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Side effects of Apoquel tablets include upset stomach i.e. bloating, gas, GERD (Gastro-esophageal reflux disease), vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, etc as well as dizziness, lack of appetite (also called anorexia), mood swings (change in behavior), tiredness, fatigue, and Sleepiness, in most cases.

Yes, Apoquel™ tablets (generic: oclacitinib) can make dogs look sleepy, tired, and drowsy.

It’s an immunosuppressant drug used to treat pruritus and other allergy symptoms including skin irritations, redness, rashes, swelling and inflammation on the skin, atopic dermatitis, lumps, bumps, impetigo, flea and ticks allergy, folliculitis, and mange, etc.

What Is Apoquel Used for in Dogs?

Apoquel is a medication that can provide relief for dogs suffering from itching caused by allergies, particularly atopic dermatitis. Unlike traditional allergy medicines, Apoquel is a selective Janus kinase inhibitor, making it a unique option on the veterinary market. Manufactured by Zoetis, this medication can start working to reduce itching in as little as four to 24 hours.

Here are some key points to know about Apoquel:

  • Apoquel is the brand name of oclacitinib, a medication designed to relieve itching in dogs.
  • It is not a steroid or antihistamine, but a selective Janus kinase inhibitor.
  • It is made by Zoetis.
  • It selectively inhibits the cytokines involved in allergic reactions with minimal impact on the immune system and blood cell production.
  • Apoquel is often prescribed by veterinarians for treating allergies in dogs because it tends to have milder side effects compared to steroids and immunosuppressive drugs.
  • It can start working to reduce itching in as little as four to 24 hours.

If your dog is suffering from itching caused by allergies, it’s worth having a conversation with your vet to determine if Apoquel is a good option for them.

Allergy Symptoms in Dogs


How Apoquel™ Causes Sleepiness In Dogs?

In common, oclacitinib (active ingredient) does not cause sleepiness in dogs. It’s an FDA-approved, JAK-1 inhibitor, for dogs that are above 1 year of age (older than 12 months).

Anyhow, not suitable for dogs below 12 months, because this immune system suppressant may cause commensals bacteria (good bacteria of the body) to take advantage of the suppressed immune system and cause bacterial infections, i.e. Pneumonia (acute respiratory tract infection), UTI’s (urinary tract infections, etc.

However, in rare situations, it can show some adverse reactions or side effects. Sleepiness in dogs is one of its adverse reactions.
You may observe that your furry friend is sleeping more than usual just because he is taking that immuno-suppressant medication.
You should consult your dog’s veterinarian about the condition if Sleepiness in your dog persists for more than one day. Your pet’s vet may anyhow adjust the dosage to press the bad effects of oclacitinib as low as could be possible.
Sleepy DOg

Potential Side Effects of Apoquel in Dogs?

Apoquel is a medication that can provide relief for dogs suffering from itching caused by allergies, particularly atopic dermatitis. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur when giving Apoquel to your dog. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to weigh the benefits and risks of any medication for your furry friend.

Here are some potential side effects to be aware of when using Apoquel:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
  • Bloodwork changes, particularly decreased blood cell counts.
  • Increased risk of infections such as urinary tract infections, skin infections, respiratory infections, and demodectic mange.
  • Worsening of existing tumors or cancer.
  • Gastrointestinal side effects are the most common in dogs and may be relieved by giving the medication with food.
  • Your veterinarian may recommend routine blood tests to see if Apoquel is impacting blood cell production or organ function.
  • Apoquel may make some dogs more prone to infections because of its effect on immune function.
  • It should not be used in dogs with a history of cancer.

It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s response to Apoquel and address any potential side effects that may occur.


Pros & Cons of Apoquel for Dogs

Pros
  • Fast acting: Apoquel can start working to reduce itching in as little as four to 24 hours.

  • Effective: Apoquel is often prescribed by veterinarians for treating allergies in dogs because it tends to be effective at relieving itching associated with allergies, particularly atopic dermatitis.

  • Milder side effects: Compared to other allergy medicines, Apoquel tends to have milder side effects.

  • Can be used long-term: Apoquel can be used long-term at maintenance doses or seasonally as needed. Unlike steroids, it can be stopped without tapering.

Cons
  • Potential side effects: Apoquel can cause side effects in some dogs, including gastrointestinal issues, bloodwork changes, increased risk of infections, and worsening of existing tumors or cancer.

  • Not suitable for all dogs: Apoquel should not be used in dogs with a history of cancer or dogs under 12 months of age, as it may cause bacterial infections.

  • Not a cure: Apoquel may provide relief for itching, but it does not cure the underlying allergy.

  • Need for monitoring: Apoquel should be closely monitored by a veterinarian, as dosage and treatment plans may need to be adjusted as necessary.


Apoquel Dosage in Dogs

Here are some key points to know about Apoquel dosage:

  • Apoquel is available as an oral tablet in three strengths: 3.6, 5.6, and 16 milligrams.
  • The recommended dose range is 0.18 to 0.27 milligrams per pound, so the variety of strengths makes accurate dosing easy for dogs of most sizes.
  • Zoetis provides vets with a convenient dosing chart as a guideline.
  • Apoquel should be given orally as a pill twice daily for the first 14 days, then reduced to once daily for maintenance.
  • It may be given with or without food, but giving it with food may reduce the chances of gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Apoquel can be used long-term at maintenance doses or seasonally as needed. Unlike steroids, it can be stopped without tapering.
  • Some dogs may respond well to the initial higher doses, but experience itching again when the dose is reduced to maintenance levels.
  • It may be prescribed along with other treatments to manage allergies in dogs.
  • Do not change your dog’s Apoquel dose without first consulting your vet.

It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage for your dog and monitor their response to the medication.

Apoquel may be prescribed along with other treatments to manage allergies in dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend other treatments such as topical, injectable, or other oral medications.

The initial two-week period of higher dosage provides superior itch relief while other treatments can start getting to work at the source of the itching.


Summary

Apoquel is a medication that can provide relief for dogs suffering from itching caused by allergies, particularly atopic dermatitis. It is a selective Janus kinase inhibitor, manufactured by Zoetis, which can start working to reduce itching in as little as four to 24 hours.

It is often prescribed by veterinarians for treating allergies in dogs because it tends to have milder side effects compared to steroids and immunosuppressive drugs.

However, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects, including sleepiness, which may occur when giving Apoquel to your dog. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to weigh the benefits and risks of any medication for your furry friend. It is important to closely monitor your dog’s response to the medication, and to adjust the dosage or treatment plan as needed.

Read also: Can Humans Take Apoquel? Side Effects and Alternatives



Doctor Xeeshan

Doctor Xeeshan

I am Doctor Xeeshan, located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. In this blog, I am providing authentic information about dog breeds, diseases, medications, etc.

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