica and it has been like a miracle drug for him. Within five days the bumps were almost completely gone. He is still on it and will be rechecked by his dermatologist in a couple of weeks to determine the best course to take from here.

    He never had a digestive problem when taking them, even right at the beginning. Our vet had suggested freezing the meds and giving the dose while it was still frozen. They found they had less side effects that way. We put the pills in soft pill pockets and they get gulped right down. As far as lethargy goes, Gus seems to have even more energy than he did prior to starting Atopica.

    All in all, we are completely and happily satisfied with the results.

    • So happy to read your story. Our 8 year old golden doodle was recently diagnosed with histiocytosis. Steroids are not working for her and we were just prescribed this drug. Hope it works as well for our Penny as it did your dog!!

  10. I rescued my sharpei pup when he was just weeks and a few months later he developed allergies.right now his back legs are balled and he wears a cone because he scratches his face pretty bad.
    I’ve been giving him atopica for two months,the first month I gave him a capsule everyday and now he gets one every other day.Haven’t seen a lot of convincing results sadly.should I continue the atopica?how long does it take for effective results?the only side effect he had was a little gingival hyperplasia at the top of his mouth.

    • Hi Damian. I recall it taking a couple of months before the Atopica produced results. Unfortunately, for our dog it also caused lesions, so we chose to stop. Have you consulted with a veterinary dermatologist?

  11. I have been giving my miniature Aussie Cody Atopica for several weeks and have experienced very good results. The previous medication prescribed was the steroid Prednisone, although it seemed to be working, the side effects we troublesome….significant increase in appetite, significant increase in thirst, significant loss of hair as well as loss of energy and endurance.

    Once I took my dog off the Prednisone and started him on Atopica the steroid side effects disappeared. To date there seem to be no external or outward side effects from this drug. However, after doing some research I found that Atopica is quite harsh and strong acting in its ability to shut down immune system. This drug appears to have some severe internal side effects…it can cause problems with the liver, it increases the incidence of cancer and as well as other diseases due to the greatly inhibited immune system. After doing this research I am surprised I was not informed of these potential side effects by the prescribing veterinarian. At this point I am somewhat confused and not sure I want to continue the use of this drug long term. I see where some of you have reduced the dosage down to every other day to once every 3 to 4 days. The current dosage for my dog is 50 mg daily (my dog weighs 19 lbs. & is 3 yrs old) and the vet never discussed a long term plan of reducing the dosage like she did with the Prednisone. Can anyone shed some light on these issues?


    Kim I

    • Hi Kim. My dog recently was diagnosed with Erythema Multiforme. She was doing better after being prescribed Prednisone and Zeniquin but the dermatologist wants to slowly taper off of the steroids and has dermatologist prescribed Atopica. My dog has been on Atopica for over a week now but like you, I have read the side effects of this drug don’t sound better, if not worse, than with Prednisone. Actually the warnings sound quite alarming. I realize the autoimmune disease my dog has is serious but I’m very concerned about how Atopica will effect her future health.

  12. My dog has been getting allergy shots since Sept. with no improvement, with the allergy season in full bloom, she is still getting the shots and now has a skin infection. I’m feel like I’m giving her a double wammie, she has had no relief for over a year. I am getting discourage, is there any light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Jane – I’m sorry to hear this. They do say that the shots don’t work for some dogs. Did they give your pup a full skin test to determine what she is allergic to? What does your vet say?

  13. My 3.5 year old choc lab has been on atopica nearly his whole life due to servere food and environmental allergies. His skin is pretty good with only occasional mild flare ups, however just recently he has become very lethargic. Vets say there is nothing wrong with him other than this and is healthy otherwise. Is it possible for the atopica to suddenly give him this side effect after no adverse affect before? I’m worried as he has never been like this before and can’t seem to find a reason.

  14. Also about my Maltese, she tested positive for allergy on: sweet potato, egg, pork (main ingredient in ID foods), flax, barley. If I give her any chicken she breaks out, also with beef, rabbit. Tests are not accurate, this one done by SPECTRUM.
    the test used a 100 level as positive marker. I went back and check foods 90 and over and that was:Milk, Corn, Barley (99), Kep (99), Alfalfa (97). I have tried
    all major brands of wet and dry, now on LID Natural Balance. So if not foods, and 6 ground weeds, what else? I have to rinse/bathe her belly and feet every week. Nothing stops the licking, is it bad reaction to med?

  15. I posted another statement about my dog with original statements about ATOPI
    CA treatment since Oct 28th, seems to disappeared. maybe it will show up after approval..this is 3rd writing about her condition..Maltese allergies and infections before and after starting meds.

  16. It appears my first comment didn’t go thru. Taking ATOPICA since Oct 28th. Got better, but has black stomach and surrounding areas, constanting licking belly and, sore, black between toes. Tried weekly rinses offs or little baths. No change. Gave antihistamine for cough and belly starting returning pink color. But she broke out in blotches, maybe from either rabbit wet food or the cheese I gave that pill in. So stopped that. She’s been eating lamb products LID food since Oct. She’s on the 10mg product, maybe at 9 lbs she should go up to stronger pill. She was on ID for over 2 years, started losing hair, but kept weight up. For 4 yrs I have had shots, tempralP, antihistamines, steroids, kept eliminating foods: beef, chicken, fish, potatoes, no berries(turned her muzzle bright red),she is Maltese. Dr says the black skin is side effect from the ATOPICA…don’t see that on any print of side effects from manufacturer. What else can I do? We are in brand new apt, no old carpets or waxed floors, or mold. I don’t walk her because of all the ragweeds, so that’s not culprit.

  17. I have small Yorkie that was rescued from a shelter, she started off as a foster but had so many issues, she’s become that “forever foster”. I have gone through all kinds of diets, benadryl, claritan, steroids, etc. with her. I finally came across info on Atopica and decided to try this for her. The meds just came today, so we are hopeful it will help. She has severe allergies, chews feet/legs till they bleed. Switching to a raw food limited ingredient seems to help, but if this does not work for her, it becomes a quality of life issue. We will stay hopeful.

  18. I have an 11 year old Corgi who has been itching and scratching for almost 2 years. At first the prednisone shots worked, now they don’t. She has lost most of her fur on one ear and is still scratching even though we started the Atopica last week. She gets one a day. I have to give her special prescription food. She has side effects but I’m not really sure if it’s the Atopica. I have to give her Benadryl or she will go crazy, rubbing her ears and face on the rug. She’s so lethargic. Probably the Benadryl. Does anyone know or had experience with how long this will take?She loves her new food and isn’t begging for treats but still eats and drinks. Help

  19. I started giving my Shiba Inu Atopica last week, because he has skin allergy problems and chews constantly on his paws. The meds started to work, but he seems to have had a reaction. He’s sleeping 90% of the day and has problems walking, then yesterday he was throwing up and has lost has lost his appetite. Are these side effect due to the medication, if so,is there an alternative treatment to skin allergies.

  20. Hi my schnoodle has been on atopic a for a few months definitely helps, she’s slightly lethargic but is getting a little older to – 7 years old. One good food I got her on which may help here is zignature wet duck food – it seems to be digested quickly and doesn’t generate as much heat and inflammation in that process. It also doesn’t have any potato mix in it. Of course Im concerned long term with Atopic but here hot spots and irritation were out of control. She reacts to chicken and grass

  21. My schnozzle was also taking one atopic a tablet a day but have moved her to every third day and some of the itching has come back and some small allergies on her back so seems like dosage is critical

  22. I wrote in about my Corgi who we had just started on Atopica. Unfortunately is almost 30 days in and she’s so sick. She is so lethargic. She can sleep for 6 hours at a time, she has no interest in going on her walks anymore. Won’t eat and throws up foam. I’m taking her off it since there have been no positive results and lots of side effects. Now what to do? My vet offered to refer me to a dermo. but he’s already done scrapings and a biopsy. I can’t imagine what else they might do. I keep her sedated with Benadryl, but this is no life for a dog. Anyone have suggestions?

  23. For ~2 years my chihuahua/JRT mix struggled severely with some kind of allergy. She’d lick obsessively and lose the fur on both sides of her muzzle and bleed from scratching, along with red dry patches under her arms and legs in the “pits” areas. The only thing that worked were steroid pills/injections but I didn’t want to keep her on those daily. After taking her to an allergist and doing food trials/etc and still being unable to determine a cause, we finally decided to try the expensive Atopica. She takes one 25mg pill every other day, which has worked flawlessly for her for about a year now. She never had any issue with side effects, but if we forget a dose her symptoms come back nearly immediately.

    If your dog has mysterious allergies, Atopica can be miraculous if they respond to it well. It seems like every dog has a different reaction.

  24. Our dog a 12 pound bichonapoo has been on atopica 25 mg for over a year it has been a lifesaver without it she scratches nonstop she still scratches but very little she was allergy tested and found allergic to a little of everything I order the meds online at almost half the price of the vet please research the prices online do not buy from your vet

  25. We have been giving my cock-a-poo Maddie Atopica for about 6 months now and most of the obsessive biting and scratching is gone. we still treat her ears and she still obsessively bites and chews her paws. I am so happy most of the scratching and hence the bleeding is gone. What bothers me is the complete lethargy and depression she exhibits. She sleeps all the time at home and when I take her places like the store she lies down. She has also put on about 6 pounds, horrible in a small dog who should weigh about 20 pounds but she won’t run anymore. I have no idea what to do. Help.

    • Eileen – have you talked with your vet? Our dog initially responded well to Atopica, but later developed lesions. In the end, allergy shots were what worked for us. All dogs are different though. Good luck!

  26. I’ve been through so much with my sweet yorkie girl. Lola has been an allergy baby since day one and is now 6 years old. She went through testing (always negative), food trials, steroids (became quite the chunker and had bouts of pancreatitis b/c of the ‘roids ) and has now been on Atopica for quite some time. Her weight is down (normal) and she’s on a raw diet, but the allergies have continued. Atopica at one time seemed like a miracle, but now there’s more of a storm before the calm. Atopica sends her into a tailspin of itching like she’s having an allergic reaction to it and then, the following days she’s a bit better…. it’s a horrible cycle and I feel so bad that after all this time I still can’t find her the relief she needs. Throughout it all she remains lovey and full of energy, so that’s a plus.

    • Yes I know and I so feel for you. I had Maddie, my cock-a-poo on 50 mg of Atopica and it was really helping her allergies and this constant scratching and scooting. However, she had absolutely no energy, was so lethargic and depressed. My vet, whom I love, swears that this is not a side effect of the drug. So we took her off it and for awhile it was fine and she had an incredible renewal of energy which was so much fun to see. She started scratching again and so we halved the medication and the jury is still out. Maddie seems to be scratching and scooting. I too feel so sorry for her, she mainly chews her paws, a sign of allergy and her chin.

      • You may want to try giving the full dose 2 days one week then 3 days the next & so on. Maybe full dose daily or even every 2 days is too much but 1/2 isn’t quite enough. Just a suggestion.

  27. My vet said you shouldn’t because it absorbs the medication too much. Best to give an hr before or after. Also helps avoid throwing up too.

  28. so Michelle you are saying try every 2 days one week, 3 days the next, and back to 2 days? cause I am giving her half a dose every day or every other day and its working a little, no hot spots but she is still always chewing her paws and scratching just the side of her face, not her ears. weird.

  29. so Michelle you are saying try every 2 days one week, 3 days the next, and back to 2 days? cause I am giving her half a dose every day or every other day and its working a little,.

  30. My lassa is 6 yrs old. She has been o Atopica for about 4 years. I have recently noticed she is very lathargic, you can’t touch her paws, and she has developed a very serious panting issue. Has anyone else had theses side effects. She is on 25mg every other day. I am thinking of taking her off altogether. Her panting seems to be non-stop when she is awake

  31. Karen, my cockapoo has been panting a lot for the 3 years I have had her and according to my vet this is not a problem I have had her on Atopica for about 6 months. I had her on 50 mg and she was terribly lethargic and depressed as is your Lassa. Now I give her 2 pills, 25 mg each, one in the morning and one at night every other day and it has helped the lethargy incredibly. She still scoots and chews her paws but my vet gave me two products that both have antibiotics and one has a little cortisone. One is for the crusts she gets and the other I spray lightly over her body. And it seems to help. Not cured but manageable. I wipe down her paws when she goes out and try and wash her twice a week. The anti-itch one is called Gen-One and the other spray is TrizChlor. But did you change your lassa’s diet at all?

  32. my vet has suggested Atopica for my 3 year old Shih Tzu, he has a lot of food allergies, I just can not bring myself to put him on this drug for life, after having another Shih Tzu who died from side effects of steroids for an total different illness, I am just so slow to do this, I have read so many bad side effects and so few good reports, Dilemma

  33. My Moodle has been on atopica for 3 days and has vommited every day a couple of times, is shaking plus has runny stools. I am giving him the meds 3 hours after food. I’m not liking the looks of his reaction & am wondering whether to stop the medication. My gut is telling me this can’t be good.

  34. I have been living with an allergic dog for 6 years, finally had her blood test for allergies. 3 pages long, every environmental item under the sun. She is now on allergy shots but is losing weight and sleeps all the time. I do not see an amazing difference like I saw when she was on apoquel. Apoquel is a miracle drug but almost impossible to get. The Atopa made her deathly ill, constant vomiting as she had to get fluids by IV. I feel everyone’s pain with this issue. All we can do is keep trying to do the best for our fur babies.

  35. My 11year old Westie was put on Atopica after two months of steriods for his itchy paws.

    Have just taken him off this horrendous drug which caused panting and disorientation
    he could not be left alone don’t know if dogs get panic attacks but that was how he was

    Four days today since I stopped this terrible drug and he is back to normal.

  36. Our little beagle boy has been put on Atopica 2x 25mg once daily

    He has been on this for 4 days now and experienced horrible side effects
    He has not eaten in 3 days and what little amount of bite size food hand fed I could get into him, he would vomit , had very loose stools, was shaking , crying in pain did not sleep at all last night maybe with a little 2 minute light napping I think through sheer exhaustion…..

    Day two still shaking , so lethargic, maybe had a spoonful of cooked vegetables this morning , has let out the most terrible cry in pain is extremely restless cannot make himself comfortable to try and rest…
    We phoned our vet yesterday and told them what was happening with him , they said to continue with the medication these were normal side effects …

    I think not , this por little guy is in so much pain ,,,,, we will not be continuing with this product…. I wish the side effects had of been discussed with us a the time of the consultation before starting him on this horrendous drug !!!

  37. My Brussels Griffon is almost 12 diabetic and has had terrible enviro allergies for 6 years. Shots for over a year with little change and steroids aren’t possible with diabetes. Been using Benadryl but it’s no longer helping. Wish I could get Apoquel but just started atopica today. It’s been 5 hrs and he’s ok – he’s always a couch potato. Hope we don’t have the side affects many of your poor babies have experienced.

  38. My dog was prescribed Atopica by the vet she developed sebaceous cysts and suffered terrible ear infections so severe it needed drainage. The vet know says she thinks they are basal cell tumours, which I believe have been caused by Atopica.

  39. My 10-year old chi suffers with severe allergies. Done everything imaginable. At wits end, vet recommended Apoquel. Very first pill saw immediate relief-completely no itching, increased energy, very happy chi. Only about 1 1/2-2 months on Apoquel, not effective, itch returns full-force with a vengence. NOticed shaking chi yesterday, Up all night scratching, licking, chewing. Back to old faithful Benedryl and vet visit today to rule out possible skin infection. Not happy with all the negative reviews I’ve been seeing on Apoquel. There’s got to be an answer somewhere for all these dogs suffering this way. I’m am so frustrated.

    • I am using Apoquel and it is indeed a great drug for me although quite expensive. The other thing I did was give my cock-a-poo a shot of cortisone and that was a complete miracle. She had energy, no biting or scratching, just perfect. Of course you can only have the vet do this about every 6 weeks but what a change. I can alternate on these i think.

      • More on Four Marvel – I checked and I got mine from Modern Herb Shop – same brand and a little less than Amazon but not free shipping. I got a deal where 3 bottles saved me money but I cannot find that offer right now.

  40. My Brussels Griffon has now been taking Atopica for 10 days and it is helping immensely. He is 14 pounds and takes 25 mg once a day for the first month. I give him his pill 2 hours after breakfast. He has had no adverse side affects at all. Still loves to eat and has had no problems with nausea or loose stools. He has always been a bit of a couch potato so that has not changed. One other thing that I restarted him on is 5 Four Marvel pills in his breakfast and dinner. I was not sure they were working before and my Vet said another holistic vet friend of his used Four Marvel in her practice. Perhaps that is also helping. My poor dog has very little fur left between diabetes and bad allergies. I am hoping some of it may come back if he has less stress on his little body. I do hope that Apoquel will become more available, but until then, Atopica seems to be doing well. Oh, one more thing that my Brussels takes is Denosyl every morning for liver support.

      • They are called Four Marvel and I got mine through Amazon Prime. I give my 14 pound dog 5 of them mixed in his food at each meal. He eats twice a day because he gets his insulin then. It is a Chinese medicinal thing and they look like little black beebees and are called teapills. Si Miao San and the brand I have is Plum Flower.

          • I believe they are helping my Snickers. If you look for Four Marvel for dogs, you will find the Modern Herb Shop website. They refer to a vet blog that write about these being the workhorse of Chinese medicine. There are 4 herbs in these – hence the name Four Marvels. Read the article and it may help you understand.

  41. Tracy k, where do you buy the atopica meds on line? My english setter
    is taking 100 mg twice a day (very expensive @5 dollars a pill from university vet clinic).
    My dog has vasculitis which is an auto immune disorder that attacks her blood vessels. She is cuurently weening off her prednisone and on atopica at the same time.

    • Petmeds carries it but since it is a prescription, you have to have your vet send them the scrip. I get it through my vet. It is working very well for my Brussels Griffon and we are on month two, so he is taking it every other day and it is still effective

    • Carrie, how is your dog doing now? I realize this post was over a year ago. My dog also has an auto immune disorder and has been on prednisone every day the past year. His dermatologist just started hi on atopica and he is working up to 200mg and then, after bloodwork, we will wean down the pred and hopefully he won’t flare up. Goal is a lower dose of cyclosporine and no pred, or minimal pred if necessary. What ended up happening with your dog since it also has autoimmune issues vs environmental allergies like many here

  42. My 3 year old Shepard mix has dust mite allergies, we had him tested last year after a food trial didn’t help. His underarms were raw and hairless, we just started him on atopica this week because the shots weren’t helping. His diarrhea went away but he’s thrown up the last two nights- we typically give it to him two hours after dinner so today we were going to do an hour before dinner and he won’t eat now. I’m worried about him having it on an empty stomach.

    • My 12 yo Brussels Griffon was on Atopica for 2 months. He had absolutely no negative side affects, but by month 2, it was not working on his itching. We are now trying Apoquel and so far so good, although it has only been 6 days. I have had incredible good luck with giving my dog Four Marvel tea pills. You can google it and there are a number of places where you can order online. If Apoquel does not do the trick, I will just stay with Four Marvel. I read a holistic vet blog and she recommends 1/2 human dose for dogs under 50 lbs and over 50 give full human dose. My dog weights 15 pounds and he got 7 in each meal. He eats 2x a day because of diabetes and insulin.

      • Thanks everyone, my dog is on week two of atopica, his hair is growing back, his itching is so much better and he stopped vomiting. We started giving it to him an hour before dinner instead of two hours after

    • so sorry about your pooch. Just wanted to tell you that Apoquel should always been given ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. At least an hour before he eats and an hour after the pill, hope this helps.

  43. Eileen Dietz – there were no directions to give Apoquel on an empty stomach so I have been giving it to him just before eating. I know Atopica had instructions for admin. of dose on an empty stomach.

  44. My schnauzer is just starting atopica. My vet is giving Cerenia for nausea the first few days to help prevent vomiting. Says the drug can have these symptoms strong the first few days then usually adjust this way. Also, freezing the meds before giving lessens the nausea and vomiting. Hope this will help some. Sad some are so sick vomiting so long, so please get anti nausea mess to try.

  45. Our vet wants to put our 4 year old Shih Tzu on Atopica, I am so very worried about the side effects, he has reacted badly to steroids even a 4 day course, so am really concerned about he will react to Atopica, we do have to try it as we live in Ireland and apoquel is not on sale in our country yet, just really scared to put him on it

  46. Our Springer spaniel has a skin problem, but it does not itch an he does not bother with it. It is a lesion, not cancerous, under his chin. Was on prednisone for 28 days, which really helped to reduce size of the lesion, but too many side affects, and we stopped. Immediately after lesion started getting bigger. Vet switched us to Atopica.we used it for 5 days. After the second day he did not seem to know where he was. The 4th day he could barely walk, and would actually freeze in mid stride, and cried in pain a couple of times. He could not move for a good 45 minutes. This happen 4 times and we stopped the pills. Unfortunately the lesion is still there and increasing slowly in size. Our vet phoned the manufacturer to see if this could have been a side effect to Atopica, but they said they had never heard of that problem, but we are convinced it was a side effect. Our dog has finished a low does of prednisone (5mg x 2) to wean him off the original dose of 50ml x 2, but now we are faced with trying to treat his skin problem with the Atopica, or not treat at all, which really has to have something done. Any suggestions???

  47. Check the harmful effects of this med! Just months after going on it my dog now has liver issues and is facing being put down. Beware. Research! I wished I had of

  48. I’m going to give you a history of my experiences with an atopic Lab/Shar Pei mix.

    I rescued Charlie Dog from the shelter at approximately one year of age. Before he was two, he began exhibiting atopic, skin, symptoms. Charlie Dog was run through a number of food experiments with no luck. During this time, he also had a number of hive breakouts. His primary care veterinarian was not equipped to handle this type of situation and referred us to Michigan State University. As they’re a teaching, not a referral hospital, they wanted him to be as symptomatic as he could be before they would see him. Putting him through that was of little interest to me.

    The research began. Living as a sedated Benadryl dog with a lifetime of prednisone is counter indicative of a happy life. I found a local vet who provided blood based antigen testing (sent to a third party) at a fraction of the cost with a high success rate, over 80%.

    Immunotherapy began for his specific antibodies, he was moved to Claritin and z/d food.

    Immunotherapy was administered from approximately two years of age through four years of age, ramping up to titrating and then back down. During the initial stages of treatment, he was still symptomatic and unable to fulfill a normal dog’s life. Multiple doses of prednisone were administered and finally Atopica was suggested.

    For me, the cost wasn’t a concern; my ONLY concern was is this better than prednisone, long term. His primary vet confirmed this. From roughly three to five years of age, he was on Atopica, daily.

    The symptoms went away. Magic!

    In year five, we stopped Atopica to re-evaluate his original atopic presentation. Gone! He was removed from Atopica.

    On his sixth birthday, two days ago, Charlie was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma, pancreas cancer. He has been given two weeks to two months of quality life.

    Is this Atopica’s fault? Maybe.

    So, on the eve of this diagnosis and the sad fate that is waiting for us. We choose not to focus on the negative and the shortened life-span. Rather, we are focusing on 4+ years of quality life that was given to us because of this drug.

    Would I change anything? Yes.

    Knowing what I know now, I would have immediately begun immunotherapy and Atopica. Combined, they have provided the most asymptomatic course of treatment. The ONLY thing I would change would have been not to give as high of a dose of Atopica, and as often.

    If your dog is atopic, you have to question his current quality of life — for us it was a furless existence with open sores. That is a quality of life that is unacceptable to me.

    Final thoughts.
    Atopica has provided a quality of life that is unmatched, in our opinion. Immunotherapy is the real winner, though. Titrating Atopica is where we, the veterinarian and I, missed the mark. Charlie and I both know that this information has made his primary care veterinarian a better practitioner and we hope that this information will also help you and your atopic dog find a higher quality of life, with the time that you have together.

  49. Our dog has had allergies since 2 weeks after her first set of shots. Fast forward 4.5 years we have tried so many things and spent thousands. We have done the food trials, done the blood work, done the skin testing, even renovated our house and ventilation system for her. She has been on Atopica for about a year now, it hasn’t helped at all, in fact she is worse. The vet (allergy specialist – best in the country) says to keep her on the meds, but it is so hard watching her suffer, especially seeing side effects from meds plus allergies that are not relieved by anything other than steroids or high dose of Apoquel – which has it’s own downfall. So now we are looking at going into higher vet bills due to testing needed from long term use and side effects. We just don’t have the money anymore. It feels like the whole thing was a scam. Current medication is Atopica/Ketoconazole and Apoquel, plus antihistamines, burrows solution, constant baths, air purifiers, vacuum every day (no dog is not around the vacuum). I am toying with the idea of taking her off everything, putting her back on steroids and letting nature take it’s course, at least she will be happy for a while, and be able to go for a walk for more than 15 min without getting sick. We know what she is allergic to – can’t do much about mold spores, and pollen from everything. So frustrated, she is losing her hair again- we just don’t have another 10k to put into this – anyone have any other ideas?

  50. 11-year old German Shepard was scratching, itching, biting until a lot of hair was gone, her paws were raw and her skin was black. She has been on Atopica for about 6 months. Large daily doses for the first 2 weeks (300 mg). Then 2 per day (200 mg) for two weeks. For the following 5 months, she gets 200 mg, every other day. For the first 2 weeks there was vomiting and diarrhea but the scratching went away almost completely within about 3 weeks and her hair grew back. She seems happier and more playful, now that she isn’t scratching and uncomfortable all the time. She also takes prednisone every third day. Now after 6 months, she has become lethargic and sleeps a lot. Mind you, she is now 12 years old and it’s the heat of summer.

  51. Our 10 year old Shih Tzu has been on Apoquel for 6 weeks. While it instantly stopped the scratching, the side effects have been horrible. Yesterday, he jumped on my husband who was on the couch and pooped on his shoulder. He is panting non stop and seems to be in a catatonic (dogatonic?) state. He just stares off and doesn’t focus. We stopped the drug and he is back to himself. Let the scratching begin!

  52. My Chihuahua / Dutch hound mix has been taking it last four days it seems like it may be starting to help but I’ve noticed he’s had a huge water intake since starting the drug, is this common?

  53. Could Atopica be helpful for seasonal allergies (ragweed). My 9 year old dog is uncomfortable from mid August until the first frost. Benadryl is barely helping him.

  54. I have a 5yr old boxer who is allergic to everything. I had him allergy tested. Hes allergic to dust, trees, grass, weeds, mold, etc.I tried the injections with no luck. I put him on the generic cyclosporine modified (alot cheaper online) . He had wonderful results with the side effects of the occasional yeast infection. The other side effect he’s had is small mouth tumors which he’s had 2 dental surgeries to remove. I would definately recommend this medication if you have a highly allergic pet. I look at it as quality of life. A dog suffering with allergies has no quality of life, they’re miserable.

  55. I had my dog on Atopica for roughly 14 months…it was somewhat helpful but not the perfect solution. The pills are large and hard to hide in food…they are also slippery and dissolve quickly if you do try to hide them in any form of food…so at $4 per pill (or more)…once bitten, twice shy….some days it would cost me $10 per day roughly (2 pills) to get one in to my dog. I always sensed that there must be some odor to them. My dog always knew, right away. Steroids have never been a problem..boom bang, the dog gobbles up a tiny, tiny pill. Not totally advocating steroids but a happy dog is a happy owner.

    So, just saying…Atopica can have as many affects long term as can steroids. It just all depends on how severe your dogs skin condition/allergies are. My dog has a severe skin condition, after $10k at his point (in 8 years roughly), Im not really any farther ahead. My only mandate is to keep her comfortable and give her lots of love, food an attention…my thought is that some dogs that just simply have a bad skin condition…it is nothing really different than you or I….and to keep putting them on a different drug is kinda wrong…I would give anything to see my dogs skin perfect…but I know after almost a decade, it is just not plausible. Although, I do have to constantly struggle with her skin condition, every day, I just do the best I can every day and hope she is happy.

  56. I have a 5 yr. old German Shepherd that has been on Atopica for 6 months. He was taking this as a treatment for Perianal Fistula. First he was on two pills a day twice a day, then as the fistulas healed his dose was then lowered to 1 pill twice a day, then down to 1 pill every day, then 1 pill every other day. As of a week ago we discontinued the pills as his fistulas have not come back (so far). He always did fine on it. One suggestion my vet gave me was to keep the pills in the freezer and give it to him frozen (less chance of stomach upset). We also covered the pills in cream cheese and he would take it with no problems! (He doesn’t like peanut butter). As far as I could tell he never had any issues at all being on it.

  57. I recently took a 5yo GSD fem rescue ex breeding dog who has only been with me about 8 months . She has just been diagnosed with anal furunculosis and started on Atopica 100mg x2 daily she had her first dose today on empty stomach and vomited couple hours later . Rang my vet he said freeze them before giving to her .I believe this condition is ongoing so I have no idea how we are going to manage I hope she will be able to cope (and me ) I am also bathing her with diluted Hibiclense and drying well before applying sudocrem. I have her on single protein diet ( Roo ) with vitamins and minerals . I have not had her long but love her to bits , wish us luck on this journey and hope my savings hold out .

  58. My almost 5 year old morkie Hank is a rescue dog from a puppy mill. He is allergic to life poor thing. He has a ton of food allergies and seasonal allergies. Atopica has improved his quality of life. He has been cone free for a year now (knock on wood) due to the combination of Atopica, Predisone, and Adult Benadryl. I give Atopica (50) in the morning every other day. It helps if you freeze the pills and give it to the dog early in the morning. I wait an hour before giving him his other medication. Tomm he starts the lower dosage of the Atopica…so fingers crossed it helps him bc those pills are SOOO expensive. Upside, his pet health insurance covers some of the costs

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