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Discussion Starter #41
Vets do allergy testing which tests for both food and environmental allergies and tells you what your pet is actually allergic to so you don't have to randomly keep guessing and keep them on potentially harmful medications like steroids longer-term. Prednisone and other steroids suppress the immube system which is great for allergies but means they also can't fight off any other infections. Long-term use of high doses of Prednisone is what actual killed my last dog, a sudden severe infection that he couldn't fight off. Granted he was almost twelve and had other health issues, and an awful vet the last day. But I won't give any long-term steroids to any of my pets ever again.
My cat is allergic to basically everything. He's had the allergy testing as he had chronic raw bloody spots for over a year from itching and scratching. The treatment I'm doing is allergy immunotherapy injections. This can be done in liquid oral form too but since he's a cat and tough to medicate the subcutaneous injections are much easier. Twice I've allowed him to have a mild long acting steroid shot at the vet (lasted four to six weeks each time) to stop the itching and let his wounds heal) while starting or restarting his immunotherapy shots. Since I know what foods he's allergic to, I buy only foods he's not allergic to and he's allergic to everything in the environment so the injections make sense. He's allergic to pine, cedar, Timothy, oats, and a while bunch of other environmental things. My horses eat timothy hay so I know I bring particles of that home on my shoes and coat and clothes and can't avoid it. It's New England so there's pine everywhere year round.
Doing the testing makes sense after everything else you've tried. Then you'll know whether the immunotherapy also makes sense. If you live in an environment where you can't remove things he's allergic to, it may be the only answer. The testing was around $300 here. A vet dermatologist is very helpful.
I'm in Canada. :-(

Was just quoted $1000 - yes, that's a grand aka $1K. Is there any Canadians on here that feel the pain and wonder why Canadian vets are able to up-charge on everything from alergy testing to dental work?

I was suggested to try Apoquel (if I don't want Vanectyl-P - and I don't, as I don't like what it does to the immune system and the side effects). Do you think this drug is acceptable or does it have its own drawbacks and is ill-advised?
 

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Discussion Starter #42
My dog has allergies she takes Apoquel 16 mgs per day. It costs a lot of money $68.00 for 30 days. I looked for a generic Oclacotinib, but the price is the same. If Anyone find it cheaper please let me know. Its the only thing that helps her licking her feet & itching all over.
Then she takes Omeprazole for Vomiting up her food, $36.00 it works well, its been a long time since she vomited, it was an everyday occurrence prior to this medicine. The price is not to bad. The important thing is it works. Then she is on Hills Prescription Z/D for digestion made w/ Lamb. Anything else does not work. But cost $80.00 for 27.5 lb bag. I never had a dog cost me so much money.
I think she is allergic to everything.
I'm scared to use that and really was hoping for a natural treatment (to try) first.

What do you think?:
Apoquel side effects- a veterinary dermatologist's experience
 

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I use Apoquel for my dog who has seasonal allergies. Benadryl does not work, Temaril-P does work but I hate how it causes my poor boy to behave and it contains a steroid who's long term use is very bad. He's never had any problems on Apoquel, and has been on it for 2 years now. I do take him off in the winter since he does not have an itching then, but start back up in Spring just as soon as the allergic reaction is bad enough for the Benadryl to no longer be able to handle.

Off allergy medicine, or when just given benadryl, my boy scratches himself raw, which in turn sets him up to get skin infections.

If you go with Apoquel ask for the lowest dose for your boys weight and you can try rotating it with benedryl which is another thing I do when allergy season is ending.
 

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I use Apoquel with my Frenchie and the Frenchies I foster that have allergies. Yes, there are potential side effects to the liver. Therefore, you should ensure that you take your pup for blood tests every 6 months to a year (whatever your vet recommends). From the rates I saw posted, the U.S. rates are pretty consistent. My dog takes 8mg/day, 60 day supply is ~$65. He also does weekly allergy shots to keep everything at bay. The initial investment for shots is pricey, but after that the serum is only about $150/year.

As was mentioned a few times in this thread, allergy testing will give you the definitive answer on the best way to treat your dog. Knowing specifically what they're allergic to will allow you to help your dog completely avoid allergens all together (the MOST effective treatment). If testing is cost prohibitive where you live, your other options would be to research rates and travel or to see if a cheaper vet would do a remote consult via skype or facetime and then order the blood work for you, which your local vet could draw.

Less costly options are more labor intensive, but can definitely have huge payoff. To help control environmental allergies, I recommend frequent bathing (confirm with your vet, of course) with a gentle shampoo. Also, you'll want to use some kind of ear wash on a daily basis to keep the allergens out. Duoxo pads (on amazon) are great for wiping down their face and feet EVERY time they go outside. You only need one pad for all four feet and face--again, the payoff is significant. If his/her allergies are severe, you can wipe their entire body with a baby wipe every time they come inside. You will also need to launder any of their bedding regularly. Another option is an allergy bodysuit and booties (I've used toddler socks) for your furry guy or gal. You can google them and work with any of the companies for sizing options. If the allergies are not that severe, you might opt for a t-shirt wardrobe where you can throw a new t-shirt on him/her each morning. Again, your goal is to keep allergens off them.

For diet, without knowing what they're allergic to, pricey dog food/raw may just be in vain. Some dogs are only allergic to the mites that come from storing dry food, and therefore, do better on a raw diet. Other dogs are allergic to the raw protein itself. If the allergy test is off the table, I'd try an elimination diet. You could start with one food...just one...pork, chicken, lamb, rice, whatever. Many people will recommend specific proteins over others (rabbit is frequently recommended), but I've fostered quite a bit and I've had dogs allergic to anything. I have a foster right now with an "off the charts" allergy to rabbit. Whatever you choose, feed it to them for a few days and see if they have any allergic reactions. If not, add a second food...so maybe lamb & rice. A few days later, add a third food...lamb, rice, hard boiled eggs with shells. And so on...

In addition to working to keep allergens off of them, you're also working to keep any secondary skin infections from developing from their scratching. The baths and Duoxo pads can help with that. Keeping all this in mind, I've had at least two dogs allergic to human skin cells (no sleeping on bed and lots of vacuuming) and two allergic to cotton (blankets, doggie t-shirts all a no-no for these guys).

Good luck. Dealing with allergies can be frustrating and exhausting, but you do have a few options that might significantly help.
 
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