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My dog (~45 lb, amstaff mix, female, 1 year, adopted) is being treated for seasonal allergies per our vet. They speculate she has allergies because she's been in recently for numerous issues since the weather has gotten warmer; she's been in for ear infections and conjunctivitis in both eyes. She also was getting a runny nose after being outside, and last fall she had hotspots when we adopted her.

The vet instructed us to start giving her 15 mg of Claritin (loratadine) daily. That seems like a lot for a 45 lb dog. They gave us other drug options, btw. We just decided to start with Claritin since most the other options were every 8 hours.

What is the general dosage for dogs? Is this within the safe limits? I wouldn't have started to wonder if it wasn't about the recommended human dose.
 

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I can say from personal experiences that Loratadine works only very rarely for dogs. Zyrtec and Diphenhydramine are much more likely to be effective, though only Zyrtec is a once-a-day drug of those two... still, most canine allergies do NOT respond to ANY antihistamines. If itching, licking or scratching at ears are the main problems, another once a day drug that is extremely effective is Apoquel... might ask your vet about that one. Not an over-the-counter medication, though. Good luck. Dosages for antihistamines vary from vet to vet, but dogs do take much higher doses of antihistamines (per pound) than do humans for the most part.
 

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The vet wanted to start her on over-the-counter before prescribing her something. But we will try the other two since I believe those were on the list as well.

It's good to know the antihistamines rarely work. We have noticed that she still snorts in the morning; I can't think of a better word, it's like she sucks in mucous. We've been mostly limiting her outside time on high pollen days until we find something that works for her.
 

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(Mobile won't let me edit my posts.)

Most her symptoms have been irritated eyes and runny nose. She also had the ear infections. Other than the hotspots when we adopted her, we haven't seen much itchy skin. She does have very short, thin hair. We actually thought she was a whippet mix at first.
 

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Thank you for all the help. I feel better about upping her dose. I do think it's working to an extent. One day she didn't take her pill; we found a stray Claritin by her food bowl in the evening. She seemed to have worse allergies that day.
 

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I was surprised to read in this thread that it's rare for anti-histamines to work for allergies in dogs. I've never heard this. Any dog I've ever had has never failed to respond to them when itching is at it's worst, and even more important for one of our current dogs (Tiger), who never fails to bite at the insects flying around him and invariably gets stung by something. I keep a fresh bottle of liquid benedryl on hand each spring for him in particular. The correct dosage for diphenhydramine for dogs is 1mg/pound.

Additionally, Tiger is prescribed cetirizine which is a more powerful anti-histamine for when he gets itchy, and it works very well.

Lastly, I've read some alarming things about dogs who were on Apoquel for any length of time. It suppresses the immune system and dogs that are on it tend to develop nasty infections among other things. I will be steering clear.
 

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Allergies are the most common complaint we see in veterinary practice, and I have been dealing with them for over 30 years. Some will respond minimally to antihistamines, but those are mild cases usually. Never hurts to try, though. I would say maybe 1 out of 20 responds satisfactorily to antihistamines (usually Cetrizine, aka Zyrtec) is the most successful, but for any dogs that have severe allergies (to the point of damaging themselves), rarely do any even help at all. Apoquel does not cause any immune related effects, even long term, at a once a day dose... twice a day doses, reserved for acute, severe problems is a different story, which is why the manufacturer recommends a maximum of two weeks for those pets at the 2x a day dose... so we stick to that recommendation... however, prior to the existence of Apoquel, the only drug that worked for most severe allergies was cortisone (and it worked very well... only it caused LOTS of side effects that were not often pleasant, and some very serious and even life threatening). Even the use of Apoquel 2x a day long term does not even come close to the dangers of using steroids frequently, so everything is relative. Getting a Vetalog shot, something few owners have any reservations about (mostly because they work so well, and the clients rarely seem too concerned with the down sides of these powerful cortisone despite our constant warnings) is WAY more likely to cause some immune related problems than 2x a day Apoquel is. So though it may indeed increase the risk of a mite infestation or other immune suppression problems (not yet seen a single case of this yet in over a year), it is still far less of a risk or danger than cortisone is. And though there are cases where Apoquel sadly does NOT work (about 1 out of 30 dogs), it is an amazing drug so far in the fight against severe canine allergies. Not perfect, but pretty good so far.

Now a new product is available with NO side effects and works very well for dogs that have allergies NOT related to food. It is an injection called Cytopoint and is safe to use in every single pet - though not all have environmental allergies and will do nothing for those pets... thankfully about 80-85% of all our allergic pets have at least some degree of environmental allergies (some may also have some food component) and respond amazingly well to this injection, being allergy free for 6-8 weeks from one injection. Of course the injection is pretty pricey and if you have a large dog, could be REALLY pricey. Not sure if this product is even subject to ever becoming a generic, so not sure if there is any future when it will be a lot cheaper... we'll have to see.
 

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I was surprised to read in this thread that it's rare for anti-histamines to work for allergies in dogs. I've never heard this. Any dog I've ever had has never failed to respond to them when itching is at it's worst, and even more important for one of our current dogs (Tiger), who never fails to bite at the insects flying around him and invariably gets stung by something. I keep a fresh bottle of liquid benedryl on hand each spring for him in particular. The correct dosage for diphenhydramine for dogs is 1mg/pound.

Additionally, Tiger is prescribed cetirizine which is a more powerful anti-histamine for when he gets itchy, and it works very well.

Lastly, I've read some alarming things about dogs who were on Apoquel for any length of time. It suppresses the immune system and dogs that are on it tend to develop nasty infections among other things. I will be steering clear.
My vet started Zody on Benedryl when he first developed allergies. While the allergies were minimal the benedryl helped a little, but as they progressed to the point that the was scratching himself raw it didn't help at all. So I was given Tamriel-P, which is an antihistamine and prednisolone. That worked, but came at a high cost to his quality of life. He had no interest in anything and would just lay around all day. Now he is on Apoquel, and has been on it for over a year now, I've noticed 0 side effects. The dose is 1/2 a pill (he's only 10bs) once a day, as needed. Right now I'm managing his allergies by giving him 1/2 a pill every other day, but as allergy season progresses, I'm pretty sure he'll probably go back to 1/2 a pill a day. I do take him off of Apoquel during the winter he's not itchy and does not need it.

Of the 3 Apoquel works that best, he's not had any adverse effects, no infections, no illness, not lethargy or anything else, I'm happy to continue using it as the other options I have open are worse for him.
 

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Her reverse sneezing in the morning is getting more frequent so we plan on trying a different drug. My boyfriend has bad allergies too and he says his have really been bugging him lately as well. So far her ears haven't bugged her and eyes look good. Still no signs of itchy skin this spring.

Side note, she's been in an obedience class and we have been outside more since we've been working on her recall. She's mastered around the house so we are upping the difficulty by working on it in a field by the house.
 

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I know this thread has been dormant for over a year, but I just came across it.


I took my dog to the vet today for another issue, but we talked aboiut my dog's scratching/licking/etc. He (the dog...not the vet) has been doing A LOT of scratching and licking lately, to the point where we were telling him to stop so often, we should have made a recording and saved our breaths. He's got a bunch of hot spots on his back.


The vet gave us a prescription for apoquel and his assistant gave my dog a tablet before we left their office. I took him home, then we had to leave him alone while we went to town for a few hours. But, since we've been home tonight, he has done VERY LITTLE licking or scratching. We are so happy with the results so far.


I see concerns about apoquel and will heed them. As this is a much more pricey option than an over-the-counter "human" drug, I'll be giving loratadine a go after this prescription runs out. I take it myself, so I've always got some on hand. And a 365-day supply from Costco is almost dirt cheap, compared to the fortune we'd be forking out for the Claratin brand name.


I saw the comment of the person who started this thread saying they thought their vet's recommendation of 15mg for a 45 lb dog seemed high. Looking online at Vetinfo.com, they suggest .12-.22 mg per 10 lbs. For my 86 lb GSD at .22mg/lb, that comes out to the same dosage you're giving a dog half the weight. The only side effect they list is the possibility of the dog being overly drowsy. How do you tell that in a dog? They're sleeping most of the day as it is. :)


Anyway, like I said, I'll give loratadine a try after the prescription runs out. I hope it works as well as apoquel.
 
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