apoquel drug efficacyWhile this blog is about all dog allergy, atopy is a particularly important side effect of many dog allergies that most people need to fix.

-A quick recap- Atopy is a syndrome that self fufils into causing a dog to become “hyper-allergic”. A dog with atopy typically may have : eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), or allergic asthma.  Dogs are mostly seen by their owners to be endlessly itching, often increasing around hay fever season.  But truly skin allergic dogs (often to the environment such as specific grasses) can and do itch all year round.

the couple of caveats are that (besides needed to be over 12 months and ideally big enough, APOQUEL is not for use in dogs with serious infections. and CAN increase susceptibility to infection, including demodicosis, and exacerbate neoplastic conditions.  But more on that fun fact later (next article most likely). also not for use in breeding dogs.

What does Apoquel  do to stop atopy in dogs?

It is licensed mainly under Zoetis  and is used for atopic dogs over 12 months old with constant dog allergy related itching and skin rashes etc.  BUT NOT serious infections apparently ..

APOQUEL (oclacitinib maleate) is a synthetic Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor.”

UNLIKE many drugs, this is tailor made for dogs, and not allowed for humans, and only sold and used by vets on dogs.

WIKI says ” JAK inhibitors or jakinibs, are a type of medication that functions by inhibiting the activity of one or more of the Janus kinase family of enzymes (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, TYK2), thereby interfering with the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. These inhibitors have therapeutic application in the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases  such as rheumatoid arthritis. ”

So you can see why stopping inflammatory disease is important in a dog with atopy, becuase the over stimulation of the dogs defence system often makes the skin itchy and inflamed.

Further – ” Cytokines play key roles in controlling cell growth and the immune response. Many cytokines function by binding to and activating type I and type II cytokine receptors. These receptors in turn rely on the Janus kinase (JAK) family of enzymes for signal transduction. So drugs that inhibit the activity of these Janus kinases JAK – block cytokine signalling.”  Block the transmission method of the signal and you cut off the action of inflammation.

And this all sounds great for people wanting to pay a vet for the life of their dog, so I got to wondering what about NATUAL JAK inhibitors?

Google found this for me: ” Screening Active Compounds from Garcinia Species Native to China Reveals Novel Compounds Targeting the STAT/JAK Signaling Pathway”  ” we screened a library of the natural products from Garcinia species which have anticancer potential to identify new potential therapeutic leads and discovered that caged xanthones were highly effective at suppressing multiple cancer cell lines.”   They also mention JAK inhibition properties and what plants might have the best actions.

The next article shows the many side effects reported from taking this drug in the original dog trials.

But before you get horrified by them,  you should consider the whole reason for this drug is that “Oclacitinib inhibits the function of a variety of pruritogenic cytokines and pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as cytokines involved in allergy that are dependent on JAK1 or JAK3 enzyme activity.”

If they did that and dont make your dog sick, you would be pretty happy right, but always read the side effects and consult your vet (because you can’t get the drug yourself in most countries) – for good reasons.. read next article ..