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My Itchy Dog!

I am one of those geeks that loved biochemistry.  To learn about how life operates on a molecular level is nothing short of fascinating to me.  While obviously complicated, what allows us to function and dysfunction can be quite simple when taken down to basic chemical interactions. 

But back to the itch part.  Houston dogs suffer more than most when it comes to itch.  Allergies are not only a human problem.  Ours dogs can also be allergic to, well, anything - pollens, weeds, grasses, molds, dust mites, down feathers, food, you name it.  And then we add our huge flea burden and a host of secondary infections that complicate everything.  To make it worse, allergies are not cured.  No wonder allergies can be so frustrating for the pet and the owner!  That is why we use a multi-treatment approach to manage the symptoms and keep your dog’s coat healthy and comfortable.  Diagnosis can be time intensive and expensive, but once complicating factors are addressed and underlying causes treated, a plan can be put in place to bring long term relief.

Thankfully, the medications available to us have advanced greatly in the last few years.  We are all grateful for oral flea prevention to start, but our options for bringing relief to our itchy canines are ever improving.  So why the biochemistry introduction?  We have been very happy with CADI (Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic) or CYTOPOINT as part of our therapy regimen.  CYTOPOINT is a new antibody therapy designed to interfere with the itch cycle in dogs (don’t stop reading...!).  The CYTOPOINT antibodies bind to the molecules in the body that are the cause of itching (IL-31).  It literally tricks the body by “plugging in” on the IL-31 molecules, neutralizing them, and prohibiting them from binding to the nerve receptors that lead to itch.  The result?  Partial to complete itch relief in most dogs.  How cool is that?

 

A few facts:

  • CYTOPOINT is only for dogs (sorry kitties, we are working on it!).
  • CYTOPOINT is for subcutaneous (under the skin) injection here in the office.
  • CYTOPOINT takes effect in 24 hours and usually lasts 4 weeks (variability between dogs).
  • CYTOPOINT can be used safely and combined with other medications.  Reported side effects are minimal.

As stated earlier, allergies are complicated.  Relief is usually achieved through a combination of multiple treatments combined to work together. CYTOPOINT is most appropriate as part of a larger protocol to help control allergies and itch.  It is ideal for dogs with short seasonal allergies or when controlled allergies flare up.  In most cases, we are able to figure out the combination that works best for your dog to maximize comfort, minimize skin flare ups, and stop that itch!  Just ask our office manager, Clayton, about Pixie.  He drank the CYTOPOINT Kool-Aid, for sure.

-Dr. Reid

 

 

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