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Vet giving dog a cytopoint injection

The essentials

  • Cytopoint is a treatment for dogs with allergies — Cytopoint injections are commonly prescribed for irritated skin caused by atopic dermatitis.
  • It has been proven very safe to use — This injectable treatment is safe for dogs at any age and can be combined with existing medications.
  • The cost of Cytopoint can vary — The expense of Cytopoint injections depends on your dog’s weight.

Pups that are chronically itchy and uncomfortable can be a challenge for any pet parent to deal with. Itchiness in dogs can be caused by many factors, one common reason being atopic dermatitis caused by skin allergies. Dogs with atopic dermatitis from allergic reactions may benefit from allergy shots. Cytopoint injections might be an effective solution for your furry itchy friend. Unlike other treatments, Cytopoint is a non-drug treatment that targets one of the main proteins that cause itchiness in your dog’s body.

The science behind Cytopoint

Cytopoint is a different type of atopic dermatitis treatment. Cytopoint injections are what are known as biological therapy treatments. These are non-drug treatments designed to work alongside your dog’s natural immune system. Per our veterinary expert Dr. Dwight Alleyne: “Cytopoint is considered an immunotherapy because it aids the immune system in fighting off allergies. It is a very unique therapy and is not contraindicated with any other treatments.”

Cytopoint as a monoclonal antibody

Cytopoint treatments are made from what’s known as a caninized monoclonal anti-IL-31 antibody. Just like human bodies, a canine is made up of antibodies. Antibodies are blood proteins that the body produces to fight off substances that can harm or irritate us, such as bacteria, viruses, or foreign substances.

Pups who are suffering from allergies, just like humans, are not producing the antibodies needed to fight off the inflammation that causes itching. Monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that, when introduced into your dog’s body, act like an antibody in your dog’s own immune system to fight off itchy, irritated skin.

Targeting and neutralizing canine interleukin-31 with Cytopoint

Interleukin-31 is a signaling protein that both humans and canines have. These proteins help to control inflammation and let the immune system know if germs or other substances are invading the body. Pups with atopic dermatitis have a kind of short-circuiting in their immune systems that prevent them from properly fighting off the invading substance. Cytopoint injections help by coming alongside your dog’s existing antibodies to signal the immune system and help fight inflammation.

Understanding the long-lasting effects of Cytopoint

Cytopoint injections have been found to be safe for the majority of dogs and have few side effects. The injections also have a high success rate: a recent clinical study found that Cytopoint treatments were successful in 87.8% of patients with allergic dermatitis. One possible downside to the treatment is that the injections may lose effectiveness over time.

The benefits of using Cytopoint for dogs

Cytopoint injections have been shown to help ease atopic dermatitis caused by allergies in canines.

  • Quick relief from skin irritation. Once the injections are administered, your pup should get relief from itchiness within a few days.
  • Improved quality of life. Relief from chronic itchiness and inflamed skin will help your pup live a happy life for years to come.
  • Ease of administration. It can be an added inconvenience for pet parents to have to remember to give their pup pills every day. With Cytopoint injections, the therapy is given via injection at your vet’s office.

Comparing Cytopoint to steroid treatments

For decades, pups with skin conditions were commonly treated with cortisone (also known as steroids). Cytopoint injections are a revolutionary treatment that is what’s called a biological treatment. Cytopoint contains engineered antibodies that neutralize the proteins that send signals to your dog’s brain telling them they’re itchy. Cytopoint also has fewer side effects than steroids and is less harmful for your dog than continued steroid use.

How Cytopoint is administered to dogs

Cytopoint injections are given to your dog under the skin at your veterinarian’s office.

The proper dosage for your dog

The correct dosage of Cytopoint for your pup varies by the size of your dog. Larger dogs will need a larger dose, while smaller dogs need less. Consult with your veterinarian on what the correct dosage is for your pup.

The process of a Cytopoint injection

Getting a Cytopoint injection at your vet’s office is a pretty simple process. A veterinarian will administer the small injection right under your pup’s skin. The injection is usually painless, and your dog will likely respond to it the same way they would her yearly vaccines. These injections are just like what your pup receives at their annual vaccination visit. But with Cytopoint injections, your trips to the vet will be more frequent. Injections are administered typically every 4-6 weeks.

The duration and frequency of Cytopoint treatment

Once your pup receives their Cytopoint treatment, the itch usually goes away in a few days. The duration of your dog’s relief varies, but the effects usually last anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. After that time, your vet will readminister the injection. Dr. Alleyne notes, “When first getting the Cytopoint injection, it is recommended an additional injection is repeated at least within 4 weeks if it seems effective. After this, then injection may be able to occur a little less frequently depending on when they start showing allergy symptoms.”

Unfortunately, allergies are typically a lifelong condition, so your dog will likely need to take these injections for the rest of their life provided they continue helping your pup. Many dogs experience only seasonal allergies and need injections only during a certain time of year. Other dogs may require more consistent treatments.

Potential side effects of Cytopoint injections

There are very few reported side effects of Cytopoint injections, but some have been reported. Typically, these side effects are mild and go away on their own.

  • Injection site irritation. Your dog may experience irritation or mild pain at their injection site, which should subside within a day or two.
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy. Pups might experience these symptoms over the first couple of days after treatment.
  • Allergic reaction. If your dog experiences facial swelling, trouble breathing, or increased inflammation, get your pup to the vet immediately. They may be having an allergic reaction to the treatment, which can be serious if left untreated.

When not to use Cytopoint injections

Cytopoint is considered safe for most dogs at all stages of life. However, it is possible that Cytopoint injections are not the right fit for your furry friend. Dogs who experience allergic reactions to the treatment should not receive Cytopoint injections. Pups who have a history of allergic reactions to other injections such as vaccines also may not be a good candidate for Cytopoint.

This treatment might not be appropriate for dogs who have compromised immune systems or other medical conditions. Cytopoint is also effective on environmental allergies; dogs whose skin may be itchy and irritated from food allergies will not benefit from this treatment.

Over time, it’s possible the initial effectiveness of Cytopoint injections may wear off. After this time, alternative treatments may need to be explored. Be sure to talk with your vet about your pup’s best options for treating their skin.

Cytopoint injections are a safe and effective treatment method for atopic dermatitis in canines. Dogs can use the treatment at any age and in combination with other medications, though you should always talk with your vet first before starting treatment. This low-risk injectable treatment can help your itchy dog live a more relaxed and happy life.

Frequently asked questions

What does Cytopoint do to dogs?

Cytopoint injections treat atopic and allergic dermatitis in dogs, which cause itchy and inflamed skin.

What are the negatives of Cytopoint?

Side effects of Cytopoint injections are very rare. The most common side effect is a lack of effectiveness of the treatment over time. Symptoms that are usually mild and temporary include pain at the injection site, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Is Cytopoint better than Apoquel?

Studies have shown that there seem to be fewer side effects than Apoquel. However, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to see which option is best for your unique dog.

Is Cytopoint for dogs a steroid?

No, Cytopoint is not a steroid or an immunosuppressant. It’s a non-drug treatment designed to work alongside your dog’s natural immune system.