Dig this… a portion of this post is sponsored by Zoetis, but opinions are my own and 110% “pawthentic”!
We used to dread spring and summer. While all of my dog-loving friends were celebrating the season by getting outdoors with their pups, we were in protective mode with Chilly.
When the trees, flowers, and grasses awaken in the springtime, a simple romp in the yard for Chilly would typically lead to a nasty skin outbreak that we’d spend the next 6-8 months trying to get under control!
Years ago, Chilly was diagnosed with allergic itch by his veterinary dermatologist. Exposure to pollen, oak, or ragweed triggers an outbreak of red, itchy bumps all over his belly and on the inside of his hind legs. As you can imagine, this led to extreme discomfort for Chilly. He’d begin to scratch, chew, and bite at his newly erupted skin which would lead to skin damage and often a secondary bacterial infection. Sometimes he’d lick his feet until red sores developed. His personality would even change. He was less playful and often refused to go outside.
Naturally, this was stressful for my husband and me. We tried to prevent the outbreak in the first place by walking Chilly on the sidewalk or asphalt to avoid the allergens in the grass. Then, once back home, we’d wipe him down from head to toe with a wet towel to remove any allergens he’d picked up along the way.
Invariably, he’d break out anyway. We just couldn’t seem to get ahead of it. Those were challenging times for all three of us. Poor Chilly was miserably uncomfortable, while Paul and I felt guilty that we couldn’t prevent it from occurring, nor could we find a way to manage it long term.
Relief at Last!
During a vet visit in the summer of 2017, our veterinarian said he’d like to try something new to give Chilly some relief from his atopic dermatitis. He explained that an injection of CYTOPOINT® could provide him with 4-8 weeks of chronic itch relief.
Naturally, we were eager to see if it would work. It did! The result has been completely life-changing for all of us. That’s why I’m writing about this on the blog. I know so many people who are struggling to manage their dog’s allergic or atopic dermatitis. I want to share our success story so that it can be yours too!
Why Do Dogs Get So Itchy?
People aren’t the only ones who can suffer from allergies. Dogs can have them too, and they can be allergic to many of the same things in the environment that bother people, like tree, grass and weed pollens and mold spores. Many dogs are also allergic to dust mites, fleas, insecticides, and even the ingredients in some shampoos.
With people, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between allergies and a cold, but a dog with allergies won’t be sneezing or blowing his nose. Dog allergies usually affect the skin. So depending on what a dog is allergic to, his itching could come and go seasonally, or it could bother him year round.
Many dogs with itchy skin are diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that affects as many as 1 out of 10 dogs. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis may be mild to start with, but they can worsen over time. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you may want to have a conversation with your veterinarian.
- Itching, scratching, rubbing, or licking – especially around the face, paws, or underarms
- Hair loss
- Red, itchy, scaly, or irritated skin
- Skin infections
- Ear infections or recurrent ear problems (Many dogs shake their heads when their ears bother them.)
What is CYTOPOINT?
CYTOPOINT is a safe and effective injection your veterinarian gives your dog to provide long-lasting treatment to control itching caused by allergic or atopic dermatitis. It starts to control the itch within a single day of the injection.
You’ll know it’s working because you’ll see reduced scratching, licking, chewing, and biting of the skin. The relief will last anywhere from 4-8 weeks which allows your dog’s skin, damaged by the itch cycle, time to heal. Subsequent injections are completely safe and recommended for continued relief.
How Does It Work?
When a dog with allergic itch scratches his skin, he damages it just enough to allow allergens to enter and cause a reaction. Proteins are released and attach to nerves in the skin. Then itch signals are sent to the dog’s brain. He responds by scratching, which creates more damage and more opportunities for allergens to penetrate.
CYTOPOINT works by breaking this itch cycle. It works like your dog’s own immune system to target and neutralize one of the main proteins that send the itch signals to his brain. Because the itch signal is blocked, your dog won’t feel the need to scratch, and his damaged skin can begin to heal.
Another thing I like about CYTOPOINT is that it is a monoclonal antibody. A monoclonal antibody is a biological medication, which means it’s a protein and not a chemical. And since it’s not a chemical, it won’t put pressure on your dog’s kidneys or liver. This was great news for us since Chilly also has some issues with his kidneys.
How Do I Know When It’s Time for Another CYTOPOINT Treatment?
Your dog may be able to go as long as eight weeks in between treatments. However, it’s recommended that you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in four weeks to check your dog’s progress and to help decide when his next injection should be given.
You could monitor your dog on your own, but CYTOPOINT also offers a convenient downloadable tool that can help you to keep track of your dog’s itching. For the first week, you will rate and record his level of itching every day, and then after that, you rate him once a week.
Having a record of his level of itchiness can help you and your veterinarian gauge how long the injection provides relief and make plans for his future treatments.
If your dog is a scratching fool, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m so glad that Paul and I can now enjoy outdoor activities with Chilly without having to worry about miserable skin outbreaks!
This post is sponsored by Zoetis. However, all opinions and anecdotes are my own, and I never promote any products or brands I don’t believe in. ~Petfully yours, Kristen