There have been several disputes regarding the use of Apoquel for cat. The drug, which contains oclacitinib as its main chemical ‘ingredients’, is mostly used to cure itchiness in dogs. There has been no enough data of Apoquel use in cats with the same symptoms: redness and other skin-related allergy symptoms. If your feline fellow has been constantly scratching specific sites on its body, the itch can be one symptom of atopic dermatitis. You may heard about the Apoquel use in dogs, so, consider reading this information below before purchasing the drug for your cat.
What is atopic dermatitis in cats?
Also known as feline atopic dermatitis, this skin disease is a hypersensitivity reaction to environmental allergens. The hypersensitivity reaction then creates a pruritic skin which is driven by the cat’s immune cells activation in response to the allergens.
Symptoms accompanying your feline friend’s skin disease are:
- Continuous head and neck scratching, or any area of its body
- Skin excoriations
- Skin lesions (especially on the scratched places)
- Alopecia (loss of hair on the affected sites)
Apoquel is a brand of drug containing oclacitinib, an agent which is known for its immunosuppressant features. This drug is distinct from antihistamine, steroids, or cyclosporine that is also administered to cure persistent itch. Apoquel is just recently known for its efficacy to cure canine atopic dermatitis (atopic dermatitis which occurs in dogs). Hence, Apoquel for cat has not been much studied yet. But, since there were findings that documented about the similarity of cats’ atopic dermatitis with the disease in dogs’ and humans’, the use of Apoquel started to be questioned to cure the disease in cats.
Apoquel for cats, is that effective?
In a 2015 study, it was mentioned that a dose of 0.4-0.6 mg/kg body weight could help recover 5 of 12 cases of feline atopic dermatitis. Also, if compared to other drugs with similar effects – such as antihistamine, steroids, and cyclosporine. Apoquel is reported to give more rapid effect in dogs; but in cats, it was found that the drug has no difference in efficacy if compared to methylprednisolone.
So far, Apoquel for cat side effects include the increased level of creatinine in 25% drug recipients. Also, among all cats which received Apoquel, half of them had an increasing urea level. Although these symptoms are linked to chronic kidney disease, this should not be taken as definite information. The pharmacology of oclacitinib in cats is yet to be known; hence it is better to use Apoquel with caution. It is also recommended to use the drug under the vet’s supervision.
To elucidate, if your feline friend is suffering from persistent itchiness, it is recommended to take it to a vet. Don’t use any drugs without any advice from vets since it may harm your pet, especially for a drug without many background studies like Apoquel for cat.