Apoquel for Treating Allergies in Dogs: Understanding the Mechanism

Allergies in Dogs
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Dog allergies may be an annoying and perhaps crippling ailment for both the pet and the owner. Dogs can develop allergies to a variety of environmental and dietary factors, including pollen, dust, certain proteins, and more. Allergies can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, redness, and swelling, as well as secondary skin infections and ear infections.

According to a recent report on nwfdailynews.com, two medications have been recommended for treating itchy skin in dogs, with Apoquel being one of them. The report highlights how this drug can be a real lifesaver for dogs who respond positively to its effects, providing much-needed relief for their uncomfortable symptoms.

Fortunately, there are now several medications available to manage allergies in dogs, including Apoquel. Apoquel has become a popular treatment option due to its rapid onset of action and targeted mechanism of action. 

By inhibiting specific immune cells involved in allergic reactions, Apoquel can provide relief for dogs suffering from allergy symptoms while minimizing the risk of side effects associated with broad-spectrum immunosuppression.

What is Apoquel?

Apoquel is a medication used to treat allergies in dogs. It works by targeting specific cells in the immune system that play a role in allergic reactions. Oclacitinib, the active component of Apoquel, selectively inhibits the Janus kinase (JAK) enzymes.

JAK enzymes are involved in a range of biological processes, including immune cell signaling. By inhibiting JAK enzymes, Apoquel can reduce the activity of immune cells that contribute to allergic reactions in dogs.

How does Apoquel work?

Apoquel works by specifically targeting a kind of immune cell known as a T-helper cell. T-helper cells play an important role in the initiation and maintenance of allergic responses.

When a dog is exposed to an allergen, such as pollen or dust, T-helper cells become activated and release a range of chemicals that contribute to the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as itching, redness, and swelling.

Apoquel works by inhibiting the activity of JAK enzymes in T-helper cells. This reduces the production and release of the chemicals involved in allergic reactions, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms.

What are the benefits of Apoquel?

One of the main benefits of Apoquel is its rapid onset of action. In many cases, dogs will start to experience relief from allergy symptoms within hours of taking the medication. This can give much-needed comfort to pets experiencing severe itching and other allergy problems.

Another benefit of Apoquel is its targeted mechanism of action. Unlike other allergy medications that suppress the immune system more broadly, Apoquel specifically targets the immune cells involved in allergic reactions. This means that it can be used to manage allergies in dogs while minimizing the risk of side effects associated with broad-spectrum immunosuppression.

According to a post published in dailypaws.com, Apoquel is frequently given by doctors for treating allergies in dogs since it has fewer adverse effects than steroids and immunosuppressive medicines like prednisone and cyclosporine. It can begin working to relieve irritation in as little as four to twenty-four hours.

Precautions and Side Effects

While Apoquel is generally safe and effective for managing allergies in dogs, it is important to be aware of potential precautions and side effects associated with this medication.


When giving Apoquel to your dog, make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other drugs he or she is taking, as well as any underlying medical concerns. Apoquel side effects may be more severe in dogs with specific medical disorders, such as liver or renal impairment.

Moreover, Apoquel should not be used in dogs less than 12 months old, as well as in pregnant or lactating dogs. There is currently limited information on the safety of Apoquel in these populations, and the potential risks and benefits should be carefully considered before administering the medication.

Side Effects:

While Apoquel is typically well tolerated, several possible adverse effects should be avoided. The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

Apoquel should be given to your dog orally twice a day for the first 14 days, then once daily for maintenance, according to the most recent recommendations from the manufacturer’s official website. It may be used with or without meals, although if taken with food, the risk of gastrointestinal side effects may be decreased.

In rare cases, dogs may also experience more severe side effects, such as:

  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Tumors or cancer
  • Increased liver enzymes

It’s crucial to get in touch with your veterinarian immediately if you experience any of these more serious side effects.

It’s important to bear in mind that Apoquel may have an impact on the immune system and increase the susceptibility of dogs to diseases, such as fungal diseases and demodectic mange. It’s important to call your vet if your dog experiences any new skin lesions or strange symptoms while taking Apoquel.


In conclusion, Apoquel is a safe and effective medication for treating allergies in dogs. Its targeted mechanism of action allows for fast and precise relief of allergy symptoms without suppressing the entire immune system. While there are potential precautions and side effects to consider, working closely with a veterinarian can help ensure that dogs receive the appropriate care and monitoring while taking Apoquel. 

With careful use and monitoring, Apoquel can be an invaluable tool in managing allergies and improving the overall health and well-being of dogs suffering from this condition.

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