Most people don’t think much when they see that their dog has an itch. Sure, most animals get itchy. So why would we bother when our dog is seen scratching himself? Well, it turns out that when your little puppy is relieving its itches, there might be something going on. There are high chances that your dog is having an allergic reaction. We have talked a lot about allergic reactions with dogs before, so we’re not going to cover much of that today.
Instead, we’re going to talk about the treatments that you can give to your dog. If your dog is going to the veterinarian to get treatment for their itchiness, chances are decent that the doctor might try to prescribe your dog a drug known as Apoquel. Most people won’t worry too much about a drug that has been prescribed to their dog. And this can make sense; after all, don’t doctors know best? Usually, I’d say yes. However, Apoquel as a drug might be hiding a dark secret. Let’s take a closer look at it.
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What Is The Drug Apoquel?
Apoquel is the generic brand name for the drug oclacitinib. It is manufactured by the company Zoetis, which is the largest producer of animal-based medicines and vaccinations.
Apoquel was created with the purpose of alleviating a dog’s pruritus. For those who are unaware, pruritus is defined as itchiness, but it is usually used to refer to severe or chronic itchiness. Knowing that Apoquel is supposed to help with pruritus, it would make sense for a veterinarian to prescribe it to your dog, right? You might be wrong in thinking so.
Apoquel will help your dog with their pruritus. But the way that it treats your dog is highly controversial, to say the least.
What Does Apoquel Do To My Dog? How Does Apoquel Work?
As stated above, Apoquel will help your dog with its pruritus. However, the way that it does it is unideal.
Apoquel functions by inhibiting your dog’s kinases. The kinases are enzymes that allow the body’s cells to communicate with each other. In particular, Apoquel inhibits the Janus Kinase (JAK). This specific set of kinases is responsible for controlling how your dog’s body’s immune system responds to itchiness. Apoquel turns this off and prevents the body from being able to register that it is itchy.
This is wrong for multiple reasons, the biggest being that JAKs have multiple purposes beyond just regulating how the body responds to itchiness. Here are some of the biggest functions of JAKs:
- JAKs assist in the creation of the body’s red and white blood cells
- JAKs assist in controlling the body’s overall development and growth
- JAKs help combat the development and growth of tumors
- JAKs are a major part of the immune system, helping to produce antibody B-Cells and T-Cells
From what we have stated so far, we can see that Apoquel inhibits serious body functions. But the last two are especially important to note. Apoquel essentially shuts down the body’s immune system. Without the ability to create antibodies or to properly combat tumors, it has been suggested that Apoquel could drastically increase your dog’s chances of developing cancer.
If that wasn’t shocking enough for you, then take a look at some of the other side effects that using Apoquel can bring to your dog:
- Vomit and diarrhea that can potentially be bloody
- Ear infections
- Decrease in globulins
- Decrease in leukocytes
- Skin lumps
- Urinary tract infections
- Polydipsia (increased thirst)
Those are just a few of the many side effects that Apoquel can bring your dog. It is a scary medication that we hesitate to even call medicine, considering all the harm that it can do. It makes you wonder how the FDA ever ended up approving of such a harmful product.
What Can I Do To Prevent My Dog From Being Put On Apoquel?
Fortunately, Apoquel is not the only option when it comes to treating your dog’s pruritus. It turns out that most cases of pruritus come from allergies. And an impressively large number of allergies and pruritus are caused by the food that your dog eats. This means that you can help improve your dog’s skin and remove itchiness by switching them to a better diet. To read more about how food affects your dog’s allergies, click here.
If you’re in the market for foods that won’t affect your dog’s allergies, then thankfully you won’t have to look any further than TruDog! Here at TruDog, we pride ourselves in selling only the best raw foods. Raw dog food means that the food is entirely unprocessed, uncooked and completely organic. You will never find any artificial preservatives, flavorings or color agents that often cause allergic reactions in your dog. Here are two of our most popular options that are specifically designed to help your dog with their irritated, itchy skin:
FEED ME Raw Dog Food – Crunchy Beef Real Meat Super Food: This is a delicious and healthy meal that is stuffed to the brim with organic and raw ingredients that have never been processed such as beef liver, heart, blood, and natural fats. It also includes hemming oil and natural antioxidants and sources of vitamins D and E. This food is designed specifically to improve your dog’s fur and skin quality, which can massively help with dry, irritated or itchy skin. It’s a perfect help for relieving pruritus.
FEED ME Raw Dog Food – Crunchy Munchy Gourmet Gobbler Turkey Real Meat Super Food: If your dog is allergic to beef, then this is an amazing alternative food option for your little puppy! Filled with the same amazing ingredients and benefits as the Crunchy Beef Real Meat Super Food, this is a great way to get your dog onto a more healthy diet if they cannot eat beef due to food allergies.
Pruritus is a common condition in dogs. Chances are high that your dog will be faced with it at some point in their life. However, dangerous medications such as Apoquel are not the answer to curing your dog. Apoquel does not cure pruritus. Instead, it inhibits the body’s ability to detect itchiness, which can have highly dangerous and sometimes fatal effects.
Feeding your dog a better diet is an excellent alternative for treating pruritus. More often than not, the itchiness is caused by an allergy and this can often be reduced by switching your dog to a more healthy, natural diet.
However, if your dog is still suffering from pruritus, even after switching diets, then a veterinarian is your best choice, as they will always know what is best… unless their decision involves putting your dog on Apoquel. Be sure to ask your vet about what alternative medicines you can give your dog if a proper diet does not help improve their pruritus.
We all love our dogs and want the best for them. By switching them to a healthy diet, and researching the medications that we put them on, we can ensure that they live the longest and best lives possible. Let’s work to ensure that our dogs never take harmful medications like Apoquel so that they can live as long as they can!