7 Apoquel Alternatives for Dogs

Your doggy is itchy, and you are looking for answers. Allergic reactions and atopic dermatitis are amongst the most common wellness disorders veterinarians handle. Apoquel is a fantastic solution for a lot of puppies with allergic pores and skin ailments. It performs rapidly to alleviate signs or symptoms and has a very low threat of side outcomes. However, Apoquel can be expensive for some pet mothers and fathers, presently has no generic form, and doesn’t get the job done for each pet. If you are contemplating your itchy dog’s options, you could be looking for Apoquel possibilities. 

Is There an Alternative to Apoquel for Pet dogs?

Apoquel (oclacitinib) is permitted by the Food and drug administration for use in canines around 1 year of age to command itchiness connected with allergic skin illness (allergic dermatitis). A key reward of Apoquel is that its rapid action means it can be utilised as a short-term therapy for allergy flare-ups in addition to extended-term administration of atopic dermatitis. Apoquel commences to decrease itchiness in just 4 hours, and by day 28, pet moms and dads report all around a 50 per cent reduction in itchiness. [1]

Irrespective of the efficiency of Apoquel, there are rather a few causes you could possibly be intrigued in choices to Apoquel.

Charge: It could be as very simple as wanting for a much less expensive option to Apoquel, which can price a number of dollars per pill, simply achieving about $100 per thirty day period. 

Age: Apoquel is only permitted for pet dogs above 12 months of age. 

Pre-current health issues: Canine with critical bacterial infections like pneumonia should not get Apoquel. Caution is also recommended in dogs with pre-present most cancers or who get recurrent urinary tract infections. 

Reproductive standing: Apoquel is not advised for pregnant or lactating canines.

Facet consequences: The most popular facet outcomes are gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhea, and reduction of hunger) and brief-lived. Hardly ever, some animals will have amplified liver enzymes or seizures. At labeled doses of Apoquel, your canine may possibly have an greater susceptibility to an infection, mange (caused by demodex mites), or growth or exacerbation of tumors. These possible prolonged-expression side results of Apoquel in pet dogs can be sufficient for some pet parents to request Apoquel options. It is crucial to observe that existing reports really don’t indicate an elevated hazard of malignant most cancers for dogs using Apoquel when when compared to canine using other atopic dermatitis medicines.

Efficacy: Despite the fact that Apoquel is a wonderful possibility for a lot of dogs, not all pet mother and father will see the reduction in itch they’d hoped for.

7 Apoquel Choices for Dogs: Prescription, OTC, and All-natural Options

Cytopoint injections

Cytopoint (lokivetmab) injections for canine with atopic dermatitis are injected beneath the pores and skin (subcutaneously) each and every 4 to eight weeks. Cytopoint is a monoclonal antibody that will work by disrupting the itch signal that’s activated in pet dogs with allergic skin condition. One injection can ease symptoms for just one to two months.

Most canines who receive a Cytopoint injection will see a substantial reduction in itchiness, with the vast majority viewing reductions of more than 50 p.c. Cytopoint may well be a fantastic option for canine who are not responding adequately to Apoquel. While Cytopoint has not been tested in pregnant or lactating pet dogs, it may perhaps be applied in breeding female puppies if the added benefits to the mom outweigh any hazards to the offspring.

No contraindications, safety measures, or warnings are detailed on the U.S. label for Cytopoint. Not often, a puppy could have a hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction to Cytopoint resulting in anaphylaxis, facial swelling, and hives.

Cytopoint can be utilised as a solo treatment or in conjunction with other medicines for allergic dermatitis. A opportunity downside of Cytopoint is its economical price. A one injection can expense anywhere from $50–$200 depending on your dog’s pounds, conveniently costing about $1,000 on a yearly basis. For pet dad and mom obtaining trouble affording Apoquel, Cytopoint is not likely to be a much more inexpensive choice. 


Pet moms and dads seeking for an inexpensive Apoquel option may well go over corticosteroids like prednisone with their veterinarian. Corticosteroids act as anti-inflammatories to reduce the outcomes of allergens on the pores and skin, lessening itchiness. Doses are normally presented orally and may perhaps be tapered to the least expensive efficient dose.

Steroids are not usually encouraged in puppies with active fungal infections, viral bacterial infections, Cushing’s condition (hyperadrenocorticism), gastrointestinal upset, or congestive coronary heart failure. Use with caution in animals with liver or kidney condition. 

Steroids are really successful at lessening itchiness, so you’re probably to get the preferred impact. Sadly, you are also very likely to see aspect outcomes, in particular with extended-phrase treatment method. Extreme urination, consuming, and hunger are widespread, even with small-term administration. You can also see coat alterations, body weight obtain, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, improved liver enzymes, pancreatitis, muscle mass losing, and additional. Prednisone ought to not be presented to expecting puppies.

Temaril-P is one more solution, which is a mixture item that includes prednisolone and the antihistamine trimeprazine. Anecdotally, canine getting Temaril-P may well require reduce doses of steroids and may possibly see less aspect consequences. Communicate with your veterinarian about this possibility. 

If corticosteroids are discontinued, they really should be tapered instead than out of the blue stopped. Corticosteroids are normally recommended as short-term remedy for flare-ups or when ready for for a longer time-performing remedies like cyclosporine to take outcome.

Cyclosporine (Atopica or Cyclavance)

Cyclosporine is an oral immunosuppressant drug that is Fda-approved for use in canine to manage atopic dermatitis. The treatment exclusively affects cells that are involved in allergic reactions. Cyclosporine can consider quite a few weeks to choose impact, so it is employed for very long-time period administration of allergic pores and skin ailment instead of flare-ups. 

Cyclosporine is not proposed for dogs with most cancers. Caution is suggested for canines with diabetic issues mellitus or kidney sickness. 

The most prevalent aspect consequences of cyclosporine contain quick-expression vomiting, reduction of appetite, and diarrhea. Other side consequences incorporate extreme development of the gums (gingival hyperplasia), diabetes, excessive fur progress, and other pores and skin modifications. Due to the fact this medicine is immunosuppressive, the doggy may perhaps be susceptible to infections or most cancers, even though proof that cyclosporine boosts most cancers possibility is at this time lacking.

Cyclosporine is not advised in pregnant or lactating canines. Dogs need to be at the very least 6 months old and weigh around 4 lbs ..

Whilst waiting around for cyclosporine to just take outcome, your veterinarian may possibly advocate brief-time period treatment with Apoquel or steroids. Cyclosporine is a great choice to test in dogs who have not responded sufficiently to Apoquel. Cyclosporine has generic kinds and is normally far more very affordable than Apoquel. 


Antihistamines like Zyrtec (cetirizine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine), or hydroxyzine may perhaps be recommended for canine with delicate skin allergic reactions right before shifting to medicines like Apoquel or Atopica. These oral remedies operate by reducing the body’s responsiveness to histamines that trigger allergic signs or symptoms. 

Numerous kinds of antihistamines are out there about the counter, and they’re usually pretty very affordable for lots of pet moms and dads. On the other hand, antihistamines pretty generally have lower efficacy for allergic reactions in puppies. This implies they’re almost never proposed as a sole therapy for canine with persistent or extreme skin allergies, nevertheless they could serve as an adjunctive procedure. Dosage is not the identical in puppies as in individuals, so consult with with your veterinarian in advance of administering antihistamines to your doggy.

Like just about all oral medications, you can see gastrointestinal facet results like vomiting or diarrhea. Antihistamines can also lead to drowsiness. Some antihistamines may possibly be an alternative for pregnant or lactating puppies, though you must usually double-look at with your veterinarian.

Allergy shots

Did you know that canines can get allergy photographs, far too? Allergy pictures (allergen-particular immunotherapy or ASIT) are normally regarded the most efficacious treatment for canines with environmental allergies. The shot dose increases around time till reaching a maintenance amount. Frequency of injections typically commences at two shots per 7 days and then decreases to a shot just about every two weeks. Allergy shots are specified underneath the skin, but there is an alternative sort ASIT that is offered beneath the tongue (sublingually). 

You will usually have to function with a veterinary dermatologist to get your pet allergy photographs. They’ll run a test termed intradermal allergy tests (IDAT) to come across out what your pet is allergic to and then acquire the allergy pictures that will decrease your pet’s hypersensitivity to the allergens. 

Facet consequences are constrained. Some dogs react painfully to injection internet sites. The website may possibly be crimson for a quick whilst immediately after injection with a short maximize in itchiness.

Allergy pictures are the only procedure that right addresses the fundamental bring about of the ailment instead than managing the symptoms. They’re a wonderful possibility for pet mother and father who aren’t seeing the outcome from Apoquel that they’d hoped for or who are worried about Apoquel’s facet consequences. So, what are the negatives? Properly, you’re searching at a number of thousand dollars early in the system of remedy for the skin doctor seek advice from, IDAT, and allergy photographs. It can also consider months to a calendar year to know if they’re operating, so you are going to likely be dealing with your doggy with other medicines in the meantime.

Specific dermatological weight loss plans

There are unique diet programs for canines with allergic reactions. Some diet plans are supposed for canine with food allergic reactions, such as novel protein or hydrolyzed protein meal plans, but prescription diet programs for canine with itchy pores and skin owing to environmental allergies are also an possibility.

Examples of these meal plans include:

  • Royal Canin Veterinary Skintopic
  • Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet plans DRM Dermatologic Management
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet plan Derm Finish

These diet programs perform by promoting a nutritious pores and skin barrier by a certain mix of vitamins.

Prescription dermatologic eating plans can be used in conjunction with other allergy treatment options. The primary disadvantages to dermatological meal plans are their cost—they are considerably much more high-priced than your typical pet kibble—and the point that they call for a veterinary prescription. For numerous canine, a diet plan by yourself will not manage their signs or symptoms. You also need to have to make sure that you are feeding an age-acceptable diet program by checking the AAFCO statement to see if the food items is authorised for expanding puppies, adult puppies, or canines who are expecting or lactating. 

Nutritional supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids

Several purely natural alternatives to Apoquel exist, with dietary supplements being a group that pet mother and father are generally fascinated in discovering. A person selection to take into account is omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for cellular membranes, aiding to continue to keep the skin healthy. Although a balanced dog gets adequate omega-3 fatty acids from a nicely-well balanced food plan, your allergic puppy could possibly reward from supplementation in the form of gel capsules or oils included to their food items.

Omega-3 fatty acids must be used with warning in canine who have recurrent pancreatitis or diarrhea. This supplement can bring about vomiting and diarrhea. Omega-3 fatty acids might affect platelet exercise, resulting in enhanced bleeding possibility. It is probable to overdo omega-3 fatty acids, so make positive to talk to with your veterinarian relating to an correct dose. These may perhaps be a very good option for pregnant or lactating canines.  

These objects are not likely to take care of your pet’s itchy skin on their very own but may well be useful in moderate instances and/or in conjunction with other solutions. Omega-3 fatty acids could lower the necessary dosage of cyclosporine necessary for dogs with atopic dermatitis. There are other health supplements, such as quercetin, which you could explore with your veterinarian. Research wanting into the efficacy of dietary supplements, like CBD oil, are usually ongoing.

How to Assist Allergic Itch in Pet dogs: Other Tips and Tips

Hold in mind that your itchy doggy may perhaps do very best with much more than one particular medication or remedy. If your puppy is displaying an insufficient response to Apoquel, you might consider adjunctive therapies rather than completely switching to an different. Your veterinarian will also want to rule out flea allergic reactions and foodstuff allergies prior to assuming that you are dealing with environmental allergic reactions. Lastly, if your pet dog has infected pores and skin, pustules, hair decline, or other skin problems, make guaranteed to talk to your veterinarian about ruling out skin infections. You are not likely to see a fantastic response if you’re functioning off the incorrect prognosis or are not controlling co-taking place skin ailments!


  1. Cosgrove, Sallie B et al. “A blinded, randomized, placebo-managed demo of the efficacy and safety of the Janus kinase inhibitor oclacitinib (Apoquel®) in consumer-owned puppies with atopic dermatitis.” Veterinary dermatology vol. 24,6 (2013): 587-97, e141-2. doi:10.1111/vde.12088

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