Just started Atopica
I have a 4 year old Shiba Inu who presented with allergies when she was about 2. She licks, scratches, and bites at her legs and paws mostly, but when we first started this mess she licked and scratched the hair off her hind legs and rump. I have been to a total of 5 vets with her. Started with Benadryl and every other antihistamine coupled with antibiotics for secondary infections...none worked. The steroids worked, but like everyone else I didn't want to keep her on it for very long. I live in south Texas so summers, which last most of the year, are her worst times. During the winter she seems to do well without any medication. Last year I decided to do the allergy testing and start the allergy shots. Turns out she is allergic to everything!! Fortunately, she has improved a lot on them. She itches less severely during the summer months (May through September/October). The shots have extended the time in which she would have had to be on a steroid and seems to have stopped the itching and hair loss on her butt.
This year (in fact today) I started her on Atopica. I am under the impression that she won't need to be on this long term, and it is a better medication than steroids to get her through her seasonal allergies. My derm. recommended 100mg for her, even though she is only 30lbs. I gave it to her on an empty stomach and fed her an hour later. An hour after she ate she had diarrhea - as well as being really restless, panting heavily, increased itching on her paws and looking generally uncomfortable. It has now been 2 hours since I gave her the pill and she is resting comfortably under the bed.
I am very concerned about giving her this medication (more so after reading all these posts), but more concerned about the long term effects of keeping her on a steroid. When she was on them she gained a lot of weight and her appetite was insatiable.
Hopefully the diarrhea clears up without having to put her on Fortaflora (a waste of money I think). And hopefully this treatment works for her. Like many others I have been through a slew of treatments...antihistamines, shampoos, sprays, oils, steroids, specialty diets, etc. The shots, although expensive, improved her condition, but she still needs spot treatments during the summer months. As a side note, she has been eating Royal Canin Skin Support for a few years now - Shibas are picky eaters and she seems to not get tired of this one. It has the added omegas for her skin too in lieu of giving her fish oil supplements. Atopica is expensive, I am paying $180 for a month supply. Hopefully she will be able to taper off a bit and that will decrease or I can switch to generic. For now I just hope it works without severe side effects. So, that's my story. I will update as she progresses through her treatment.
Thanks for reading.