|Inhalant and contact skin allergies are indeed frustrating for many pet owners. Symptoms of allergies may include chronic itchy feet, face and ears, as well as secondary infections leading to increased patient discomfort. In years past it was often only prescription Prednisone that offered these pets significant symptomatic relief. However, the use of long term Prednisone or cortisone can lead to unwanted side effects including:|
- Suppressing the immune system and thus the development of secondary infection
- Thinning of bones
- Premature aging
- Predisposing pets to diabetes if used long term.
Pets may also develop increased thirst, appetite and urination, as well as unwanted behavioral changes. Several years ago Atopica came on the market and offered animal guardians a Prednisone alternative that truly worked, and without all of the side effects.
The main ingredient cyclosporine has a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effect. Side effects do occur in approximately one third of treated pets and most commonly includes digestive upset and vomiting. Sometimes giving Atopica with a meal and/or with other prescription medications to prevent vomiting can help with this side effect.
Another major concern of clients is the high cost of using Atopica long term. Some veterinarians will prescribe the antifungal Ketaconazole at the same time as Atopica, which can help lessen the dose of Atopica needed. There is also a generic now available, however, I have not found results consistent with the cheaper generic.
I have found Atopica affective in approximately 65% of treated pets, and often the dose can be tapered after several weeks to help lower the cost for those allergic pets who need allergy medication long term. Using supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids may also help lower the dose of Atopica needed to control clinical signs.