A Newer Treatment Option for Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs:
IL-31 Antibody Injection (Cytopoint, Zoetis)
Definition: The IL-31 antibody injection is a new treatment available for the management of itching from allergic skin disease. IL-31 is a substance that causes itching when dogs have allergies, and this treatment is an antibody for IL-31, which means it binds to IL-31 and deactivates it, thus decreasing itching.
How Given: It is an injection for dogs given under the skin at our clinic as needed, usually given about once monthly, and can be combined with any other therapy for allergies and/or while a dog is on any other medications. Because this drug is very specific in it’s immune system target, it appears to be very safe for dogs who have other conditions where you do not want to suppress the immune system.
Effectiveness: In studies, 80% of patients achieved a significant, measurable improvement in itching as measured by owners. This option is great for dogs who are on effective therapies but who are having a flare up, as a sole therapy for dogs whose owners have a hard time remembering medications, for itchy puppies, or for dogs who are difficult to orally medicate.
Side Effects: One study showed vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy in a small percentage of treated dogs. A larger study showed side effects not significantly above that seen with a placebo injection, further safety studies are ongoing. It is fairly common we hear that patients are “low-key” the day after the injection, severe side effects appear to be extremely rare. At this time, we do not monitor bloodwork during IL-31 antibody treatment, all current medications can be continued.
Cost: The cost varies based on the size of the dog, please call if you are a current client of ours or a referring veterinarian and you would like a quote.
More information: See the Zoetis website: https://www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/il-31/index.aspx