The clever folk at Zoetis [nee Pfizer] have developed a safe new therapy for chronically itchy or atopic dogs. Cytopoint is a monoclonal antibody given as a subcutaneous injection which reduces itchiness within 8 hours and lasts 30 days. It can be repeated monthly.
Monoclonal antibodies are developed in a lab from a single “mono” cell line. Lokivetmab [Cytopoint] specifically targets and neutralises Interleukin 31 [IL-31]. IL-31 is a cytokine or protein messenger that drives and promotes allergic inflammation. Research shows that IL-31 stimulates the neuronal itch pathway by activating peripheral sensory nerves in areas of allergic dermatitis and that it can be found in the serum of dogs with atopic dermatitis but not in healthy non itchy dogs.
Since Lokivetmab mimics normal canine antibodies it has no side effects, no impact on liver, kidneys or normal immune function and can be used in dogs with atopic dermatitis regardless of age, concurrent disease or concomitant medications.
Doggy Hay Fever
Atopic dermatitis is a common chronic relapsing itchy skin disease of dogs. Affected dogs first show symptoms between 6 months and 3 years of age and then itch more or less for the rest of their life. The easiest analogy to a human disease is “hay fever” but instead of a runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes, atopic dogs develop itchy feet, ears and body which can be relieved by cortisone administration.
Much like hay fever, atopic dogs are prone to flare ups when exposed to environmental allergens such as grasses or pollens. Secondary bacterial and yeast infections in ears and skin occur frequently and a hypersensitivity to these organisms is suspected.
Primary lesions are redness and papules [raised red lumps] on ears, digits, underarms, belly and inner thighs. Saliva staining of feet causes light hair to darken around the toes. Secondary infections cause smell, scale, crust and hair loss whilst chronic itching causes skin to thicken, wrinkle and darken in colour.
At Milton Village Vet we have adopted specialist dermatologists’ recommendations of identifying and treating current infections, relieving self-trauma and restoring the skin’s natural protective barrier. Please call the hospital for appointments.