[Update] Apoquel: Dog Miracle Drug With a Dark Side
Part One: A New Wonder Drug for Itchy Dogs?
When you have a crazily itchy dog or cat, everybody suffers. Patients in this state often keep you up at night and drive you crazy during the day dealing with the mad itch.
Scratching, biting, losing hair, skin red and inflamed, these guys often stink, ooze sticky moisture from their skin, and many can’t get comfortable long enough to take a decent nap, let alone sleep the night through.
Talk about a pain for you and your loved ones!
At the base of wildly itchy animals is the immune system, which is working overtime, but malfunctioning.
“Dysregulated” is a term used in the scientific papers.
(We have to insert a wink here because immune system dysregulation is entirely a manmade disease. More on that later.)
Interestingly, most look right past that important manmade point and seek to “fix” the itchy beast with powerful drugs.
Enter the latest anti-inflammatory drug to make a splash in the veterinary market: Apoquel (oclacitinib).
And lest you think I’m recommending it, you’ll want to read on for the details about why an abundance of caution is recommended before you plunk down your hard-earned money and start your dog down a potentially dangerous path.
Apoquel is not for puppies. Or cats or people. It’s Apoquel for dogs that we’re talking about.
Born from the loins of the world’s largest drugmaker Pfizer, their former division Zoetis is now the “animal health” giant that brought this much-touted wonder drug to market in 2014.
How big is Zoetis?
$4.34 billion in revenue in 2012, before Apoquel had even hit the market.
Stops Itch FAST!
The claims and even the actual results in itchy dogs are amazing.
Provides onset of relief within 4 hours. Effectively controls itch within 24 hours.”
After you’ve lost sleep for weeks on end and tried everything offered you by Dr. WhiteCoat and Dr. Google without success, wouldn’t this sound like heaven in a pill?
Apoquel: How Does it Work?
Ah, now you’re asking a smart question. I love it when you do this.
How Apoquel works is the key to why you need to be smart.
Smarter than the marketers, smarter than Zoetis, and smarter than Dr. WhiteCoat, who’d be tickled to sell this to you.
(He, like me in the old days of conventional medicine, hasn’t likely read the research on safety or efficacy. He’s just taking his Zoetis rep’s word for it: it works! But guess who did the research… and for how long? A: Zoetis! 30 days!)
Can you say “conflict of interest?”
Pull up a little closer to the campfire for this part, because here’s where the story gets good.
Why is my Dog so
To know how the drug works, you should know first how The Itch works.
Here’s what a board-certified veterinary dermatologist says causes The Itch:
- Flea allergy dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Food allergy dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Sarcoptic mange
- Demodectic mange
I really, really wish I was making this up. (He’s merely listed itchy diseases, nothing about their causes).
But, while that explanation is seriously lacking in the “why?”, the part he does get right is this:
That’s been true for about 15 years now. Hard insurance data tell no lies.
Remember that wild and crazy immune system, spoken of earlier? The one that’s off the rails, acting all whacky and dysregulated?
That’s what Apoquel is acting on. It’s being called an “immune modulator” by the experts.
That’s an enticing way of calling out its action.
Sounds suspiciously benign.
Keep reading though, and you’ll see that it’s anything but.
In Part Two, I go into how that dermatologist really missed the larger point of what causes itch. And how to work to truly prevent this maddening disease from wreaking havoc on your own animals. As you might guess, prevention in a real sense will trump giving a drug to try to control this painful disease.
For now, here’s a brief description of how this “wonder drug” called Apoquel works.
First, an important understanding. While it might seem like we know a lot about the immune response, there are still large swaths of mystery we don’t yet comprehend.
By its very nature, this is one complex system! If we didn’t have it, we’d have been lost as a species a very long time ago, right along with our pets and our livestock.
That said, we know there are lots of messenger molecules involved.
And sweeping events called cascades, where the right trigger (a virus, say) causes a series of chemical messages and events that, when all is working well keeps you and your animals out of harm’s way.
“Yo. We Need to Talk”
One group of immune messengers are called cytokines.
These small molecules are produced by a wide variety of cells, and they signal other cells to do something like come to the scene of infection, let loose their chemicals, take part in signaling others, dump antibodies, etc.
You’ve likely heard of some cytokines before.
- Tumor necrosis factors
When inflammation is triggered, these chemical messengers call in the troops. It’s time to heal!
(More on inflammation in context here. It’s not the enemy, by the way.)
Enter Apoquel (Oclacitinib)
A couple of words hidden in those names. A whole class of inhibitory compounds man has invented have “inib” at their end. Short for inhibit.
And “quel?” You get that one.
Chill out this hot mess of inflammation!
So, this drug seeks to stop a piece of the inflammatory chemical cascade by interfering with certain enzymes called kinases, or JAK in the literature, which stops some cytokines from doing their thing.
And it works!
But like all things that “work,” we need to look a bit deeper if we want to raise truly Vital Animals. “Work” can mean cure but it more often means palliation:
Palliation means, while the medicine is being given, the symptoms are relatively controlled. The animal is no better overall and once the drug stops, the symptoms return. In the meantime, the disease is slowly growing and getting less likely to be able to be cured.
Usually, there’s a price to pay in long term health when we interfere with Mother Nature, and this drug is no exception.
Apoquel and Long Term Safety? Not So Much.
My Texas colleague Dr. Ron Hines has done a brilliant job of cataloging feedback from animal owners actually using this drug.
You, dear readers, have also contributed many, many of your own experiences in the comments on this article.
When you read past the glowing reports of “Hallelujah! Peace at last!” you start to pick up a theme.
Those who’ve been using this drug for a while are seeing two common problems. Variations of these occur in most all drugs, in fact, not just this one:
- Side effects
- No longer helping as much as it did at first.
Here are a few real people, real dog problems I highlighted. You’ll see more if you dig further.
8 months on the drug, Bishon
The drug has given my dog (four years old) a quality of life I never thought was possible. He also receives an allergy serum injection every ten days. However, for the past several weeks his nose has been running constantly and as of late he has been gurgling rather than breathing. Two days ago, his nose was bleeding. I stopped the Apoquel immediately and will see the allergist this week. Most importantly, two days after I stopped the Apoquel, his nose dried up, no more running and no more blood. I cannot help but assume that the Apoquel was the cause of his misery.”
6 mo. on the drug, Mini Dachshund
She has gained almost 3 pounds, and has become very yeasty and smelly. She also has pain going down stairs and playing. In reading about Xeljanz (a human variation of Apoquel) in an advertisement in a magazine, I noted that this drug is an immunosuppressant. Yes it works for the itching, but I am concerned about the changes in her health since taking this drug.”
1 year on the drug, Mini Schnauzer
Curly has just been discharged after 4 days in the hospital. He was hospitalized due to a mysterious 105ºF fever, lack of appetite, huge papilloma lesions in his mouth, vomit,and abdominal pain… It worked only in the beginning, and now it barely provides some mild relief to his itch; he chews his paws raw and now his face and legs and tummy itch a lot, too…
So here is our challenge: It seems that Apoquel has greatly contributed to weaken Curly’s immune system to the point that his platelets and also his red blood cell count is considerably low. At the same time, he is experiencing very little relief by taking it. The internist believes that continuing the Apoquel any further (would) wreak havoc in his immune system, that we can only expect more papilloma lesions, further inflammation of his lymph nodes, lower platelet cell cell count and so on.”
Also of note, this drug is not labeled for cats. Or pups under 12 months old.
Hmmm. What are they telling us in between the lines here?
Can Apoquel Cause Cancer in Dogs?
Before I share some real dog, real people experiences on that, let’s make sure you are aware of something.
Did you know that, for decades now at least, immunologists have known that you and I and every animal on the beautiful blue planet are making “mistakes” in our cells every day?
They are called mutations.
Mutations happen during cell division, which is pretty much a non-stop process in a living being. When you’ve worn out a liver cell or you’ve got to knit a cut back to normal closed skin, it’s cell division that makes this possible.
But, like all biological systems, cell division isn’t a perfect process.
Some “oopsies” happen, and the copy comes out wrong.
Some mutations are harmless, some, when certain genes are involved, cause runaway cell division way past what’s necessary.
The result? Tumors.
Tumor cells are in me and you and your dog right now
The understanding of those steeped in immunology is that it’s our immune system that is the sole reason every mutation that starts running wild in cell division doesn’t create cancer.
We likely have regular battles waged on cancer cells that never become tumors.
Our immune system correctly “saw” these cells as foreigners.
And called in the guard, like white blood cells, complement, interferon, natural killer cells, etc.
And like those kinases, known to be great communicators that help coordinate the attack on the wayward cells leaning towards becoming cancerous.
What’s Apoquel good at?
Taking out some of those kinases, remember?
Is an immune communication breakdown possible, when we mess with the kinases?
I’d bet on it.
And, it’s as if Zoetis never got the memo about how important our immune system is to prevent cancer:
APOQUEL may increase the chances of developing serious infections, and may cause existing parasitic skin infestations or **pre-existing cancers** (emphasis mine) to get worse. — company literature
Isn’t that what we’ve known about for all these decades?
They are ALL pre-existing until they get a green light to grow, aren’t they?
Let the Apoquel Dogs Speak
Here’s a handful of the many comments that say that’s likely far better than I could:
Linda, young German Shepherd
My 4 year old gsd was on it for itching. She died 2 months later with lymphoma
Carley, 7 year old Aussie Shepherd
Do either of your dogs have hard lumps in their lymph nodes? Unfortunately my dog was diagnosed with lymphoma after using apoquel. I’m in the process of collecting more data if there is a connection because my vet brought it to my attention (not the vet that prescribed the apoquel) my dog is a 7 year Australian shepherd lab mix and has been completely healthy and happy minus his allergies. In comes the apoquel and then the lymphoma it’s hard to not think it is related
Bruce M, Boxer
My sweet boxer Daisy turns 5 in 10 days. She has had allergies for virtually her entire life, and we have tried a variety of diet changes and treatments. She got a prednisone shot in May, and it lasted about 3 weeks. A clerk at the vets office said they could give us “something” in a pill form, and it would last longer and has proven to be very effective. It’s a very good vet practice, so we trusted them completely.
On June 23, I began to give her the “pill”. It was apoquel. Within a week, the lymph nodes under her jaw began to swell. Took her to the vet the next week, and the needle aspiration was inconclusive. It turns out her lymph nodes were swollen behind her legs as well. They did a biopsy, and we were informed today that she has lymphoma. She also defecated pure blood today.
I asked the vet, “did apoquel expedite the cancer that was in her body”? He said “yes”, because it compromised her immune system and allowed the cancer to take over.
Dan, Bedlington Terrier
Our dog (Bedlington) had horrible grass allergies. He would scratch himself bloody. We put him on Apoquel because he could not sleep from all his scratching. It was a wonder drug and his itching stopped after 24 hours. His coat came back, and he was a new dog. 2 months later he had a benign cancerous skin lesion on his nose that had to be removed. Wish we had connected the drug to that problem. 4 months after that he developed squamous cell carcinoma in his lower jaw and died 3 months later.
Too Good to Be True? I’d Put Money On It.
So, a big caution here, as with all “miracle” drugs.
If it’s interfering with your dog’s immune system, and running out of gas after a certain period of use, is there any hope that it will cure your dog’s itch?
Of course not.
As you’ve learned, if you’ve followed along for any length of time, drugs never cure chronic disease.
Want more? I’ve got a Free Report for you outlining alternatives to Apoquel that work without negative side effects.
Click the button and grab yours now:
Apoquel Alternatives Report
Part Two: Apoquel Side Effects
In Part Two of this series, we look at the real causes of The Itch, and immune dysregulation.
Neither of these fell from the sky and happened to land on your poor innocent dog, as you likely have guessed.
Tell us in the comments below if you’ve had any experiences with this “wonder drug” called Apoquel.
We rescued a one year old staffy in 2016 who had terrible allergies. She would break out in these giant hives and always had itchy feet and would scratch and chew herself raw. Her first vet prescribed Apoquel and basically called it a miracle drug. And it was at first. It was the only thing that stopped her itching (we had also tried limiting her diet and medicated baths etc). We kept her on it on and off for a year. On her second birthday, we found a lump on her chest right over her mammary gland. We took her into the vet and when they aspirated it, the results were inconclusive. However, because the lump was located over her memory gland, the vet suggested immediate surgery just to be safe. Thankfully, we took his recommendation because after biopsy, we found that it was a mast cell tumor. She had to have a second surgery because they hadn’t gotten it all in the first round. I had this gut feeling that apoquel was the cause of her cancer. She was only two years old!! And it’s the only thing I could think of that would cause something like this. We took her off it and asked the vet about the connection. He basically said that there’s no way they could prove the connection, but because she was a bully breed she was predisposed to these types of cancer. The only thing he would admit was that since she was predisposed there was a possibility that the drug could have sped up the process. Regardless, I trusted my gut instinct, and we kept her off the apoquel and I started doing some research. This was five years ago and the drug was still fairly new so there wasn’t a lot out there, but I did find other people who experienced the same thing I had with their otherwise young and healthy dogs. I also went to the actual brochure they give you with the medication and in a little semi hidden pocket in the middle of the brochure, there was a print out detailing all the testing they had done on the drug. The print out said that in their testing, dogs under the age of six months had died of pneumonia and several of the dogs in the test group had developed mast cell tumors just like my dog. They also listed side effects, such as ear infections, which up until that point I hadn’t connected with the drug for my dog. She always had so many allergies, I assumed her ear infections were related to those. But since we have stopped the use of Apoquel, she has not had ear infections, and she also has not had any recurring mast cell tumors. At the time of her surgeries, we were told that as a bully breed, she is predisposed to these types of cancers, and that most likely she was going to have recurring tumors over her life. Fast forward to now when she’s seven years old we have not had any more tumors (even though any bump or lump we have aspirated right away because we’re terrified of losing our pup.) I am a dog walker, and one of my clients is a seven year old Rhodesian Ridgeback who was just diagnosed with a heart murmur and found that he has the early stages of an enlarged heart. He has been on apoquel for the last few years and he has the same recurring ear infections my dog had and now this with his heart. Back in 2017 when my dog was diagnosed, I felt like a crazy conspiracy theorist over the apoquel but now all these years later, seeing how many people have had similar experiences with their dogs breaks my heart. I believe this is an evil drug and that it’s killing our animals and I’m so glad I listened to my gut versus my vet about taking her off the drug all those years ago
Apoquel isn’t ALL doom and gloom.
We have a 7 yo GR who has been on apoquel since he was 1.5 years old.
We tried food allergy testing, went to an all raw diet for three months, removed items from our home . . . he was chewing up his feet and legs and they were getting infected. He also had a nasty ear infection.
Final conclusion was an allergy to fleas, dust mites and chicken.
Our GR now eats Fromm duck variety food and takes three 16-oz Apoquel pills per day. (That’’s nearly $300 per month for (one of) our 4-legged children), plus annual vet visits).
Do I wish there was an alternative? Absolutely! But i also wish there was world peace.
There was/is no way for our dog to live a quality life without apoquel.
I hope you’re right but my poor sweet little Westie took it for 6 yrs w/no problem then started throwing up and not being able to eat. Now she is starving and can’t eat anymore. There are alternatives that are not drugs. I felt like you do,
now. . .all I have is regrets and anger at big pharma.
Same here in The Netherlands with our American Bully Named King ( almost 7 years)
Allergic for many things.
Different foods, pollen, Even grass.
From eight months till now almost 7 years he gets apoquel daily. In winter he gets 1,5 a day…at summertime max. 3 a day.
His quality of live improved a lot … So maybe the conclusion is…Better live shorter without itch and infections then live longer with it.
We do not regret it at all to use apoquel and made his last 6 years a better live. And even If he dies of cancer next year….
We love our King, and will not let him suffer.
I don’t think it’s as simple a choice as either 1. Live with the horrible itch or 2. shorten life (and cause more serious disease) with Apoquel.
It pays to look deeper and seek out a qualified homeopathic vet if your animal is already in the throes of allergic disease (the #1 reason dogs see vets, for the past couple decades).
Homeopathy, in the hands of a serious practitioner who uses little else, can cure the allergic state. Then, you’re not only not doing the harm that the Apoquel causes but you’re also not left playing Whack A Mole, trying to find non-allergic foods and avoiding the environment.
I explain how to sort out the qualified homeopathic vets on this video: https://youtu.be/XyEklB8W6M0
What is your position in regards to Cytopoint? Safe or harmful? Adverse reactions seem commonplace as this biologic affects the immune system. Zoetis claims are certainly different from that of many dog owners. The placebo group wasn’t that much different than that of the primary drug, Lokivetmab.
Veterinarians receive “Reward Points” for signing up clients/dog owners. Do Vets have a Code of Conduct or is this rather common in your profession?
I appreciate your objective inout.
I have a rescue dog that was fed adult kibble, vaccinated for EVERYTHING, microchipped and spayed at the shelter at 3 months of age.
It took years to heal her gut and control most allergies but in the fall she was miserable. A couple of apoquel tabs to test and the vet then put her on Cytopoint as it was safer, he said.
But in my estimation, cytopoint cannot be stopped as quickly as apoquel, its IN THEIR SYTSTEM. I have her now on raw food, but she still has seasonal allergies. She will chew and lick obessively once the irritants fire up.
I now give her 1/2 of an apoquel as needed. It works for a minimum of 1 week. SOmetimes, depending on the weather, it will work for a month or more, quieting her irritation and allowing her skin to heal. Sometimes I can control her irritaiton with Zyrtec. Bathing helps for about 20 minutes.
Its a heartbreaking thing to see a farm dog not able to lay in the grass, so the apoquel, I feel, in extreme moderation, is less of a danger to her system than the “safer” Cytopoint.
My vet seems to agree.
I’ve blogged about Cytopoint and share your concerns.
Vets have a code, similar to MD’s, but they are both in bed with Big Pharma for the most part. Pharma is at every meeting, sponsoring free luncheons, breakfasts, and all manner of gatherings, plying vets with food and/or booze, while looking for more sales.
And yeah, I trust the comments that come in on both these drugs way more than the “research” that was done in house by Zoetis, Merck, etc.
I have a nine-year-old American bulldog, part boxer, and he was itching himself to death. It was driving me crazy as well. so I got my cousins veterinary to come to my house and he didn’t even look at the dog look at his feet. He said in the chair from a far and said he had podo dermitis and would have to be on apple quill the rest of his life 16 mg a day because he weighed 80 pounds ! yes, they cost me $250 for 16mg pills. So I was wondering why you have to give your dog three of them a day of the same that my dog took? how big is your dog? anyway, it’s been like four years that he’s been on it and now he has domectic podo dermitis which is cause by immune system not working and I feel like he got the Demodex really bad from the weakens immune system from APOQUEL. I also feel little like cysts or bumps around his leg and in his chest which really freaked me out ! after hearing and reading, so many articles about the auto immune, not working after taking up a quote I totally blame it on that !! I started him on it, because his feet were itching and looked terrible and I felt so bad that he had to feel this way but it was a relief in the beginning because the itching was driving him crazy and driving me crazy at the same time because I hate to see my animal hurting and uncomfortable !! it’s been four days since I took them off Apoquel and he was itching like crazy again ! not even any kind of ice gel pack or neosporin or aquaphor would help on his stomach! no, he never ever had anything that bothered his stomach and recently he’s been scratching like crazy !! I’m taking him to the vet this week as I’m retired and I don’t have that much money and all my money so far so far that I have had extra has gone for any kind of cream any kind of benadryl to help soothe him.
since he has Demadex now, and never had it before I feel like the immune situation has made it out of control as I have read in many articles. did Demadex has multiplied because of no immune system. i’m really pretty mad that the vet recommended this for my dog.
now, another thing is that somebody told me that chewable Bravecto cures demodex the best. He also has an abundance of yeast which is another immune problem. right now I’m only going to shampoo him until I see the vet. I washed him today when I got home with some Shampoo for mites and ( i wish i could add pictures ) this was not a benzyl peroxide shampoo. It was a different medicated shampoo, but it worked for today. I’m getting the benzyl peroxide shampoo until I see the veterinarian. after the shampoo, he did not lick his feet, but he was still scratching his stomach, but so far stopped. He’s 9 years old now and I don’t intend on losing him !! after Frankie started getting the demodex mites really bad on his paws where he even his toes are swollen, red and partial hair loss on them !! 😢😡I have seen some hotspots on the body, but I’ve taken care of those. This drug Apoquel for me has turned out to be SO BAD ! The hotspots was really had me checking out everything about Apoquel because he’s never had that before and he got some on different parts of his body and it worried me ! they were a little tough hair and if you remove the hair, there’s a circle like a quarter that’s bright red ! I had never ever seen that before, so I cleaned it off with povidone iodine on it to clean and then put neosporin and kept checking it!! when he got a few of these I really started to wonder. now the backs of his front legs have some thing on it and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s eczema. I don’t know if it’s psoriasis I don’t know what it is. I kind of understand your use of it for your dog because it’s so annoying rattling. Disturbing to have your dog be itching but you don’t know what it’s doing to your dog internally.
I don’t know about anybody else in this world but if you yourself had an itch or had a problem you would take care of it there’s so many people out there that just say oh he’s OK but they don’t have that itch and it’s very annoying and painful !! thank you for letting me speak out. Damn these drug companies that put out drugs that can do this horrible immune problem to humans & dogs for $$$ !! (Thank you for this article!)
Ms. Maria D.H.
My boyfriend and I lost our pitbull Lilly only a few months ago from lymphoma developed within a month of taking apoquel. She was about 10 and healthy other than severe allergies, testing revealed allergies to grass and human dander. We thought apoquel was really helping her until the lymph nodes behind her legs enlarged, then her neck and groin followed. We stopped it immediately. We tried everything to keep her with us and after 6 months of chemotherapy and getting her cancer into remission it came right back. It makes us angry this terrible drug is still out there and we were not given a single warning of possibly side effects especially death by cancer. We said goodbye to sweet Lilly girl who is finally at peace and not itchy but we can’t help but feel robbed of our time with her from this terrible drug. We warn anyone who ever mentions it.
My 14 yr Chihuahua Tolly was put on Apoquel Jun 22. Sept 22 diagnosed anal gland cancer. I stopped Apoquel. My Tolly is suffering Rhinititis. Tolly is suffocating, struggling to breath because of Apoquel. Apoquel is killing my Tolly. Drug should be illegal and banned. I hope to be apart of a class action lawsuit against them. Patntolly@gmail.com
Hi – My dog Buddy (staffy cross breed) was only on Apoquel for 1 or 2 weeks to relieve some severe itching. He was 14 at the time and is now nearly 16.. however i do believe that the drug caused him to go deaf, it was too sudden to be just down to his age in my opinion. My vet did warn me there were some side effects to the drug but did not really go into what they were, she was convinced that the pros would outway the cons due to his age at the time. He was in a bad way for a couple of months around the same time as the itching.
He suffered horrendous toilet issues and was constantly licking at his paws which she advised was probably arthritis in his joints – I really thought he was not going to survive much longer. I changed his diet to Royal Canin Gastrointenstinal after a couple of months on boiled chicken and rice. He still takes a daily CBD capsule (my own research for his arthritis) and a B12 vitamin which she said he was lacking in. I think i have been very lucky after reading all of this. I’m so sorry to hear about all the other poor animals that have been affected or died after taking this drug.
My healthy 12 yr old chorkie had an itch allergy and was given apoquel, as soon as he was on the medicine he was thirsty, up in the night needing water and the toilet, he was then diagnosed with kidney disease, then pneumonia and he died… all within months. I hate this medicine! I truly believe apoquel killed him.
What are your thoughts on Cytopoint as an alternative to Apoquel ?
Cytopoint: High Tech Answer to Your Itchy Dog?
Is it OK to take Apple coil and Seidel point together
My shitzu was diagnosed with lymphoma after taking appoquel* and my vet informed me of a drug called fenbendazol (panacure C) and it took 3 months but the lymphoma is gone. This also works on people please research it.
Stay away from cytopoint.
My dog got fatty tumors within a month.
Beware af ANY meds you give your dog.
Try human grade diet and different protein.
Honestly I wouldn’t give and vaccinations I don’t have to, even rabies.
Nothing that’s put in your pets body is properly tested.
Beware. I lost 2 dogs after getting stuck in a hundreds of dollars a month battle, for years with apoquel, cytopoint among other “symptom” treating medications.
My sweet 4 year old GSD was put on apoquel and died 3 weeks later – she made this deep guttural noise and I had to drive over an hour to the only after hours clinic that would see her. By then she was passing melanic stool so I knew she had an upper GI bleed…she succumbed to hypovolemic shock because the vet wouldn’t give IV fluid in her vein…as an ICU RN I have been so guilt ridden for failing her – I miss her so much
I wish I would have done my research. I trusted the vet who was trying to help my miserable, itchy, pulling get hair out 8-year-old German Shepherd. She started it in October 2021. It’s not May 2022 and she’s had so many uncontrollable seizures that she has brain damage and is a shell of the dog she once was. It’s possible there is a tumor in her brain but a CAT scan for a dog in rural Arkansas is over $3,000. I am trying to make her last days as comfortable and loving as possible, but I know she won’t be here for more than a couple weeks more. Two different vets have told me there is absolutely no way that apoquel had anything to do with it. I don’t want to ever have another dog companion again, how could I ever trust another veterinarian again after watching my dog decline so quickly. From being the sweetest and cutest fluff butt, to legs so we can wobbly she can barely stand, she can’t see and she can’t hear. I’m devastated.
My little chihuahua mix Bella developed Pemphigus in January. Misdiagnosed as atopic derm she was given cytopoint and multiple courses of antibiotics…to no avail. Not the right diagnosis. A steroid shot helped immensely when we saw the on call vet but our regular vet would not give her steroids as he felt this was pyoderma. More antibiotic shots and hydroxyzine.. All frustrating as I practice human dermatology myself and initially I felt she had a blistering disease, like pemphigus. Fast forward to a Dermatologist Vet who biopsied and confirmed pemphigus. High doses of steroids rapidly cleared the active lesions and crusts. Now on steroid taper and apoquel BID for two weeks, just started the 3rd week. She was like a miracle dog last week, happy again running around. Her hair is starting to grow back. Overnight this little dog is completely lethargic, won’t get up for her food, and when she does get up she is limping terribly. We are stopping this drug today. Thanks for the wake up call….I know how the JAK inhibitors work in humans but they may not work for our pets. I hope I have stopped this soon enough.
Dear Dr. Falconer,
Thank you for this article and thank you for being a breath of fresh air in an otherwise horrible money-making industry that is our modern-day veterinary medicine. It infuriates me to see what has become of this industry, especially here in NY state (down state, LI).
I two have been down the apoquel train. Luckily my dog did not have cancer as a side effect however she did get diarrhea, ear infections and vomited. After doing research I didn’t like the apoquel and took her to a certified dog dermatologist. All vets said it was food allergies but the dermatologist did a test and found out she is allergic to human skin cells, every grass and pollen imaginable. The dermatologist put her on immunotherapy which take two three months to start working. That was 7 years ago now and I have an old dog now that is still loving life. Go see a certified dermatologist for dogs to stop the itch and scratch.
Thank you for writing this article. My cattle dog mix Maxwell went on Apoquel in January 2020. He immediately developed a very rough wheeze/cough, and i took him off.
Unsure if the wheeze was caused by the Apoquel, we restarted it a couple weeks later when his itching resurfaced. The wheezing started *immediately* after he digested the pill. I took him off, and didn’t think any of it for a couple months.
Then, Max got a bump on his leg in March 2020. It was a malignant mast cell tumor. He had two surgeries to remove it, and was thought to be doing well for almost a year.
Maxwell then started limping in June 2021. Bone cancer. He was gone within two months.
He is the most amazing dog I’ve ever known. There will never be any better. I am sure that Apoquel caused his first cancer, and probably his second. Gone far, far too soon. He was only seven.
Been reading about the connection between Apoquel and cancer since he was diagnosed in 2020. I told my vet what happened, and was pretty much brushed aside because I’m not a veterinary professional.
But the evidence is obvious. Thank you for writing this article, I will be sending it to my friends so their pets’ lives aren’t cut short like Maxwell’s was. A total, complete shame on the vets prescribing this and the manufacturer for continuing to make it under the guise of their biased study.
My 7 year old German shepherd was prescribed Apoquel for skin allergies. I am usually very wary of all pharmaceutical drugs, but stupidly gave this drug to him because my Veterinarian said it was “safer than Prednisone.” 5 months later he had to have a splenectomy. Two months after that, he died of hemangioma sarcoma. Before Apoquel, he was healthy and his bloodwork was perfect. Aside from allergy, he was an active, happy dog. I didn’t know this until recently, but he was misdiagnosed by the Vet as having contact dermatitis and suspected allergy to chicken. Turns out he had Malassezia.
I’m 100% convinced Apoquel killed my dog. I am riddled with guilt for recklessly giving him that drug. I’ll go to my grave regretting that. 😥
My 10-year-old beagle started at the quill in October 2021. She would lick her paws constantly and the vet thought she had some type of allergy to something in the yard. I didn’t think anything of it and put her on this expensive medication but it immediately stopped the itching. By the beginning of January she had developed a large tumor on her leg and started limping. Pathology on it indicated it was benign. The vet removed it with an extensive surgery that included skin grafts and over 100 sutures along with three times weekly surgical wrapping at the vet. That also removed for tiny tumors right below the benign one that same day. That came back from pathology as sarcoma. Within two weeks she was covered and two weeks later she died. She was perfectly healthy even at Christmas. I have videos of her running and chasing my Doberman and opening Christmas presents. She went downhill very fast. I am now convinced it was the Apoquel.
Apoquel killed my beautiful Belgian x border collie.
From healthy to liver cancer within months.
I’ll never forgive myself for giving her this poison and if I hadn’t become disabled I Would have given her the salt baths that cleared her skin within 24 hours.
I’ll go to my grave riddled with guilt , hating the vet who misdiagnosed her and for giving my precious girl Apoquel. Please try salt baths !
Your story really touched my heart and I too have a dog(rescue) labrador, who came to me with £300 months vet bills mainly apoquel 16mg
I’ve had him 5 months and he’s had a period of 5 weeks prior to his 1st vet visit without any meds and I wouldn’t have taken him to a vet for the conditions he’s listed to have!
Is apoquel really that bad? I’m only learning this today
Please feel free to email me
Cottrella249 at gmail dot com
We have owned Airedales since 1989 and our latest (4th) developed itching, licking and scratching when she was about 18 months old. She ended up with a backside like a Baboon and licked a strip from her back which looked liked raw steak. It was utterly heart breaking. Apoquel was prescribed and she has been on it since, 2 x 16 mg per day to begin with, but we have titrated that two half a tablet just before bed and half in the morning and her coat is now thick and glossy – zero licking or scratching. She is now a happy, inquisitive, loving, naughty and highly intelligent princess. Her diet is cooked veg, sardines and chicken, with potatoes, rice and pasta for bulk, she weighs in at 28kgs. She has no, repeat no doggy treats. I strongly believe dry food whatever the “quality, hypoallergenic etc” was the root cause of her problems with its’ super concentrated “stuff” in it. Having said that her aunt (our other older Airedale) eats dry food. The Princess gets no doggy treats at all however “natural” they claim to be. Will she ever be off Apoquel, maybe but if not I would never, ever, allow any dogs to go through what she went through. I am not aware of any scientific, clinical trials that have documented, demonstrable, credible links between Apoquel and cancer or any other life threatening conditions. If your dog is itching and scratching and simply won’t stop look at diet and environment for sure but do not dismiss Apoquel like some numpties still dismiss CVOID-19 vaccines !!
Ah, Airedales. I had one at home during my high school, college days, and what an amazing dog Jake was. Of course, in those days, he was barely vaccinated. It wasn’t the crazy “norm” we have now, where vaccines are often pushed yearly. He ate Purina Dog Chow (we didn’t know any better) and was never sick.
I blame the vaccines far more than the food, as the food can be changed to balanced raw food and a certain percent of allergic dogs still will suffer. I call allergies “immune confusion,” and there’s nothing like injecting foreign viruses (or mRNA for that matter) right into the body, bypassing all the natural defenses Mother Nature has provided for millennia, to confuse the immune system.
So, let’s hope the “other shoe” never drops for you and your buddy.
And, if you don’t think anything is real under there are double blind studies, you’ll wait a long time to find any like you suggest. I think it’s wiser to look at the mechanism of action of this drug and listen to the hue and cry from so many who’ve seen nastier diseases than the itch emerge after the drug started further messing with an already disturbed immune system.
I just had to put my dog down, it killing me,and to find out that it was probably the apoquel that did it, makes me feel like I did it
Oh, Wendi, I hear your pain. I just want to assure you that this isn’t about a decision you made for your dog. The vet you put your trust in made that decision for you. And why wouldn’t you trust your vet, right?
You did the best you knew to do and followed that seemingly hopeful veterinary advice to get your dog out of the downward spiral of chronic itchy allergies.
It turns out the vet was not telling you the risks inherent with Apoquel (which is wrong, but also all too common in vet medicine). And now you’ve lost a dear family member.
Bottom line, take time to heal from this horrible grief (see my free Bach Flowers for Animals course for some natural helpers, made for humans — it’s yours when you join the VA Pack, also free). And please, please: Don’t blame yourself. This was not your fault. Know this from the depths of your heart.
All my best, and may this loss spur you on to a more natural path. That’s the greatest tribute anyone can make to a loss like this. WF
My dog is on day two of apoquel and he’s getting so much relief. How do we get to the bottom of what is bothering him? He eats Answers raw food, drinks filtered water. We don’t give flea & tick meds and have decided no more vaccines. How can we figure out if it’s food, environment, etc?
Take him a certified dermatologist for pets. It’s literally their main field and they can help you figure out exactly what your dog is allergic to.
Hi Dr, can apoquel cause heart enzymes to go higher than normal, my dog has a heart murmur, and his heart enzymes were very high
Thanks Will. This will save me from the pain of unessasary loss
Please do not blame yourself for the loss of your family member. That blame falls on the veterinarian that you used. I was a veterinary technician for over 25 years and retired because I did not like seeing where the industry was heading. I am of old school thought process if it isn’t broke don’t fix it! Too many vets, like doctors, do zero research into the meds they prescribe. They get many incentives to prescribe those medications, fact! Like how I treat myself, I now treat my animals the same way, as holistic as possible. Research is now our best friend because we cannot rely on doctors and vets to look out for what is in our or our pets’ best interest. Just like you having to be your best health advocate, you must be your pet’s best health advocate as well. I got into veterinary medicine back in the 80’s and it has changed and not for the better sad to say. Sorry for ranting but I hate to see folks beat themselves up over something because they trusted someone that was supposed to do the right thing. Sometimes the hardest lessons are the best teachers. Hang in there and know that this was NOT your fault.
Hello Wendi, I just had to do the same thing to my 3 year old boxer I got for my 50th bday. She was the heart of our life even though we have grandkids. She too was on opoquel for about a 1 1/2 year. I miss her terribly. I know the pain you are feeling right now and how I feel like I did it. That is something I feel like the vet should know as well b/c they recommend this medication and the fact that boxers are prone to cancer she should have know better then myself and it is probably the same for you too Wendi. Try not to blame yourself to much even though that is easier said than done. Bless both of our loveable pets.
I am so sorry you lost your dear Maxwell. Thank you for sharing your experience and thereby allowing him to save other dogs’ lives (possibly mine).
My dog is suffering from itchiness. You recommend that anti-inflammatory like Apoquel could be a remedy. Are there any side effects of using this drug?
Shaun, no, I clearly do NOT recommend Apoquel. Read the article thoroughly and read the many, many comments, the majority of which speak of cancer after use of Apoquel.
That “side effect” is worse than The Itch, don’t you think?
So what exactly should we do for our dogs then, sir?
Download the Apoquel Alternatives Report from this article.
I have a Yorkie that will be 16 in December. She is on Apoquel. I’d like that report. I have had similar experiences to those listed here. The most concerning is weight loss She is a tiny one to begin with. She has lost 1 pound (normal weight for her is 4 lb. She doesn’t eat much and has had bloody stools and vomits if she doesn’t eat. I believe she has a chronic stomach ache from the medication and the reason she doesn’t want to eat. Her labs are really good which surprises me. She is also deaf and nearly blind. It’s hard to know if that is age related or something else.
Go to a pet certified dermatologist discover your dog’s allergies and specify you don’t want any immunosupressant drugs as part of the treatment plan. Regular vets are cool, but you want heart surgeon not a brain surgeon to do heart surgery. Same applies to skin allergies.
We started our American Bully on Apoquel on Tuesday December 7, 2021. Exactly 1 week later he started vomiting. We got some antiemetic medication from his vet and got the vomiting stopped. He refused to eat but he was drinking some water. We were frequently giving him 10 ml’s of pedialyte and Gatorade as well. He seemed to start coming around. Wednesday night/Thursday morning he died in his sleep. After researching Apoquel, I blame it on them 100%. My family is devastated!
I wish I had seen this article before I started my 10 year old Golden Doodle on Apoquel. He was only on it for 3 weeks and started acting lethargic and wouldn’t eat. Then he would act fine and eat and then return to not eating. Blood tests revealed anemia and an ultrasound. found tumors in his spleen, bladder and possibly liver. Could Apoquel cause this cancer to form that quickly or was the cancer there and Apoquel caused it to spread? He was only on it for about 3 weeks. We are heartbroken. We couldn’t take the risk of a tumor rupturing and having him have a horrible death. Please let me know what you think. I would never give this drug to any dog!
Hi Donna, I’m so sorry to hear of your senior with cancer. This, like all cancers, began well before 3 weeks ago. You, your dog, and every mammal on the planet has cancer cells arising on a daily basis. That’s decades old understanding. Why aren’t we all filled with tumors and dying of cancer then?
A: we have immune systems whose job it is to ferret out “foreigners,” and that includes cancer cells.
Any drug or intervention that interferes with that well tuned, natural system that’s evolved over millennia is a risk. Apoquel is clearly aimed at stopping part of that system.
Thank you for. your quick reply. I am torturing myself thinking I gave him a drug that caused his cancer. If I understand correctly, he had this cancer already and this drug possibly caused it to spread more quickly. Is this correct? I was hesitant about giving it to him but he vet assured me it was safe. Now I feel I gave him something that caused this aggressive cancer.
Our boxer Tyson had allergies starting very early on, maybe around 1 year old. For a while, Benadryl was working well enough. After a year or two though, his allergies got worse. Apoquel seemed like a new miracle drug when the vet told us about it. At the time, we didn’t know any better, so we went along with it. Tyson ended up taking Apoquel for most of his life. About a year ago, the Apoquel seemed like it wasn’t working well anymore, and he was incredibly itchy all of the time, so we took him in to see the vet in December. That’s when the first mast cell tumor was discovered. I started researching Apoquel and immune suppression. I was in nursing school at the time, so the light bulb in my brain finally came on telling me that it was a bad idea for him to take this immune suppressant drug for so long. I immediately stopped giving him the Apoquel, and I was terrified, because I just knew that it was too late and the damage had probably already been done. He started receiving monthly Cytopoint injections right away to help with the itching. Tyson had surgery in January to have the mast cell tumor removed, and when biopsied, it turned out to be high-grade and very aggressive. He was still very itchy, even with the Cytopoint, and he had just been prescribed steroids as well, but I knew that steroids should not be used long-term either. So then I did what I wish I would have done years ago… what I WOULD have done if I had known any better… and I took him to see a dermatology vet for allergy testing. The dermatology vet gave him Temaril-P, a combo steroid and antihistamine, which did help the itching a bit. I had been on high alert for any lumps after the mast cell tumor was discovered, and I started to notice lumps all over his body. I knew it was his lymph nodes, and I began to worry about lymphoma. On the next visit to the dermatology vet, he checked the lumps that I had found… and I was right. Tyson had cutaneous lymphoma. We decided to continue the Cytopoint injections and continue giving him steroids to keep him as comfortable as possible, because we knew that he would only have a few weeks left at that point. Tyson ended up with lumps all over from the lymphoma, but what got him in the end were painful tumors on his front paws that opened up and began to drain and get infected. The last week that Tyson was alive, we had to change wound dressings twice a day and give him pain medicine regularly. But we also got to do everything that he loved. We took him for ice cream, for dinner at our favorite local bar that has a doggie menu, multiple trips to Petco. We fed him all of the cheeseburgers and fries that he wanted. And then we scheduled an appointment for at-home euthanasia. He passed away in my lap, in his favorite spot next to the window overlooking the backyard, with our cats and other dog and his favorite toys all around. I will never give another dog of mine Apoquel for as long as I live, and I will always tell my story and discourage as many people as I can from giving it to their dogs. I know that boxers are prone to cancer to begin with. But I just KNOW that Apoquel killed my dog. He was filled with tumors from not one, but two different types of cancer. He also had chronic ear infections and skin infections in his paws. He had constant GI issues. We also weren’t able to board him at all in the last 3 years that he was alive, because the last 2 times that we ever boarded him, he got so sick that I thought he might not make it. Looking back on it, I can’t believe that I didn’t put 2 and 2 together, that this drug was making him susceptible to infections, and that it was probably the reason for so many of his problems in the end. Tyson was 8 years old when he died.
Sending you love. We lost our 7 year old shepherd mix in a similar way (mast cell and lymphoma) last month. He had been on apoquel almost 3 years and we had no idea of the side effects until the tumors were visible, we immediately took him in and they immediately took him off apoquel. He lived for 4 months after that visit with Multiple interventions.
I’d put tumors way out in front of “infections” as the far more worrisome side effect of Apoquel’s suppression of dogs’ immune systems.
I bought my mom a French bulldog. She put her on Apoquel when she was about 8 years old. I was really against it. After this her dog started getting UTIs. I kept saying it was related to the Apoquel. My mom got mad at me and argued and insisted the dog needed it as it prevented skin allergies. I told her that’s not even what it’s for, it’s an anti itch pill. I told her they it suppresses the immune system. I asked her vet about it and he said he never heard of dogs getting more UTIs from Apoquel. Fast forward 2 years and her dog (whom I took over care for) now has TCC which is a form of bladder cancer. I’m very devastated. I should have trusted my instincts and pushed even harder for her to stop using it but she was so adamant about it. She still won’t believe me. So I’m now taking excellent care of the dog but she is dying of cancer and needs to be diapered as she lost complete control of her bladder and has blood in her urine every time she pees.
My dog was on this medication and became I’ll. Fever and now eating. It turned out her gall bladder had burst. Is it possible that Apoquel had any role?
I don’t know, Stacy, but it sure is unusual for a gall bladder to burst. Have you asked why it burst? Was a tumor involved? I’d want more information than this before you accept “burst” as the reason your dog is sick.
Anything that affects the immune system is going to affect animals differently. Trouble is we don’t know what is just waiting for a weakness in the immune system to attack the body. My 8 year old Beagle has been on Apoquel for about two months now. I see changes that are concerning from upset stomach to shedding on hair. Her moods are definitely affected as well. Sounds like the company did limited testing and now we as pet owners our pets have become the long term test subjects. I do praise the drug for doing what its suppose to do. My dog got so bad she practically chewed her paw off requiring a month with a cone. But if the risks are significant I don’t think this is a good long term drug.
6 yo cattle dog Lucy went on apoquel 2 weeks ago. She started acting weird. Today she attacked our senior boarder collie for no reason. Both have lived together for years with no incident.
My pit bull had severe allergies since he was a puppy. We tried everything them eventually his dermatologist put him on Apoquel. He said there was no data on any side effects at the time as it was fairly new on the market. It worked really well at first and then his itch slowly started to come back but we kept him on it as the Dermatologist said he would be worse off of it. We had tried everything else including immunotherapy.
In April 2019 my dog was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in his hind leg. He halos has 2 masses in his abdomen. We removed the leg right away and did the 6 sessions of chemo to help kill the remaining cells.
He did well for 2 1/2 years until last month. The abdomen masses which we were told not to touch had grown a lot and were invading other organs and his rib cage. Within 6 days of our last Oncologist visit his health declined very quickly. We said goodbye to him last Monday. The hardest thing in the world. I believe it was the Apoquel that did it.
I started giving my American Bulldog…Duke …Apoquel on Friday, August 13, 2021. He weighed 134 pounds. Gave him 2 tabs a day for approx. 2 weeks. I tablet on Friday, August 27, 2021. Saturday, August 28th he woke up dragging and threw up about 4 times until he collapsed. We rushed him to the Emergency Vet in Greenville, SC. Got him there about 3:00 p.m. they immediately took him in, set him up on IV fluids, did bloodwork, X-rays of stomach, hooked him up to EKG machine. Heart rate at 200, blood pressure low. Finally stabilized him but kept him there overnight. He died at 12:50 am. Prior to this day, Duke was a healthy Bulldog with skin allergies but not sickly. We ALSO CANNOT HELP BUT BELIEVE THAT APOQUEL HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS. We have contacted the manufacturer. Now finding alot of information on line as well.
My Border Terrier was on 8mg of Apoquel per day for about 7 years since she was about 16 months. It controlled her itching pretty well. She had her upper ear canal removed when she was 3 due to constant infections, She had a terrible eye infection about 2 years ago. The vet said she had a low immune system. then last April she started taking seizures. The vet just couldn’t get them under control she was on about 8 epilepsy tablets a day and was like a zombie it broke my heart. I had to let her go in December as they were happening every couple of days no matter the dose, the vet suspected it was a brain tumor.
Not sure if it was the Apoquel or if she was just unlucky with her health.
Hey Keith, I’ll submit that health or disease, in any species, is never a matter of luck. It’s a matter of decisions we make. Always.
You don’t seriously believe this statement, do you?
It would imply that in a terminal cancer-stricken child, either the kid or their parents made a decision that resulted in said cancer?
What decision would that be; the parents choosing to conceive?
Agree. This Dr just lost any credibility I’d allowed him with that statement.
Amen Dr. Falconer!! I agree 100%. What we put in our and our pets bodies is vitally important. If you mess with your body, rest assured your body will pay you back. And chance are it won’t be good. I had a dog on Apoquel maybe 10 yr.s ago. As soon as I found out about that stuff I took him off of it. I have to add that the vets office was surprised when I said no more of that garbage for my dog. So much of what people consume today is worse than unhealthy, it’s almost murder or suicide. Sorry for the drama…. Some things that are supposed to be food, are not. The same for our pets. And when it comes to medicine, I hope people will research and learn more about what they use. It could be a matter of your pets life or death. I am not saying to not trust the vets and doctors, I am saying do your homework and learn as much as you can before you decide to take or give a medicine. Better to have wisdom than to cry later. Thank you so very much Dr. Falconer for all of your input and sharing your wisdom. Sure wish you were where in our area. I also hope that more vets will see the difference you make in the world.My dog Wilson thanks you too!!
He is not blaming the personal decisions of any kids or parents. He made it very clear already that dog owners are not to blame either. It’s the fact that we place our trust in professionals who assure us of safety, whether it’s a drug, lawn care chemicals, gmo foods, etc. When he says “decisions we make” I believe he is referring to decisions of humanity in general. That is my take on it. I really think that those offended by his statement have misinterpreted it. That being said, with the rise of the internet, it is now easier to share stories and dig deeper into some of the misinformation we are told. So how long can we keep denying any personal responsibility?
Our 11 year old dog was on Apoquel for a little over a year and a half before she ended up dying from lung cancer back in 2017. Quite a while before the cancer was diagnosed we took her to the same veterinary clinic that prescribed the Apoquel because she had a visible lump in her chest area. We were told it was “just a lipoma” and that she had several others around her neck. They never put two and two together that she was on Apoquel. Most normal veterinary practices also do not know according to the manufacturer’s package insert, animals should be monitored for things like tumor growth of any kind while on the product! I have learned the hard way there is no such thing as a magic pill and caution everyone to think twice before considering this for your beloved pet.
My dog was on it for a few years. Died at 8 years old from lung cancer as well. I can only speculate, but I think it was the apoquel. Dogs don’t just get lung cancer for no reason.
My 7 year old bulldog was on it for five months and then died of lymphoma. Horrible, I know better than to trust Big Pharma. I’m so sorry Scarlett.
I too believe apoquel caused my 8 year old yellow lab to get lymphoma. We need to get this drug off the market .
I have a dog that struggles with impulsive/compulsive behaviors that appear as aggression. I have done behavior modification on him for over two years and his major backslides appear after he’s gone on apoquel for his severe allergies. A friend mentioned that there was a link between the drug and aggression and it dawned on me that a recent increase in behavior coincides with a recent three week course of apoquel. The last time he was on it, he developed a large lump in his face, and prior to that he grew a large lump that had to be excised from his arm. I’ve been researching because I’m convinced there’s a correlation between excessive adrenaline outbursts and histamines as there seems to be a connection in the behavior related to it.
Really interesting, H. I wonder if, in addition to its known effects on suppressing immunity, Apoquel also creates gut dysbiosis. As you likely know, the gut-brain axis is well established, so behaviors can change when the flora gets disrupted. You’re one of a handful who’ve brought behavioral changes after using this drug to my attention. Likely more need to watch for this and report in, especially if they are periodic, on/off users of Apoquel.
I also think that apoquel has affected my dogs behaviour. He is a sprocker, only 2.5 years old, was always very playful and submissive with all dogs and humans, but after being on apoquel for a month now, he has become aggressive to most dogs and some humans, and has become very territorial. I have an appointment with his vet next week so I’ll be asking for more information. I’ll also be taking him off apoquel as I’m sure there are more natural ways to stop a grass allergy. If it was ever that at all.
My pug/Boston mix is 13 and has been on apoquel for about 2 years. No physical abnormalities yet but she is a different dog. Extremely hungry all the time, aggressive and paces all
The time. She’s just not the same mellow girl I had. Apoquel turned my dog into a zombie. I’m done!! Thanks for posting everyone.
Thank you for posting— we’ve observed those very same behavioral changes in our 13 year-old mini dachshund. She’s so determined to find things to get into/ingest, we’ve found it necessary to ‘baby-proof’ our house.
Thank you for all you do. My 11.5 year old cattle dog mix has been on Apoquel for a couple years now and just this week had to be admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove his spleen which was full of masses and misshapen as such. During surgery they also found his liver to be covered in masses, 60% of them being on the left outer lobe, which they also removed. Biopsy results this week- praying it’s benign but I’m not feeling good about it. He’s super resilient. We adopted him at 4 months; at his 1 year checkup we found that he had heartworm that he likely came up from Georgia with but hadn’t shown on his initial evaluation since it can take 6 months to show up. The heartworm treatment triggered myasthenia gravis and he spent a week in the hospital. He refused to eat when we got home so I had to force feed him wet cat food so he could take his meds. He was on immunosuppressants for maybe 4 years after that until I insisted we wean him off. He did well for a bit and then developed horrible allergies to the point of licking his paws raw. We tried a few different things before he went on Apoquel 2 years ago. I am always skeptical of miracle drugs… but also at 9 years old, we figured if it gave him a few good years, that would be worth it. Well. Here we are a couple years later and I shouldn’t be surprised, yet I was in complete shock this week when his hind leg weakness and malaise on Tuesday turned out to be tumors on his organs rather than a myasthenia flare. His dermatologist upped his Apoquel dose two months ago. I didn’t think he had gained weight, but she said he had moved into a high dose class, and that that was likely why he was recently red and yeasty in his groin area. He’s on Heska allergy drops as well. I’m committed to never giving him the Apoquel again and am about to go look at your other page detailing what to do. He has many environmental allergies (including human dander 😳) so I’m not sure how well we’ll do, but I’m willing to try anything. Thank you so much for all your info provided here. Hoping for good news this week. Losing my best friend is no way to start 2021 (not that it’s ever a good time).
This is indeed a sad story, J, and perfectly illustrates the cost of conventional medicine: things get more serious the longer they are used. Your hopes for good news are likely to be dashed, I’m afraid. You’ll want to prepare yourself for the reality ahead, which is not going to be pleasant. With your permission, I’d like to excerpt some of your story to help others avoid a similar fate. As these stories of conventional failures are more widely known, perhaps we can save more animals from suffering like your guy did. I wish you both all the best with what’s ahead.
I wish had I found this website before my Sarge (German Shepherd, 8 years old) died suddenly and traumatically from hemangiosarcoma. He was insanely healthy (maybe a tad overweight) up until January 2020. He had his yearly vaccinations November 2019, including his 3 year rabies vaccination. All bloodwork came back w/shining stars. I thought I was being a responsible owner, doing the best thing for him. He was also on simparica & interceptor plus.
January 2020, he suddenly could not walk. After multiple tests a large mass was found under his groin area. It turned out be an abscess. When I say large, I mean, the size of a grapefruit. But you couldn’t see a thing from the outside of his body due to the location of it under his hind legs/up close to his spine. The specialists even thought he was originally suffering from degenerative myopathy – that’s how hidden this huge mass was. Thankfully, it turned out to be an abscess. Unfortunately, while the ER vet was draining it, it ruptured. He went septic and got pneumonia. He recovered – after $15k, oxygen for a week and 3 weeks at the ER! The weird part is, they tested the bacteria in the abscess (located INSIDE his body) and the results were skin infection. I can’t remember the exact name.
For about 2 months post-recovery, his nose, fur, etc all looked healthier than it had in years. My puppy was back…then a month later he was itching like crazy, crusty nose, hot spots galore, ear infections etc. Cytopoint shot didn’t help. I switched him to dry prescription food. Didn’t help. My vet referred me to a dermatologist who put Sarge on prednisone, Apoquel and an antibiotic. I WISH I had researched Apoquel. I spent thousands on Sarge; he was the other half of my heart. How could I not research it? I would NEVER have given him Apoquel if the dermatologist had said to me “this will wipe out his immune system”. It’s my fault for not researching, I know. But I trusted these people….
Sarge was on Apoquel for just over a month when he went from seemingly normal with tons of energy to unable to get up, heavy breathing, white gums. The ER vet said he had internal bleeding and hemangiosarcoma was the diagnosis. His heart stopped before he could undergo surgery to stop the bleeding.
I called his dermatologist on the way to the ER vet – never suspecting cancer, thinking it was an adverse reaction to the meds – and they said oh no, his meds wouldn’t do anything like that to him. The dermatologist called me after she got news that Sarge had passed to provide her condolences and she said “cancer, it all makes sense now”…insinuating that his skin issues were from pre-existing cancer. After reading up on Apoquel, and stumbling upon your website, I am so disgusted with myself and his dermatologist. I feel like I failed Sarge – I feel like I put him into the grave myself. Almost 2 months since his passing and the guilt is so overwhelming.
Thank you for your work – I have no doubt that you are saving the lives of countless animals….Animals who cannot advocate for themselves….Members of the family that are at the mercy of their owners. Thank you.
Dear dear Rachael, I am so sorry for your loss. And I understand why you are feeling so bad. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. Darling, you are beating up the wrong person. You were trying to help Sarge!! He had some issues that would be difficult for anyone to manage. You would have done anything to see him not suffer. What you have done, is learn a valuable lesson about medicine and some doctors. And you are helping others by giving your testimony. The responsibility lies with big pharma not alone but also with the doctors, vets in my opinion. You cannot tell me that the vets don’t know what is going on with this drug. There istoo much evidence of deathly sick dogs after using this medicine. So where do you go from here. I don’t have that answer for you. Not yet anyhow. I think these vets are taking advantage of people at the heart ache and expense of the life of their pet. Rachael if I may go one step further, please research medicine for yourself as well if you have been prescribed something. Especially if it is something you aren’t familiar with and even if you are, you can never have too much wisdom. I don’t care if it is an aspirin. You should know what it can do to you. Then you can have an educated conversation with the doctor about is the best for you. Also, the more you know about the medicine, the better you may be able to tell if it is working or something else. My heart goes out to you and Sarge knew you loved him. It will take time to heal the loss of Sarge. I pray you will have a chance to enjoy another love deserving pup one day. A Friend, Peace
Please don’t blame yourself. It was not your fault. You loved him with all you had.
I’m finding that conventional vets, as a rule, can not be trusted. Either bc they don’t care or they don’t want to do the research that they should, before prescribing meds. Especially medications that have not been on the market for at least 10 years.
I lost my English bulldog Lily on Oct 28th of this year to liver cancer..she was a week away from being 5 years old..she went from perfect at her Aug checkup, with normal blood work to sick in mid Oct..she had been on Apoquel on and off for 2 years due to allergies..even though the vet said it had nothing to do with the medication I have to wonder and will forever be cautious of that medication with any future furbaby!! ☹️
Oh, Tanya, I’m so sorry. No 5 year old should be dying of cancer in my reckoning. Not unless there’s been some immune system disfunction and that’s how Apoquel works, the Zoetis people admit that openly. They still, amid hundreds of reports of cancer after the drug’s use, aren’t interested. Likely too busy making profits to keep their shareholders happy.
Please remember Rescue Remedy can help with the stress and grief you may still be experiencing. I wish you all clarity when you decide to be a dog mom once again.
I too have a pet (14 year old Shih Tzu) who was started on Apoquel “for allergies”. He was having trouble breathing – no itching. Within 8 days he was found to have a “strange lump” under his left front leg during grooming. I took him to the vet and was told the lump was a lipoma and “nothing to worry about”. They told me at that time they needed to do a series of xrays to determine if his breathing issues were being caused by his heart and not allergies, so we scheduled them ASAP the next week. Upon taking the X-rays they noticed that he had “severe swelling in lymph nodes all over his body” in addition to cardiomegaly which had not been diagnosed prior. The prognosis is that it is most probably lymphoma and they give him 6-8 weeks to live. I took him to my prior vet whom I trust implicitly with my animals and was told at his age the process of diagnosis (aspirations/removals of lymph nodes all over his body) and the chemo treatments would be very hard on him and that it could likely cause a heart attack or stroke due to age and the condition of his heart. The swelling in his lymph nodes happened within a week of being on Apoquel! It had shut down his immune system allowing the cancer to run rampant in his body. Heartbreakingly, we have opted for palliative care so we could spend the remainder of his life loving on him as we are dealing with the sudden and certain loss of our beloved pet due to this drug. DON’T GIVE IT TO YOUR DOG IF YOU CARE ABOUT THEM!!!!
Oh, Tanya, this is indeed so sad and unfortunately, so common. I was immediately suspicious of the swelling’s location: there are lymph nodes in the armpits, and I’ve never found a lipoma there in 40 years of practice. Also, I don’t know anyone “removing lymph nodes” as a treatment for this disease (??!!). Might be time to explore a better vet practice…
Let me suggest adding powerful immune support to your palliative care: Canine Immune Complete. I had a Lymphoma dog who used a similar product (earlier, less powerful than our current one) whose nodes shrunk and had a nice 8 months of unexpected life, so worth a try. this is cancer of the immune system, so strengthening its ability to recognize foreign cells like cancer cells makes sense.
Your warning is sound, however: lymphoma appears to be the #1 “side effect” of this expensive, over used, poorly safety tested drug. And the company won’t be admitting that any time soon, as it’s likely their #1 profit generator. Happy stock holders, heartbroken pet owners. Spread the word, as every dog owner will benefit from knowing this.
My 8 year old chihuahua just died yesterday. We have to put her to sleep due to anemia and over enlarged spleen.
She had been in Apoquel for about 7 months, because she had severe itchiness in and around her ears, to the point of hair started to fall down in some places making her look like she had mange.
It was until last month when she went for her annual shots that she suddenly stop wanting to go out for walks and she went from an active and happy dog 🐶 to a bloating unable to move dog, who didn’t want to eat. doctor prescribed doxycycline and prednisone . After an ultrasound that by the way we didn’t see, he said that she had an enlarge spleen and some enlarged lymph nodes in her stomach. Vet told us that she needed a blood transfusion which will cost thousands and then a spleen removal surgery which I’m sure it cost thousands, too. Because the pandemic, we were not able to go inside the office with our dog which left me a bad feeling about the whole situation. I didn’t want her to die along so I arranged for her to be euthanized at home, also because I wanted our other dog to be there, they were very good friends. My ❤️ heart is broken and I missed my baby but if I learned something from this is that from now on I’m going to ask for all the literature that comes with all these prescriptions it is crazy that the vet just give you these prescriptions without any paper about second effects, overdose, etc.
Rest In Peace my sweet Angel, you will always live in our hearths.
Our 6 yr old GSD was put on apoquel for itching… she developed a tumor on her paw that was Benin. Her Vet increased the dosage which made me curious so I started doing research. We lived in India for years and believe in a more holistic ayurvedic approach. I took her off apoquel once I realised it was an autoimmune suppressor. She went through all the stages, incessant itching, yeasty ears with brown ooze, skin fungal infection (it has taken a year to clear that out with Ketoconozole and Apple Cider Vinegar & Olive core leaf) and tumors. The itching came back with a vengence after stopping Apoquel. Her first vet adamantly defended Apoquel, when I asked him if he would give it to his own dogs he replied that he would. My guess is his pets are not vaccinated every year and do not have these problems. We went to a new vet who started her on Cytopoint. She’s had 5 rounds of Cytopoint each one spacing further out. It’s been 24 weeks since her last shot. Progress considering at first they were 8 weeks apart. I’m hoping we are done with that for good. Currently she is taking pollen, ACV, Quercitin w/ Bromelien, Olive Core Leaf… Zyrtec and probiotics. This is almost a full time job. I think we have it under control finally. Thanks for your wise words and kindness towards our fur babies. If I am doing anything that you feel is anti productive please let me know. We did recently find more lumps near her mammary glands. I’ve started vibrational therapy and added chlorophyll to her water. She is too sweet to have gone through all of this.
It makes me sad that all of this was created by big Pharma to make more money and fuelled by Dr. Whitecoat to create more expensive procedures and pharmaceutical sales. What has our world come too? Is it all just for power and profit???
Noelle, you’ll want to read the Cytopoint article I’ve written (use the search box in the right column to locate it). Unfortunately, it’s another immune suppressive drug, so your hopes of cure are unfortunately misplaced. If you haven’t already moved off kibble (carbs feed cancer) to a raw diet, I’d do that ASAP. See both this page and listen to the podcast for help in that.
Equally important, I’d suggest powerful immune support teamed with a daily detox. All the best,
Our 7-year-old Red Golden died two weeks ago. She had a sarcoma tumor in her neck. She has taken Apoquel off and on consistently for the past few years. We didn’t know the side effects of this drug. I saw this article after she got sick. I wanted to post because I do not want this to happen to anyone else. We are so upset that we may have contributed to her getting sick by giving her this medicine. We know that Goldens are prone to get cancer, but we were shocked because she was still so young. We had another Golden that lived to be 13. So heartbroken and missing our beloved Sally!!
I believe most if not all itching is caused by the toxin overload in animals due to over vaccination and crummy diets-resulting in the immune system being overwhelmed. I used and am currently using advanced TRS zeolite spray topically and orally, and the itch is disappearing! Raw oozy wounds have disappeared. It truly is a miracle.
Thanks for this feedback, Karol. Sounds pretty amazing, and as my recent podcast episode revealed, we’ve used purified Zeolite as the basis of our latest all natural Vital Animal Detox, formulated by our own Dr. Scott Treadway. I suspect it’ll far exceed the TRS you mention, as it’s got a great synergistic component of well chosen herbs to assist in clearing toxins from the body. I look forward to hearing more feedback from our “skin cases” as more use our VAD product on a daily basis to “clean the machinery” of detoxification.
I lost my 4 year old healthy full pedigree Boxer after giving him Apoquel. He fought for his life for 2 months. We are heartbroken. Quickly developed autoimmune thrombocytopenia. Ended up on a cocktail of meds to try & combat multiple issues. To no avail in the end. Seek alternatives please!
Oh, Alison, I’m so sorry to hear this. How many doses had your boy taken before this developed? By any chance, had he had a vaccination or a HW “med” before he broke with the autoimmune illness that ended up taking his life? If Apoquel is associated with autoimmune disease, we need to catalog more cases. It makes sense that it could: it’s targeting the immune system to suppress it, that’s a given.
I applaud you for sharing this with us, as we need to hear more of these stories to better understand our risks out there.
Hi Will. Sorry I’m not sure what HW means. I’m happy to give you all the details if it’ll help anyone. He was in Apoquel for around 7 days. Went down hill rapid 1 day and I got him to emergency vet. He gave him IV antibiotics for a couple of days but his blood cell count was at dangerous levels. Eventually developed liver and kidney disease amongst other issues. A very distressing rime for our poor boy. Let me know if you need that info and I can share my email. Thanks for your response. I appreciate it. We are awaiting an autopsy too.
Oh, I’m sorry for the jargon, HW = heartworm “medicine,” also known to trigger autoimmune disease. If we can eliminate a recent dose of that and no vaccinations in the prior weeks, I think it’s fair to lay the blame at Apoquel’s feet. Or, more to the point, Zoetis’.
May 18 2020 I took my lab Mix, Roxy age 6 in because she was yelping when scratching her ears, or had been when I made the appointment the week before. By appointment time she wasn’t and they looked normal but she hadn’t had a checkup in a while so I figured why not. She’s always been a paw licker. She bites her nails. Never bled because Of this though. At her appointment the vet said she looked good. Noticed the lick stains on her pads and asked about allergies. He asked if I wanted to try something to improve her quality of life, so I said sure. He gave us Apoquel. She was to take it twice a day for one week then Once a day after that. We just got through the twice a day this past Monday. That night she started reverse sneezing. While I understand it’s normal for dogs, mine, and I have 4 dogs, very rarely do this, and never 15 times in a 12 hour period like Roxy has done. Took her back to the vet and they said that it couldn’t be a side effect from the meds because it’s not listed on the website. 🙄 So now we’re home. She’s still reverse sneezing though not as much. She’s still not acting like herself. He mentioned she had lost some weight since her last visit. 1.3 lbs in a little over a week. She almost sounds congested when she sleeps, but she’s always been one to snore. Have you ever heard of this as a side effect before? They actually suggested I increase her dose or add another allergy med on top of Apoquel when allergies weren’t even something I took her in for to begin with?! When I turned down another expensive drug and said Benadryl would be cheaper for me, they copped an attitude. Guess it’s time for a new vet. Her bloodwork was normal last week before she started on the meds. I’m just hoping and praying this isn’t something permanent.
My gsd age 4 was prescribed apoquel aged four for severe skin allergy August 15…. miracle skin allergy clear up… December 15 we discovered facial swellings and jan 16 Confirmed lymphoma… all lymph nodes swollen …. had to let her go before her 5th birthday May 2016 age 5….. will never ever endorse support nor allow this drug to be used on my dogs again which came highly recommended and with no forewarning of potential risks from our local vet
My 7 year old Jack Russell mix was at the vet all the time for skin allergies and infections from scratching so much. He was on prednisone as a puppy and it made him really sick so I wanted to stay away from that. So we tried Apoquel. He’s taken it on and off for the last few years, never really for more than a week or two at a time. Last week his lymph nodes swelled up and I was just informed today he has Lymphoma. I wish I had read more about this drug. He’s such a happy, fun, wonderful dog and now his life is being cut short but this drug and a very uninformed decision on my part. I was never made aware of any of the side effects but should have done more research myself on this awful drug!
My 7 year old bulldog has been on apoquel for a few years. I was told no side effects and have not seen any …until what seems like overnight. His lymph nodes under his jaw and on his hind legs became very swollen. The vet now says he has lymphoma and a short time to live. He is still eating, still getting around, somewhat playful at times. Do you think a holistic vet could do anything to give him longer?
Our Beagle was on Apoquil for 2 months now has interdigital cyst that will not go away in all four paws. Have tried heavy diesel of prednisone and 5 different antibiotics.
They need a lawsuit against them. My dog is suffering because of this drug
I just lost my best friend of 8 years. Bruno had severe allergies and had been prescribed Apoquel to help relieve him of his severe environmental allergies. Although the drug worked wonders and stopped him from itching, it caused him to develop large cell lymphoma. RIP Bruno! 🙁
I adopted my 12 pound Papillon, Jasper in the spring 2.5 years ago. I noticed right away that he was constantly licking his paws and he had goopy, watery eyes. I had him put on apoquel every spring into summer every year since to help relieve this. Four weeks ago, he was diagnosed with one of the rarest and aggressive forms of cancer in male dogs, prostate cancer. Less than 1% of male dogs get this type of cancer. I have been constantly asking …why him!? He is the sweetest dog I have ever owned, he’s earned his Canine Good Citizen Certificate and is a comfort dog to the elderly, he loves all people and pets. He is amazing!! He now has only weeks to live and he is only 9.5 years old. Papillon’s are suppose to live 15 – 16 years on average!! Now, I may have found my answer.
My story is not unique to many others on here. My little Yorkipoo suffered from horrible environmental allergies to the point of chewing his feet raw. After trying everything from steroids, OTC Benadryl, grain free food, prescription shampoo, fish oil and supplements to no avail, I too was prescribed Apolquel as an allergy medication and miracle drug. My boy was on a maintenance dose for about a year. Within that time he ran a high fever that the vet dismissed as a bug, he began gaining weight and the vet said I was over feeding him. Then he started getting warts and skin lesions and fatty lumps on his back near his hips. The vet said this was just an age thing. I didn’t buy it and started doing my own research only to find out that Apolquel isn’t an allergy medication at all, but an immune suppressant drug. I immediately took him off the drug, but the damage was already done. Within a year, he suffered from torn ACL’s that they determined were caused from Cushing’s disease, secondary hyperparathyroid disease, and renal failure. Yesterday I had to make the soul crushing decision to put him down. My heart is shattered and I feel like I poisoned my own dog. It is important to note that prior to apolquel the only thing my happy, healthy little dude suffered from was seasonal allergies. He would have turned 10 next month. This is a dog that had I not put on an immune suppressing drug could and should have lived to be 14 or 15 years old. I don’t believe in coincidences and all of these horror stories I’m reading have convinced me, although you won’t get a vet to acknowledge it, that Apolquel compromised my dog’s immune system and that is what let to him not being able to combat multiple irreversible diseases that left me no recourse but to put him to sleep and relieve his misery.
Now I’m the one suffering from the loss of my little companion and the guilt of putting him on Apolquel. If you are reading this and are considering putting your dog on apoquel, please, please I beg you to heed my warning, read, do research, ask questions and make the right decision, your pet’s life depends on it.
My dogs were siblings, beautiful, loving pitbulls..both started apoquel at the same time. Within two years, they died a month an a half apart. One from lymphoma, one from hermangio sarcomas on his heart. His heart. ( none of the other dogs from their litter have passed, and their mother is doing well )
I lost both of my babies just like that, it nearly destroyed me. I work in a clinic and was told “there are no side effects!” I hear this repeated to clients often.
Then I saw an ad on tv for Apoquel and the disclaimer about causing cancer made me sick to my stomach. My dogs would still be here if I hadn’t given them this medication, I have to live with that. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
On Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 11:14 PM UTC, Keith wrote:
No help needed. In nov 19 we took our corgi mix to vet for itching and were prescribed Apoquel. After 3 weeks she was feeling lethargic with mild pain trembles. Told we were giving her too much fatty food. A week later her liver was bad and gall bladder problems. Week later her gall bladder removed. Week after that it’s autoimmune disease. Apoquel isn’t worth it. She was much better with just an itch.
Our lab was trained to be a service dog. She is fantastic however, due to allergies the yeast on her skin and ear infections there are times she cannot accompany me, which is traumatic for her and for me. She was allergy tested, positive for an abundance of environmental allergens, dust, grass, trees etc. Failed attempt with allergy serum. Some success w/apple cider vinegar, nizoral shampoo baths, ovc allergy meds, and washing her feet after she had been outdoors etc.. Eventually had to resort to Apoquel. She has been on appoquel for 2 years w/breakthrough periodic yeast. We did this w/heavy hearts due to side effects however, a decision had to be made.
Put the blame where it belongs, not on the pharmaceutical companies that are attempting to help provide a better quality of life for our best buddies. Put the blame on the BREEDERS and the AKC for not monitoring, fining and shutting down the breeders who continue to breed knowing they will produce puppies who will be comdemed to an awful life. These breeders are only in it for the$$$$$. They do not care about the breed or the puppy.
Apoquel was a last resort. We continue using apple cider vinegar, nizoral baths and otc miconazole cream as needed. So far her quality of life has been dramatically improved. I know this will not last. We are attempting to provide the best quality we can for her while we have the pleasure of her company. I also found using a good quality baby wipe and wiping her down after we get home does help.
Hi there, I am not sure if its related but my 6 year old maltese/shi tzu x poodle was on apoquel for approximately one year before she was diagnosed with Endocarditis. She was misdiagnosed tho and was being treated for Immune Mediated Poly Arthritis. The dear little girl died in horrific pain as the lining of her bowels came away. This cost us $13,000 as the Advanced Vet Care struggled to bring her condition under control. I often wonder if it was the Apoquel that was responsible for her condition.
Oh, Nola, that’s horrible! The lining of the bowel acting like that suggests autoimmune disease was probably right after all.
I’m so sorry you had to experience this. Losing a 6 year old like this (who was likely only dealing with The Itch before this drug was prescribed) is so unacceptable! And I’ll bet you weren’t warned of Apoquel’s risk at all.
I wish you all the best in what has to be a horribly painful heartache about now. Thanks for sharing this sad take with us.
Our dog has been on Apoquel for several months now…once I found out how expensive the medication was I started doing research for cheaper alternatives or generic brands. Turns out, at least right now, there are no generic alternatives for the medication. I explained to my husband that the articles I DID find, were upsetting ( I found at least 3 articles) with revelations and warnings regarding this drug. We decided that our pup is 12-13yrs old and we just wanted him to be comfortable…the itching was getting worse and we were both losing patience with each other and our fur baby. So far…the drug has done everything that the article said it might…We’ve had to up his dosage and it does not seem to be working as well as it did. I am currently trying more holistic methods in an attempt to ween him off of the medication. Hope this helpful, best of luck to other pet parents…Don’t use this medication.
I was specifically told by my vet that Apoquel had “no side effects,” and I was desperate enough after trying everything else out there to believe it. My dog was on those damn pills for about 4 years and died in April of liver cancer. She was a 16-year-old Lab mix. I didn’t find out about the cancer risk until after she was diagnosed. I tried then to get her off Apoquel, but she wouldn’t go along with the herbal regimen I had found, and it was probably much too late anyway. I am angry at myself, angry at my vets, and angriest at Zoetis. I paid a lot of money to those greedy bastards to give my dog cancer. She did have several other issues, but there’s no question in my mind that cancer shortened her life. I should have known better than to have believed the snake oil.
I have a new dog now. She’d already had her shots when I got her from an animal rescue and she will never have another one. Or a heartworm pill. The only way I can even try to make up for my mistakes with my last dog is to do better with this one, and I intend to do just that.
They’ve been running Apoquel commercials on TV lately. No mention of the cancer risk. Shocker.
Still not sure what to make of all of this. First off, everyone’s guard should go up when seeing unequivocals and universal statements and generalizations bandied about. Homeopathy obviously has some good alternatives, but my gosh I’ve never seen so much science is bad sentiment (maybe I’ve seen it in the human anti vaxers but measles should thin out their ranks soon enough). Derogatory labels like ‘Dr Whitecoat’ and universal generalizations such as ‘vaccines cause immune problems’ should make anyone double check the information being provided. A good alternative is just that, an alternate path. My 4yr old Mini Schnauzer has been on Apoquel for 3 months. It has generally helped, but the underlying cause is still there and that is what I’m trying to resolve. My concern, as well as my Vet’s, is for the well being of my dog.
However one stop on this site and it’s not Apoquel ‘may’ not work for every dog, but instead it’s APOQUEL CAUSES LYMPHOMA!! Not surprising then that with my guard raised when I try and ‘square’ the advice being given on this page, my first search pulls up this very DVM being described as giving ‘egregiously dangerous advice’. So my search goes on. There may be some very good advice here, but now I have to process it through several ‘filters’ in order to verify I’m getting sound advice.
PS. If this site is purely a shill I’ll know by seeing this post being removed. But at least I can feel good that my common sense is well honed.
My boxer developed “allergies” shortly after her first rabies shot, at a year. We have run the gamut on dog foods, bathing aides, etc. After her 3 year rabies shot in 2018 she had simply an explosion in her symptoms. Finally in desperation we went to a new vet, she put Bella on Apoquel. We saw nearly instant results, itching stopped. 3 months after starting her on the Apoquel, she began to have neoplasms appear, 7 within just over a week. She began to display polydipsia, and polyuria. To the extreme. We immediately stopped the Apoquel. Her adrenal system is all screwed up, she is in renal failure. She is 7 1/2. She is such a happy girl, loves nothing better than being with my husband and I. Now we are looking at the loss of her. I am so angry that I didn’t ask more questions, and I am so angry that the vet didn’t offer any precautions about this drug. And I am incredibly sad to be losing my best friend.
I so hear your heartbreak, Lorna. It’s indeed a tragedy to lose a middle-aged dog like Bella, all from believing what you were advised to do by your vet. Your anger is entirely justified and hopefully, it’ll be the fire that sets you onto a new natural path so that Bella’s loss won’t be for nothing.
As I look at her history, the key point others can learn from this is that Bella suffered from her very first rabies vaccine with the commonest chronic disease in dogs: itchy allergic skin disease. It’s been the #1 reason dogs visit vets for well over a decade as I write this. To then battle that and hear that the vet recommended another vaccine while that sickness persisted is simply malpractice. ALL vaccines, rabies included, have a label in force saying the vaccine must be given “only to healthy” animals. She should have had a note added to her record: “Waived on all vaccines while ill.” Instead, her system went wild after the 3 year vaccination and the rest is history, all too often repeated in conventional medicine.
All my best to you and your family.
My 6 year old toy poodle cross has had terrible constant itch and sticky, waxy yeast smelling skin since I purchased her at 8 weeks due to bad breeding imo. She suffered with continual hot spots, hair loss and ear infections. She itched 24/7. We have had to regularly shampoo our carpets as she would caterpillar crawl on her tummy spreading her waxy stink. Was recommended Apoquel by vet around 8 months ago. It worked immediately and amazed us all. Her skin and coat returned to normal like a miracle and she and us could finally sleep through the night. Unfortunately her itching has returned along with her sticky yeasty skin, the poor love. I always wondered about this drug as it seemed too good to be true. After reading your article I’ll be taking her back to the vet and stopping this deadly drug as it’s not working anymore anyway. It all makes sense now. Just not sure where to go from here…
Bravo, Rebecca. I’m so glad you’re aware of the risk with this drug. Your best next steps are spelled out in my free Apoquel Alternatives Report (you can download it from this article, scroll up to find it). If this 6 year old has had this since 8 weeks old, I’d suggest seeing a bona fide homeopathic vet to get a true cure. I outline how to find one in the Report.
All the best to you and your dog.
My son’s GSD was healthy except for allergies. Got put on Apoquel for several months, which seemed to help for awhile. Then symptoms came back and took her to an allergy specialist. They do not like Apoquel and took her off of it and started her on allergy shots developed from her own blood. That seemed to really be working. Unfortunately, I think the Apoquel had already done its damage. She had to be put to sleep in October of 2018 at 7 years old. Was fine one day and the next she was super lethargic. My son took her to the vet and they determined that she was bleeding internally from cancer on her liver or pancreas. They did ultrasound to see if surgery would work, but said it was already spread and she would bleed out that night. So they made her comfortable so we could say our goodbyes and we gathered around her for a couple hours and loved on her and then they gave her a shot to put her to sleep. It was absolutely devastating. I truly believe that the Apoquel allowed her to get cancer that she wouldn’t have otherwise got.
My 5 year old mini schnauzer had been chewing his feet relentlessly for the past year and a half or so. We gave him benadryl once in awhile and sprayed his feet with vinegar, used a couple of ointments we saw on internet. We basically tried a lot of things without going to any kind of drug. Our vet had suggested if all failed that we try apoquel. Finally about 1 month ago he started taking apoquel. It seemed ok as he actually did stop going after his feet and did not seem to have any side effects from the drug. Last week he developed several lesions under the fur on his snout and I immediately took him to doctor. I questioned about auto immune and was told this drug would not effect his immune system. He has an ointment to put on his nose now and if it does not clear up a biopsy will be next. I have stopped giving him apoquel as of yesterday and now that I am reading this, my fears are pretty much confirmed. My prayer is that he has not been on this drug long enough for it to have caused irreparable damage. Is there anything we can do to help restore his immune system now? I am so sorry we ever put him on this drug. I am so glad I found this website today and so sorry for all the stories I am reading.
I have a six year old Pit mix, who suffered from uncontrollable skin allergies. I went crazy trying to keep it under control, switching food, paying for the tests, etc. My vet suggested trying Apoquel after a couple years of really bad atopic dermatitis. I had him on it for around a year. The Apoquel worked great, or so I believed. At first, it was like a miracle drug. No more skin or persistent ear infections. Last April he was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and I firmly believe that the Apoquel was the cause. Sure, his quality of life was much better than with the constant skin and ear problems, but I do wish I had never put him on it.
My 10 year old rough collie has taken APOQUEL on an off for about a year
On and off means a few days at a time and then I will stop as her itching (licking her feet continually) appears to quiet down.
She has also been having mini-strokes. I just last week connected the mini strokes to the APOQUEL. Each time she is on the Apoquel for more than 3 days, on the 4th day she has a TIA
At first I thought it was a coincidence and mentioned to my doc and the response was no . . . not a side effect. I STRONGLY disagree.
It appears Apoquel is effective if given once but given for a few days produces a TIA
What’s that look like, Suzanne? Sounds like you’re on to something.
My 9 yo Jack Russell has been itching her belly practically non stop for a week so I decided to get her to the vet. Previous to this itching, a few months back her belly pigmentation changed to black from pink. It’s now pink with slight darker areas. Anyhow I googled (as you do) and I read it could be a thyroid issue.
Mentioned this to the vet he said problems not and prescribed APOQUEL to relieve the itching.
While at the vet I also asked him to check over a lump on my girls chest, about the size of a sprout. That’s started small but has been growing, feels fatty when checked by a another vet a few months back and still feels fatty. But we don’t know for sure if it’s fatty or cancer.
So I booked her in to have it removed. By this point now she has been on APOQUEL for 3 weeks.
I took her in for her op app and they ran bloods beforehand and her bloods show a urea reading of 10.6 which the vet said indicate a kidney issue, Which can be made a whole lot worse by putting her under anaesthesia.
She’s had operations previously (around 4 years ago) and was put under anaesthesia and was fine, but bloods weren’t checked back then.
Now we have instead done a fine needle aspiration from the lump to see if it’s fatty or cancer.
I now worry that due to the vet prescribing APOQUEL, that if it is cancer it may have made it a whole lot worse for her. I also wonder if the APOQUEL could be responsible for the kidney urea reading.
My dog Sophie, an 11 year old West Highland Terrier was on Apoquel and it worked well on her itching when she first started taking the pill. However all of a sudden she had a seizure and then a few days later another one. I took her to her vet and they could not figure out why she had seizures after going through tests. I immediately stopped giving her Apoquel because I had a suspicion it could be the cause. The seizures stopped. Then about 6 months later on a routine checkup the vet discovered she had hard swollen lymph nodes. The vet drew a fluid sample from the swollen node in her neck and said she had Lymphoma. She was a fighter and lived 5 months after her diagnosis.
Now that I have read the comments of other dog owners that experienced similar results, I am sure that Apoquel caused my dogs cancer.
I found your article on Apoquel late one night while my dog was having seizure after seizure. He is 10 years old and has been on Apoquel for 8! He started having seizures almost 4 years ago and everytime he has seizures they increase his meds. He was on 5 phenabarbitals per day and I don’t have the second drug handy. When the worst bout of seizures happened 4 months ago (all night, 2 nights in a row) I did some reading and immediately stopped giving him Apoquel. I was told he would take it forever, had no idea it was supposed to be a short term solution. He was given Apoquel for serious hives and itching. Well within a few days I realized he wasn’t itching! I started weaning him slowly off his medications. He is down to 2 phenabarbital a day and still doing well (no seiaures). I am sure this has shortened his life. 6 months ago when he was at the Vet for seizures they xrayed his abdomen and said his liver is double the size it should be and his heart is enlarged. He has also put on 10 lbs in the last year. There was no reason for that I can think of except the added medications. I am currently looking for a Naturopathic Vet in my area. Your articles are so helpful! Thank you!
Wow, Sheryl, an amazing story of illness from drugging. And how adding more drugs often makes things worse. I’m so glad you’ve taken responsibility to stop the harm, and suggest your next step may be finding a qualified homeopathic vet, as the original itch will return, sooner or later. See my Resources page for the AVH list, and choose a vet who does 75% or more homeopathy and, if no one is near you, choose the variable of “telephone consulting.” That works very well with homeopathy. I did it for years successfully.f
Our Golden had terrible allergies. We tried a variety of options, but none got rid of all the itching. We finally found Apoquel and it was a miracle-no side effects! We had to keep her on it because every time we went off the itching came back. She was having a great life, until at age 6 she was diagnosed with lymphoma. We had insurance and were able to keep her going 17 months before it took her life last month. I will always believe Apoquel was a contributor to her cancer. I wish we would have tried harder to find another solution. We miss her everyday.
Can you just stop the apoquel or must the doses be slowly withdrawn?
AFAIK, it can just be stopped. It’s not like a steroid in that sense, but, like any drug that was just controlling symptoms, you need to be ready with a plan B when the symptoms return.
Our 2 year old Cane Corso developed a severe contact grass allergy at one year . We tried everything recommended by our vet who was very thorough but nothing worked . Prada cried and itched so bad she developed staph and her paws were swollen and she had blisters between her toes and ear infections , she also lost a lot of weight . We were extremely worried . Our prada was in big trouble over a contact allergy . We took precautions when letting her outside she had shoes to wear , she was bathed and rinsed thoroughly when coming back inside . We were so upset and just at a loss for what to do when our vet said we are going to try Apoquel . I had never heard of this medication and we had tried countless other allergy meds and many popular home remedies that work really well for a great deal of people, tea tree oil , coconut oil , apple cider vinegar , with no positive results we were extremely worried and had to try this option . I have to say within 2 days of taking the meds there was no itching !!! the vet also provided antibiotic for ears and staph . One week later she was running around the back yard like nothing had ever happened. Her ears cleared up her scabs healed her paws are completely back to normal and Just three months later she still does not itch and has had no side effects !! Absolutely No side effects !! and she is living a life I didn’t think would ever be possible for her , she gained her healthy weight back wants to play all the time and has endless energy . I’m am so sorry this medication has not worked for everyone but it has literally saved our dogs life !!! Best of luck to everyone . I hope this comment helps someone that is experiencing similar problems this is just our 4th month now taking med but it is working !!!!!
Scott, keep monitoring your dog. You will need to.
Our 8 year old Portuguese Water Dog has been itchy since she was 6 months old. She has limited vaccines since we don’t ever board her and she had a terrible reaction to the rabies vaccine in the past. We have done the grain free, poultry free, limited ingredient diet for years. Added fish oil and kids complained of her “smell”. After years of itchiness and prednisone every January we tried apoquel starting in January 2018. What a difference to have a dog that we could pet her head and relax vs insist we always scratch her bottom or see her scratching and chewing (no it’s not anxiety). 6 weeks ago, I scheduled a wellness exam and asked for a blood draw to check her overall labs since we hadn’t checked them since medication was started. She seemed fine – I just wanted to treat her like a human wellness check up. Abnormal labs were Calcium level elevated at 14.2 and liver value elevated at 563. Following the calcium abnormality vet asked for urine specimen to check kidney health. It was okay so recheck in 6 weeks. Labs on 5/8/2019 calcium 14.4 and liver value 921. After the labs 6 weeks ago I changed her diet to make sure it wasn’t linked to brand of food (figured some recalls take a while with dog food if diet was the problem). I did stop apoquel for maybe 3 total days mid way but didn’t want to change too many things to alter what was causing the abnormal labs and she was super itchy again. Vet called with lab results today and left message to do possible ultrasound or monitor labs.. I’m planning to stop apoquel and re check labs – after reading on this site . I’m not sure if apoquel is causing abnormal liver tests how soon they may decrease with discontinuing the med. Also, new in past year is a fatty mass on the side of her rib cage and warts (I was chalking up to aging but read this in others’ comments) Anyway, it seems we might be beginning the possible side effects of the apoquel journey and wanted to share in case others had tips to offer. Sad to see some have lost their dogs so soon after starting treatment.
Don’t ever put him back on Apoquel.
My dog has a mast cell tumor on his tummy after taking Apoquel for 3 weeks. I don’t think its a coincidence. I want the drug maker to take this stuff off the market. He’s never had anything wrong with him. I wonder if he’ll recover after we remove the tumor or are his cells damaged forever? I want to take the drug maker to small claims court, but after ready the one woman’s reply that they were threatening her, it sounds scary.
My dog just died of cancer after being on Apoquel for about 3 years. I had no idea. It worked for the itch great at first. Then became less and less effective. People are not able to make informed decissions because Zoetis is really good at deceotive marketing. My poor girl had to pay the price for their greed. I can only hope for karma.
Huge negligence, dogs with a history of tumors, lipomas, cysts, should not be on Apoquel. No dog should be on Apoquel.
My English Bulldog has been on Apoquel twice for what my vet calls “allergies.” It’s not itching, but rather he gets irritated ears from time to time. This second time my dog immediately starting showing strange side effects like licking the air, drooling, vomiting and panting. He even started licking bed sheets, and his own feet, (a lot of bulldogs lick their feet but mine never has). After witnessing this, I remembered why I took him off it the first time it was prescribed. He also has been diagnosed with very early stages of kidney disease (his kidney enzymes were elevated in his blood test, so we’ve put him on prescription food). So I wonder if it’s even safe given his kidney condition? My vet blames everything on allergies and it seems that the cure usually worse then the affliction. I would like to hear your thoughts… thank you.
I have a 16 year old miniature dachshund/beagle mix. He (actually, we) have been battling a sudden skin affliction that began 2 years ago. He had blood work done first to check for the possibility of Cushing’s Disease or a possible Thyroid issue. Fortunately, he didn’t have either issue. So, my vet felt that he had a yeast (full body by the way) infection possibly caused by his diet. We were feeding our 3 dogs Rachel Rae Nutrish for approx 3 years. We switched to a grain free dog food called Authority. We noticed that all 3 of our dogs had less of a bad breath issue after getting off of Rachel Rae as well as an indescribably strange odor my husband was certain he was starting to smell on our 2 younger dogs (both 5 years old). This whole issue with our older dog’s skin affliction came on fast & severe. He literally had patches all over his entire body that hair was coming off in large areas with the skin attached. The poor dear seemed to get relief when we would help him get the scaly patches of hair & skin off of him. In all my years of having dogs, I had never seen anything like this. He’s an indoor dog, so we even changed our laundry detergent to something for more sensitive skin to wash their bedding in. We bought some very expensive shampoo/conditioner from Pet Smart for dogs with yeast issues. That did help him improve quite a big but we haven’t been able to completely rid him of the problem this entire time. Two days ago, the yeasty issue spread to his penis & it seemed to have a bit of puss oozing from it. Took him to the vet yesterday & our dog was put on Apoquel for a 1 month trial. Our vet is very puzzled just as we are as to why we can’t completely clear our poor elderly dogs skin up. Right now it’s only on his ENTIRE left leg. He has no hair at all on that leg. Then suddenly his penis started flaring up with a rash all around it & a wee bit of puss I mentioned, not very much at all. But it was enough that I noticed it looked a bit like puss before I turned him over for a closer look. We trust our vet completely…..he has taken care of our dogs for 24 years now. Just like when humans have strange issues, it takes trial & error with different things to try to figure out the remedy. I trust that our vet has given us solid advice through this situation to attempt to figure out what we can do to fix it. He said that Dachshunds are prone to suffering from allergy issues as they get older. So, he’s thinking this is some kind of allergy that we need to try to treat from the inside/out instead of just trying to fix it on the outside. Because that hasn’t been 100% effective at all. I just went on line to look up info on this Apoquel pill. We’re at our wits end trying to figure this out. So, as I always have, I’m putting my trust in my vet of 24 years. At this point, taking into consideration that our elderly dog is 16 now, it’s a roll of the dice I’m willing to take. The vet just wants to try it out for 1 month & see if there is any improvement at all. With the negative things I’ve read about this drug, if it were my 6 year old Chihuahua having this issue, I’d be reluctant to try it…..but if she were in as bad of shape as the 16 year old dog, I still might give it a try but keep a very careful watch for the side effects I’ve been reading in the comments. At 16, he doesn’t have a whole lot of life left anyway. So, if this drug causes some insane illness that ends up being the demise of his life…..I don’t think I’ll feel like it’s all my fault that his life was cut short. He’s so old & I’m so tired of seeing him have this issue. I’m not tired of trying to help him, just tired of nothing seeming to fix this weird problem. He starts his first dose today, so all I can do is hope & pray for good results. Sorry if I seemed to ramble on, it just gave me a bit of comfort to spill my guts about my frustration that I can’t fix this as well as my concerns about possible side effects. Maybe he’ll be one of the success stories & I’ll be able to leave another reply later with all positive results. I can only pray!!
My dog just started Apoquel and it’s been a bit effective. My 50lb 14 year old dog was on 2.5mg of pred for 3 years with no side effects until he had a random case of pancreatitis. He couldn’t take it for a few weeks and we were contemplating putting him back on pred or trying Apoquel for the itch. Curious to hear which you think is worse 2.5mg of pred everyday or Apoquel. He needs be on one or the other and am now inclined on giving him 2.5mg of pred a shot again. He never had an itch ever until he had a rabbies vaccine at 11. We tried homeopath with a few vets. The best one recommended just keeping him on 2.5mg bc at his age, healing would be really slim. He’s on a homemade diet with a lot of free radical fighters. Curious on your thoughts of which you think is worse. Btw, the itch is unbearable for him and us so we have to try either.
Help me plz!! My beagle has a number of allergies and i hv just been advised for Apoquel..she gets puz filled like bubbles n she is itchy alwys..though this is not permenanent but keeps coming n gets wounds all her body with hair patches missing. The earlier drug was nt effective and we have been suggested Apoquel
Nagen, if your dog is on chewable flea pills or pesticide based drugs, that is what is causing the itch.
I have two dogs, a boxer and a French bulldog, both rescues, both came with terrible allergies, and the boxer was a walking, stinking, yeasty mess. We’ve had them for about 5 years, and they were both 4-5 year old adults when we got them. They were fully allergy tested at a world-class, university-based derm/allergy vet clinic, and the boxer, in particular, had over 30 allergy triggers. Her scratch array lit up like a Christmas tree. We tried diets , shampoos, washes, natural stuff, cyclosporine, a terrible trial of steroids, custom allergy serum, and Zyrtec. We finally tried Apoquel – 3 1/2 years later, they’re still on it, and down to a dose every other day. My boxer no longer stinks, my Frenchie no longer gets hives, and life is peaceful. They were both absolutely miserable, and so were we. FWIW – my boxer had a small mast cell tumor 4 years ago, and no repeat tumors. We are diligent in checking her skin, and she loves those all-over rubdowns. We have no plans to stop Apoquel.
Bonnie, LOL. LOL. LOL. LOL. LOL. YES, Veterinarian, pharmaceutical sales rep. LOL LOL LOL
My wonderful shih Tzu has problems, small fatty tumors here and there. Our vet said they should not be a problem unless they grow. She also had been itching, licking, and scratching a lot and would not stop . I tried Benadryl, hydroxyzine, amitriptyline, etc..nothing worked(they put her to sleep, of course so does rubbing and scratching her when she starts her thing..lucky I do not sleep much so I stop her at night) Started her on apoquel and within 2-4 weeks she changed..started staring into space and laying down and not moving but looking only in one direction..I stopped the apoquel and she seems to be mostly normal again. The vets I took her to would not give triamcinolone shots which worked on my other puppy and she passed away at 16+years. Now what do I do to convince a vet to give her vetalog shots? Tried a lot of natural remidies and they do not help. Help!
I tried the shot (cydopoint?) we have been taking the Apoquel now for 4 months and it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
The vet did blood tests gave me a long list of food allergies so I went to a special diet and still no relief. The vet says now to do the oral drops that will help him build a resistance to his allergies.
If this works why did they have me spends almost 1,000 on the other medications?
I’m at my wits end with a 140 pound itchy German Shepherd.
Hey Janet, It’s important to understand that conventional medicine cannot (never could, never will) cure chronic disease. And that’s what you’re dealing with. Grab the Apoquel Alternatives Report and get a homeopathic vet hired. Stop the needless spending on hopeless drugs with side effects and start investing in CURE instead.
All the best.
our 7 years old GSD had Apoquel for 2 weeks for her itchy skin. Her fur fell out and went thin and 3 weeks after the end of treatment (I refused another course because of the cost) she had a massive stroke and I had her put down. I don’t know what to think, but I wish the Vet had informed me properly about these pills so I could have made an informed decision
Go to drugs.com and type Apoquel 16 mg. Please read all the clinical trials data, read all of it, My dog developed a mass , splenic mass near his heart after being on Apoquel for only 10 days.
Started Lucy on Apoquel last night. Woke up at 3am to a seizing dog who was almost lifeless. Took her to the Purdue ER vet, blood work revealed slightly high liver enzymes. I will definitely not be giving this anymore! She is a healthy 5 yo English Setter that I adopted 2 years ago.
Appreciate the discussion here. Althought mostly anecdotal, there is enough here for me to err on the side of caution. Got an RX from the vet, but had second thoughts before dosing. Thanks to all who have shared.
Our 10 yr old Chihuahua is in the ICU right now with Diabetic Keto Acidosis. We never knew he had Diabetes. He was on Apoquel for about 2 years taking it every day. We took him off of it about 4 months ago after we saw him no longer itching and biting. Now this…
He’s not out of the woods yet. All of his electrolytes are extremely low, glucose is high, and he’s having continuous (expensive) care or he’ll die.
I wish…oh how I wish I had never put him on Apoquel!!!
That is one of the lethal side effects that my dog had. He got diabetes and so much more. After Apoquel.
Your Canine Transfer Factor product that you are suggesting has the very ingredients that my dog is highly sensitive to. My dog cannot have soybeans or any of its by products or flax or any of it’s byproducts yet you advertise these as a benefit. If products would be made without cross-contamination of the allergens, it would be easier for us pet parents to choose products to help our babies. Instead we are being judged when seeking help for our babies. Try finding products without beef, peas, flax, soy, chicken, oatmeal, etc… So preparing foods is our only option. And the control of the environment? Is it possible to control all potential contact from trees, grasses, pollens, etc.? Not unless we keep them in a bubble. And what kind of life is that for our pups? It must be respected that all dogs are not created equal, thus these very same remedies you speak of can actually be the very sources of outbreaks and misery for them. I understand that you are trying to do a service for many. But unless you have walked in our shoes/paws , please do not advise us to give up something that is working to be replaced with ingredients/allergens that I know would hurt my baby. I wish they wouldn’t, but they do. We bathe daily, fed only approved foods, gave various supplements, rubbed with coconut oil, sprayed vinegars, provided holistic remedies, and nothing worked. I spent many times over on the natural homeopathic remedies that did nothing. The money is not the issue. My baby’s well being and quality of life is. Hopefully, she’ll grow out of it. We have weaned her off as much as we can from the Apoquel and I pray for my babies protection from all these ailments and diseases. But please do not say we do not care, are too lazy to investigate or follow through, etc. It is sad to see people being taken advantage of with snake oil when there are some potential relief from what is being referred to as Dr. Whitecoat. It reminds me of the people who go on baking soda remedies to cure cancer, etc. just because we are so leery of Big Pharm. Yes, I know the $ is their main motive but not every Dr. or person who takes a medication or treatment is in bed with the devil. I pray for all your little four legged loved ones and their health. They are our family. Stop judging each other. If something worked, then share openly about it without trying to gain a profit. Understand that certain things just won’t work for some and that not all will experience the dreadful effects being so threatened here.
Yvonne, I am the one who states that a lot of people do not research on the drugs they give to their dogs because I WAS ONE OF THEM, if I would have done thorough research my dog would still be alive, instead I took the poison prescribed from veterinarian and gave it to my beloved dog. So do us all a favor, come back and let us know the diseases or disease your dog developed after being on Apoquel, be honest.
You must be kidding. Shame on you for trying to make veterinarians and pet owners feel guilty about treating miserable pets and making them feel better. Shame on you for acting like cancer never occurred in the pet population before Apoquel was introduced 4 years ago. Shame on you for saying that a drug company would label it for dogs, but not for cats because they are aware of safety concerns. It is disgraceful to try to discredit the rest of your profession.
It is disgraceful to have Zoetis on this earth making poisonous lethal drugs like Apoquel, Convenia, Cytopoint, all of the poisons that Zoetis makes are poison, poison, poison, Shame on you whoever you are, pharmaceutical sales rep, veterinarian, shame on you forever, you and your colleagues killed my dog , shame on you, money hungry beasts.
My 9 yo female English Springer suffered with allergies for 6 years. When Apoquel was introduced to the world as the “cure” for itching my traditional vet quickly put her on it. She was also under the care of a dermatologist and receiving weekly allergy shots. She had constant itchy skin, ear, paw and yeast/bacterial infections which meant she was on and off antibiotics for much of the time. In 2017 I was fortunate to find an holistic vet that was working with us to wean her off all of these things before we started to wean her off Apoquel. In October 2017 she started to quickly develop dermal masses around her shoulders and upper body. Multiple ER visits for ruptured cysts/masses ended up in surgery. Three months post surgery more masses appeared and 10 additional dermal masses were removed in Jan. 2018. Post surgery she developed a MRSP infection that required 8 weeks of a strong antibiotic. I stopped her allergy shots and Apoquel in Jan. 2018 and post surgery no additional masses have appeared. The holistic vet has tweaked her diet and added herbal/Chinese herbs to give her the best year to date. I opened a case with Zoetis but they denied it since she “was on the drug for so long”. They didn’t care to hear that the cause of her dermal masses were from over production of the B-catenin in her immune system. The JAK signaling was tricking her system to think it wasn’t producing enough protein for her hair follicles so her body was actually overproducing the protein and causing the dermal masses. If anyone has had a similar problem and had success with opening a case with Zoetis I would be glad to hear about it. Thanks!
Just found this page and decided to share what has happened to our 9 yr old German Shepherd over the past few days.
We decided on trying Apoquel after seeing a commercial for it on TV, well over a year ago. Having a dog with allergies, as anyone knows, the incessant itching drove us crazy, as I’m sure it did our dog. Our vet put him on it (16 mg daily) and we saw a drastic change within 24 hrs! A miracle for sure! We watched for side effects of some sort to rear it’s head, but there never was ANY. Two days ago we took him in to get his hips, back, and knees checked because he couldn’t make it up the stairs lately. The vet felt a large lump (which we never felt with tummy rubs, baths etc.) and decided he did need x-rays for that mass at least. The next day, emergency surgery, Splenectomy, to remove an almost 5 lb. tumor! …. that the vet believes was benign, due to the bloodwork and other factors. I do not know if this was due to the use of Apoquel, but Travis will be weaned from it in a few weeks. I found something called Bovine Colostrum which I’m willing to try, instead of Apoquel. I do prefer natural remedies and pharmaceuticals scare me….
Tumors have perhaps been the commonest side effect, Karen, some coming sooner, some later.
You may want to try transfer factors rather than crude colostrum, most of which is too large to be absorbed (antibodies, useful to the calf in the first 24 hours of life, worthless to other species except as expensive protein). Transfer factors are the immune boosting fraction that counts, and this product I use in my cancer patients has those concentrated 80:1: TF Canine Complete. In my cancer patients, I’ll also add the human version, called TF Plus Tri-Factor Formula.
My dosing protocols are in my free ebook called Insider Immune Protocols, available to my Pack members as a download (no cost to sign up for the Vital Animal Pack, either) All the best with your GSD. As you might be aware, surgery, while life saving in a case like this, doesn’t deeply address the cancerous state. Minimally, I’d be charging up his immune system most efficiently from now on, to prevent recurrence.
I wish I had seen this sooner. My always healthy just turned 10 shih tzu, Leo, started itching like crazy several months ago and the vet couldn’t figure out why. Multiple scrapings showed nothing. Prednisone did nothing. He said let’s try Apoquel, so I looked it up (obviously now I know I didn’t do enough research though I did a lot). Apoquel stopped it all; the itching stopped, the redness went away, his hair grew back, he wasn’t miserable anymore, and he was doing fine. Then, at the end of August he was diagnosed with Lymphoma and I lost my boy 9/17/18. I now believe it was due to the Apoquel and I’m devastated that I did this to my boy.
Hello i don’t speak very good english (i am from Belgium) but i had also a problem with my dog bichon 4 years old who received apoquel 8 months. She had also 2 surgery for masses (mastocytome!!!) on legs and on her back. She has many lypomes n her body since apoquel. I have directly stopped apoquel before the first surgery !!
This product must be supprimed !!!!!! My dog has suffering because this product!!!
Can you give Apoquel to a dog that’s just had puppies to help her stop itching ….?
NO. You are going to kill the puppies, this drug is poisonous and it stays in the system of the dog, it will carry it through to her puppies in the milk. You have to find natural ways to stop the itching, first of all if she is on chewable flea pills they cause skin itching and you would have to stop any other drugs she is on. One way to help naturally is Bromelain quercetin, Epsom salt baths in the bathtub to help alleviate inflammation. Do your research.
I see all this stuff touted as being ‘free’ yet on the next page it says if I am not satisfied with my purchase I have 30 days to change my mind. My dog has been on Apoquel for a couple years and I would love to find a way to get him off of it. He is allergic to grasses and possibly trees which I can’t eliminate from his life. I agree with the fact that it doesn’t help as much as when he first started taking it but it is better than nothing. I have comprehensive blood tests done every year and so far his results are normal. It seems everyone has something to sell.
The only way that you will find a cure for his allergies takes work, no magic wand, no pill, no quickie. You have to clean him off after a walk, his paws, his fur, he brings allergens from outside, you have to keep him flea and tick free with natural homeopathic methods, you have to research and look for natural ways to treat your house and around your house free of fleas, to dehydrate fleas and stop the vicious cycle of reproduction, you have to feed him a healthy diet, you have to do homework. Your dog depends on you. Sorry, you have to do your work.
My 11 year old rescued Labrador Retriever had horrible seasonal allergies. She was hairlessunder her neck and had horribly scarred ears from the constant torment. She was on special food, it it was definitely every spring into summer that she would suffer. She would develop scabs and itch uncontrollably.. constantly whining and crying from the irritation. We decided to give her Apoquel. It was the BEST decision we ever made for her! We kept her on it 365 until she passed away at 15 years old. We saw no side effects with this medication. It actually turned her into a completely different dog. She was able to enjoy life and stop being tormented!
OMG, you said it. She died from taking this poison and you are in denial.
After reading comment after comment about some of the affects of using Apoquel, I want to just sit here and cry… for the last few months I have been listening to a LOT of documentaries. TTAC (The Truth About Cancer) TTAC and Your Pet, The Auto Immune Secrets, and the latest one The Sacred Plant, of which Dr. Falconer recommended also to watch. I have learned sooooo much about how to treat ourselves and our pets naturally. God put plants on this earth to heal us, not to destroy us. But with that being said, sorry I kind of got away with what I was going to talk about.
I have a Miniature Schnauzer who is going to be 13 yrs old on Sept 11, 2018. I had her on Apoquel about a yr ago. True, her itching was gone within a few hrs.
So after her 30 day supply I figured that was it. Apparently not!!! January of this yr, she was back to the vet. I was informed that it is a “prescription drug”, and that she would have to stay on it. I thought, oh great…. $78 a month for how long??? The money wasn’t the issue, the itching was the issue. After 3 months of this, and the itching had not stopped, enough was enough. Well, since February, my poor baby is now almost blind and is pretty well deaf. It could be age, but not really sure about that. Why all of a sudden one day she can’t hear me call her? I am heart broken with what has happened to her in just the past few months. Her itching is still there, she’s losing hair by the day, I give her baths, and she still smells. I just downloaded the Vital Animal Courses and I am going to try to find a fix for my poor baby. If anyone else, has a possible fix, I sure would appreciate a comment. I also have my dogs on the raw diet, but it might not be the best one. It’s called FRESH PET. It has all the veggies and things in it that I would give them, but I may need to change that also. Anyone else out there that has your dog on APOQUEL….get them off of it immediately. Your killing your pet!!!
Can I take my dog off of it immediately?? Do I have to wein her off ?? Im struggling and very upset right now. She’s been on this medication for over a year. Within the last 18 months she’s has aged tremendously, was diagnosed with cushions decease , walnut size shell on her chest and now her liver enzymes have tripled since November. Liver enzymes were at 1300 , now 3700. The vet tells me none of the above related to aboquel. I want her off immediately. Not sure if I can do that ? Please someone let me know. I have an appointment with a holistic vet 1 week from today. How is the cushions regulated but liver enzymes 10x what they should be. Please help me.
No weaning necessary, Gina, stop cold turkey. The rest you need to discuss with a good homeopathic vet as you get proper treatment underway.
It will help to detox his system with milk thistle and the guidance of a good homeopathic veterinarian.
I would be most interested to hear how my comments have been received.
Hello I’m a Westie owner of over 10 years I have 2 females living together (contrary to wide held beliefs that 2 females can’t live together) .
They are from different parents and Lucy is the one that developed Atopic Dermatitis at about 4-5 years old. I tried the food exclusion diet (potato & fish only) and after about 5 months hair started to grow, the smelly skin stopped, and, it carried on getting better and better but, the itching and the paw licking did not. By now we had carefully introduced all home cooked food chicken chicken liver, kidneys, rice, and many mixed vegetable types.
We had tried all the other drugs/treatments via our vet but could not stop Lucy’s frantic itching. 9 months ago our vet suggested we try her on Apoquel under strict supervision with him. She has had her regular blood tests and thorough checks and has continued with Apoquel 5.4 split in 2 per day.
I have read many, many, reviews of bad experience so I’m please to give you a good experience.
Also I’m a volunteer Foster for Westhighland White Terrier Rehoming UK.
In the last 3 years I have fostered and helped rehome many Westies and very few of them have had the itchy problems or, skin problems which I’m sure, will scotch some of the wide held beliefs about Westies.
I can’t feed mine on raw food even if I believed in it. Because my Westies are Pets as Therapy dogs and, are not allowed in hospitals here in the UK if the dogs have been fed on raw food. I hope my comments help.
Have you read the full report on Apoquel, on drugs.com? Apoquel is a very dangerous drug that causes tumors, cancer, major gastrointestinal damage.
Hi, my 8 year old Maltese x, had really severe allergies, but otherwise in good health. We moved to a new area, went to new doctors, who instantly put her on prednisone, that only helped short term, did everything they asked us to do, then they said there was a new drug called appoquel, so they put her on a low dose, gradually increased other a couple of months, as they could not get the lower dose so we had to buy the higher dose. It seemed to help for a while. Then around December last year, the lympe nodes in her neck swelled up, as well as all the other nodes. So he took her off appoqual, he didnt mention side effects or we would not have put her on it. He showed us as he suspected thecappoqual may have caused the lymphoma as it said that that was a side effect of taking the higher dose. She was diagnosed with lymphoma, when we got confirmation she had it, we were in shock. He suggested that the appoqual may have contributed to the lymphoma, then he backtracked said it didn’t. Now I’m not so sure, seems a bit coincidental that other than her allergies she was a very healthy dog. She unfortunately had to be put down a fortnight ago, she was OK on the Friday then dead Saturday. Its a bit suspicious that all this occurred whilst she had been on appoqual high dose. How do we start a class action? As I think it caused her lymphoma.
Thankyou for this forum something needs to be done about taking this drug off the system, its killing too many loved dogs. Why is there a spait of lymphoma, is the appoqual the link.
Please go to drugs.com and type Apoquel, you will read all the clinical trials results and lymphoma was one of the side effects. Unfortunately the maker of this drug: Zoetis, is protected by the FDA and no one can sue them.
My 15 year old lhasa apso/poodle mix died yesterday from a lung tumor. Lung cancer in dogs is rare and is found in only 1% of canine cancers. The lung tumor was identified by x-ray when the vet was trying to find out why he was in a stupor with a temperature of 105.5 F, normal WBC, but heavily panting and having labored breathing. Needle aspiration ruled out infection and inflammation as causes of the mass. He had none of the usual risk factors I’ve seen identified. He was never exposed to cigarette smoke, my house doesn’t have asbestos nor do I use chemicals in my home or on my acreage, and I live in the rural countryside so no urban pollution. Maybe some exposure to chemicals at highway rest areas and when he was groomed. However, he did take Apoquel for 4 months in 2014. Would that length of exposure be enough to trigger a lung tumor to develop?
Absolutely, Apoquel causes cancer. Please go to drugs.com and type Apoquel.
After being advised by my vet that it was time to switch my blue nose from prednisone to this new drug called apoquel because she is getting older and it was a wonder drug, i quickly jumped at the opopportunity. Within two days of the switch to apoquel, Lettys severe symptoms began. Watering eyes, tongue and mouth control, “post stroke” like balance, falling down stairs, no appetite or thirst, eye flickering, disorientation, vomiting, diarrhea, etc etc. I stopped all medications for 2 weeks and her progression back to normal motor function was slow. She is now back on prednisone and has made almost a full recovery despite being almost completely bald, some eye flickering, and impeded stair descent balance. Although the vet will not confirm nor deny apoquel causing the symptoms, I do not doubt that this “wonder” drug responsible.
Wow, George, sounds pretty scary. But pred long term is neither curative nor safe, so it’s best to seek out a homeopathic vet to work with. They can cure this, given time, and they’ll be no damage done while the process takes place. The Apoquel Alternatives Report on this page will help you find one.
All the best.
Prednisone, steroid, cause cancer. Please take her off any steroid.
I’m so glad I found this forum. Ever since we’ve moved down to the deep south from the upper mid-west, my dog has been plagued with itchy skin during the spring & summer months. I’ve battled through the hotspots using Listerine, Gold Bond powder, coconut oil over the past couple of years. This year I finally decided to take him to my local vet as the itchiness has slowly started to appear.
The vet prescribed us Apoquel and I was so excited and hopeful from the way she presented it, as being a “miracle drug”. But after reading some of the sad and horrific stories in here, I’ve decided not to give this to my dog. I just booked an appointment with a holistic vet in the area for a second opinion. Hopefully there is a more natural and successful approach.
My dog Piglet is dying from bone cancer just a couple months after taking Apoquel. She was a healthy loving energetic 5 year old dog with allergies. She was on it for about 3 months before showing any signs. I brought this concern up to my vet and she said she never heard of Apoquel and cancer. Our house is hurt beyond words. Please done give this to your pet.
Do you know why your veterinarian never heard of cancer related to apoquel? It is because veterinarians are not in the business of researching the drugs they give to your dog, none of them, they only prescribe them, it is the pharmaceutical companies who do the so called clinical trials for maybe a month only, Hello???? a drug can show its side effects after 30 days, it can take up to a year or two to show up its side effects, so, pharmaceutical companies send their sales reps to entice veterinarians with commissions and freebies in order to increase the sales of their poisonous drugs and veterinarians do not bother to read the clinical trials information data, that by the way has already been manipulated by pharmaceutical companies to show that no contraindications were observed. It is amazing how people trust veterinarians with their eyes closed. If someone has a dog, you owe it to that dog to be more intelligent and investigate what kind of drugs you are giving him through a vet. A dog is depending on us to protect him, just like a child or an elderly person, we need to be more proactive and research before giving a drug to any living being.
My dog & I have been dealing w/the seasonal allergy misery for 6 seasons now. Over these 6 seasons of struggling to find a degree of comfort for her we have tried a varied approach with a combination of elements that help dramatically if done consistently but nothing being a magic fix. She has taken transfer factor for a couple of years and during the worst of the pollens I make the effort to rinse her thoroughly w/cool water anytime she has been outside in the woods, vacuum daily, cover her beds w/clean towels that get washed, she eats raw foods, and when things really ramp up she gets 8mg of Apoquel. That is 1/4 the prescribed daily dose for a dog her size but it works to knock down the itching and she can go 2 days to a week between doses. Even then, I don’t like giving it to her.
I recently found some info on a product called Respit. It is a regionally specific, premixed immunotherapy for seasonal allergies. My vet got me the oromucosal spray and we are currently giving it a go. I am hopeful that it will be another piece of the frustrating puzzle of treating the misery of seasonal allergies for her. My thinking being that an immunotherapy is preferable to an immunosuppressant. Pollen hasn’t ramped up here yet so time will tell.
I started my 10 yr. old Shih Tzu on Apoquel when it first came out. After being on it for a while she began having seizures about once a month and then they slowly started to happen more often until she was having them daily. She developed swollen lymph nodes on her neck and other places also. About a year or ago she started breathing funny and you could literally see her heart beating in her chest and she was developing a cough. She was diagnosed with a heart stage 4 heart murmur after a trip to the vet. Fast forward to now, heart murmur is stage 6. The left chamber of her heart is enlarged severly to almost double its normal size. Yesterday she was started on vetmedin to help her heart and phenobarbital to control the seizures. Although the doc can’t say for sure what will happen, the average life expectancy is about 9 months at this stage. I had a healthy happy baby girl that itched sometimes and now she is going to die which I honestly believe is from the long term use of Apoquel. The advice that I have for anyone who is considering giving your pup this drug? DON’T! It does stop the itching but but only in exchange for irreversible damage to your pup.
I am amazed at the number of ignorant comments about how vaccinations have prevented deaths from disease and protected people. There is NO excuse for not knowing the facts in this day and age. The information is widely available. To still be clueless and brainwashed is just irresponsible and foolish. Start learning and thinking! And additionally, if that is the way you think, why on earth are you reading any of Dr. Falconer’s articles? This is a great place to start learning and there are many others, but it seems pretty clear that these posters are not here to learn at all but to continue the deceit and fraud concerning vaccinations. Start studying, people! And if you cannot open your mind to the possibility that you’ve been lied to then the system has worked it magic on you the way it was intended.
A study on Apoquel admistered to dogs with bartonella should be done. I have two dogs that got bartonella from fleas. One dog was on apoquel and died due to fever of unknown origin and vet listed bartonella as likely cause. $20k in vet bills trying to keep her with us and we have lots of testing and data. The other dog is showing zero symptoms but has had bartonella for 6 months now (four IFA titers done).
That is the ponzi scheme-fraud that pharmaceutical Zoetis maker and the rest of pharmaceutical poisonous drugs makers are doing to us consumers and our dogs. They create these drugs that have lethal side effects, they sicken our dogs and when they do you take them back to the veterinarian, the vet has not studied the results of the clinical trials on these drugs, they tell you what the pharmaceutical sales rep has told him to say: “it is a wonder drug”, therefore, when your dog gets deathly ill from these poisons they prescribed, they come up with non-sense prognosis like: your dog got Cushings disease, your dog went into renal failure, your dog has a neurological disease, your dog has an enlarged heart, your dog is paralyzed, your dog has cancer =Out of nowhere. Your dog is dying a painful death right before your eyes and your unethical veterinarian prescribes more poisonous drugs to treat the side effects of the poisons they gave your dog, and even dare to ask you that if you do not have money to apply for a Care credit account , and keep ringing up the bill, getting away with murder and with fraud.
My German Shepherd is on Apoquel for 14 months with no side effects at all, and hasn’t scratched either.
Wait and see Andrea, do your homework, do your research.
My Mini American Shepherd was on Apoquel about 4-5 months. Within a couple of weeks she began attacking our other dogs. Sometimes it was an argument over food, others there was no discernible reason. It happened at least once a week, but there were several times it happened multiple times in one day – and these were vicious attacks. She was not easily directed, and when I picked her up to remove her from the situation she was snapping and bit me. We were afraid for the other dogs’ (and kid’s) safety, and if the behaviors hadn’t abated we would have had to rehome her or put her down. It was that bad.
I titrated her off of Apoquel and her behaviors decreased immediately; her last episode was a week after she was taken off the medication. She is back to her sweet self. The potential side effect of aggression was buried in the teeny, wordy insert. I would NEVER recommend this medication.
Amazing, Sharon! Never knew this was possible with Apoquel. Sorry you had to learn that the hard way. Thanks for sharing this.
My dog has been in Apoquel for about a month now for excessive itching. The vet glamorized this med and recommended it. My dog was okay up until this passed week where he has developed excessive itching all over again, and now has diarrhea. Upon further research into the medication I learned this med was for dogs 12 months and older. My dog is a 6 and a half month old English bulldog who has a history of pneumonia. Now my research has revealed this med is known to lower white, and red blood cell counts, putting the dogs at risk for cancer as well as bacterial pneumonia. I have stopped the medication but now what can I do? How could the vet prescribe this medication for my dog knowing it’s for dogs that are at least 12 months old?
Please help me!
Time to hire someone who can actually cure your dog, not just manipulate and suppress his immune system. Download the Apoquel Alternatives Report from this same post and do some real good. Nothing in conventional medicine can cure chronic disease, by the way. And that’s what The Itch is.
What should I do for the diarrhea?
Short term: try adding pumpkin to his diet, Jackie. But, if diarrhea is part of his chronic disease, your appointments with a qualified homeopathic vet will take care of this as the “whole dog” is cured.
What you have to do is sue the veterinarian that has been negligent in not doing his research of a poisonous drug that can kill your dog.
Hi Jackie – You can consider a completely raw diet. This has helped our itchy animals. Often the itch comes from yeast which is more likely in a kibble fed dog due to the glucose/sugars. I now feed my dogs a Prey Model Raw Diet (5 different proteins, 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs and with fish making up 15% of their overall diet) and they could not be more healthy than they currently are. Two dogs were tagged with kidney disease while on kibble which has now completely disappeared.
Just adding my voice to those whose dogs have been diagnosed with lymphoma after being on Apoquel.
My dog started taking Apoquel more than a year ago. The vet told me it was completely safe, that dogs could take it for their whole life with no issue. I was even told that if needed, I could increase the dosage. My dog did not experience any side effect and the ichiness really wend down. After a while, it stopped being as efficient so I increased the dosage.
My dog recently started losing weight. We did some testings, and it turns out it’s lymphoma. I can’t help wondering if the drug messed up his immune system and allowed cancer to develop.
I stupidly gave my mature Lab/German Shepherd/Malamute mix Apoquel for a few days in October, 2016. His appetite waned so I discontinued the drug and went on maintaining his recurrent ear problems with my veterinarian’s help.
In September 2017, I noticed he was losing enthusiasm and crabbier than usual with a young foster dog. Then one weekend I noticed that he wasn’t able to move his bowels. The vet came over right away. She discovered that he was retaining urine, and felt a mass somewhere in his abdomen. She took him for an ultrasound and brought him back with bad news. There was no point trying to treat the advanced prostate cancer and anything other than instant relief of symptoms wasn’t going to cut it, so I asked the vet to end his life.
There was no biopsy so I don’t know anything other than that it was cancer of the prostate gland. I wonder if Apoquel is associated with particular kinds of cancer or particular sites, like the prostate gland.
I did read the prescribing information. I missed the part about a study of 239 dogs administered Apoquel for up to a year. 12 of them developed cancer of various types, which is 5%. Apoquel offers a 5% chance of cancer in a year’s time? The information should be easier to find. The word cancer is not used in the prescribing information leaflet, by the way. Malignant neoplasia, tumor, carcinoma, lymphoma and sarcoma, but not cancer. I missed it because I read the section called “animal safety.” It contained no mention of malignant neoplasia, tumor, carcinoma, lymphoma or sarcoma. Those were reported in a section called Continuation Field Trial.
Pfizer, you say? The company that keeps up a pretense that Chantix a) works and b) does not cause psychosis? That got a hair more than half of the FDA committee to believe it was a good idea to remove the box warning about suicide last year, during the short run of the mercenary physician Obama installed. That Zoetis was once a branch of Pfizer that was spun off is oinly natural. Now it is an independent company, so successful and important that it’s listed in the S&P 500.
I have no way of knowing if Apoquel was necessary for the success of a lethal tumor in my dog Bayou’s body. Just this: A dog was given Apoquel. Eleven months later, he has prostate cancer so advanced when diagnosed that euthanasia was the only reasonable treatment. Who knows when the first abnormal cell became two abnormal cells, and they became four, and so on? At that time, Bayou’s cellular mechanisms were not working well enough to annihilate the scourge.
Apoquel has been a lifesaver for my senior beagle. When we moved South his allergies went crazy. We did some allergy testing and he is allergic to grass. We can’t just “not feed him that”, so we looked at our options and Apoquel was what we chose. He has been on it for about 2 years and doing great!! Still works well, but we can not take him off since his allergies go crazy when we try. He is 15 now and I just want him to live out his life in peace. If he needs Apoquel to do that, fine with me!!
Are you a veterinarian or a Zoetis sales person?
Seriously Cristina Raymond? LOL DVM at the end of his name stands for, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. This guy is amazing, and I suggest you read and take notes on what he has to say.
After trying everything possible we finally put one of our dogs on apoquel. We have been fighting her severe itching for years. I had a hard choice to make since she was so miserable and had chewed both hip areas to the point both her hips were a bloody mess. No hair, bleeding. We were at the vets office every week sometimes two or three times a week for 6 years. I went to multiple vets and contacted the breeder for advice as well. We ruled out fleas and food. But she was alergic to everything else in the environment at certain times of the year. We charted for years exactly when the itchy problem would occur. I was at the point of knowing I was going to have to put my girl down because she was miserable and had no quality of life. She is on apoquel now and has finally found some relief! If the drug does create other problems then as I told my vet..at least she had a chance to live a good life for a while. If her life is shortened them so be it! I rather she had a shorter life than a miserable one. I fought hard not to put her on this drug until I tried everything else first. I have 4 other dogs of the same breed and none of them have this problem.
If anything encapsulates what I’m trying to accomplish in all the teaching I do, it’s to help people get over this very idea: “It’s either dangerous (and often expensive, and often toxic) conventional medicine or suffering!”
If those were really the only two choices, we and our animals would be far worse off as species than we are at present, and the world would be immeasurably worse overall.
Fortunately, there’s a whole other world open to you: natural rearing and natural treatment that can actually cure chronic disease like the one you face. If you haven’t already, download the free Apoquel Alternatives Report on this very page. You’ll see options beyond dangerous drugs or suffering.
I fear for my life. Zoetis and VCA Brentwood, VCA West Los Angeles is threatening me because I filed a small claims against them as they prescribed my dog Apoquel Oclacitinib and my dog died from a mass that this drug caused inside his body. If anything happens to me , Please report it to the Los Angeles police.
New to your site, felt compelled to comment about Apoquel, even though I’m a little late.
I’ve always favored more natural treatments. Couldn’t find a holistic vet nearby, but found a vet who practices traditional medicine along with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
My cocker spaniel was very itchy. My vet suggested Apoquel but I resisted. After doing a Nutriscan test I changed his diet which made a big difference. His itching slowed down tremendously, but come pollen season, he started itching again. I tried CYTOPOINT which helped.
My husband took his dog to the vet for a check up. Husband mentioned how his dog licked his paws a lot. Vet gave his dog Apoquel. My husband didn’t question it. Well, after about 3-4 weeks, his dog developed a big red bump on his lip. I started doing research and was horrified. We took him back to the vet and they tested it – I think they called it a histiocytoma. When my husband questioned if it was caused by the Apoquel, the vet said “well, I’ve never heard that it could do that, but it does suppress the immune system…”. What? Why don’t they tell us these risks beforehand. Especially when he didn’t have any major itching, just licked his paws. Should’ve just soaked them in vinegar.
We took him off the Apoquel and started giving him astaxanthin. Within a week, the bump started getting smaller and was less red. Within three weeks it was gone.
Scary stuff. My husband is now understanding why I question drugs. It’s hard to make right choices when I’m relying on info from he internet. Takes a lot of research to try and get informed, but it’s very overwhelming. Wish I had a great holistic vet nearby, but at least I’ve found your site. Hope to learn a lot.
Thanks for sharing that, Melissa! Great story. I’d be wary of Cytopoint as well. Search that term, as I’ve written here about it as well.
Max my 11 1/2 yr old pug chow mix is allergic to himself. He scratched and bit at himself
constantly. He was bloody and bald and had a ruptured eye just from scratching. He was so bad I thought I would have to put him down a couple times untill I went to the Vet to get this Apoquel . I was hoping he could live to 13. He didnt. He is living now at 14 and is a totally new dog. He’s happy and playful no health issues. It has been a wonder drug. He suffered for 11 yrs. And he has not had any bout of itching. Sure there are side effects in every drug but I havent seen any. Now I am shooting for 15.
My dog had the flu vaccine and apoquel and is now really lethargic, won’t get up, googly eyes, shallow breathing should I be concerned is this normal. Any comments to reassure me would be great thanks.
I’m guessing you’ve answered your own question, right Nick? Any part of that sound normal to you?
I’d get him right back to the vet who did this to him and hope they’ve got a fix.
My corgi just had his 6 month blood work(July) and his liver levels went from 67 to 589 compared to his January blood work. We took him of his Carprofen for his hips, but they wanted to leave him on the Apaquel. When I asked if the apoquel could have contributed to his liver problems, they said that it wasn’t possible. Yet I noticed that all the drugs in this category of drugs for human use do list liver problems as a severe side effect. After careful consideration I took Doc off all medicine except Heartgaurd and Denamarin for his liver and also changed his diet away from kibble. He now eats diet with lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. As I write this I am waiting for the results of the blood. Doc’s liver values have come down a 100 points in just under a month! Did the Apoquel cause his liver problems, I don’t know. I will not be putting him back on it that’s for sure.
Bruce, this drug is not to be given not even for a few days, my dog took it for 5 days and died because of this poison. Apoquel exacerbates any existing infection and causes new cutaneous and subcutaneous tumors, lipomas, bladder cancer, lymphoma, papilloma, kidney and liver damage, etc. So, No. This drug will be banned when people wake up and stand up for the right of their dog’s life and the rip off that Zoetis is committing, if they are afraid to lose money and go bankrupt is their problem, but do not put dogs and cats lives in danger for your greed. If you need to make money, concentrate on healthy ways and healthy, honest products to offer to animals and humans , because you are hurting people’s emotions and wallets and do not care about it.
(Please read til the end. The absolute lesson is there.)
My service dog, Lady, an all-black German Shepherd Dog, has had ear infections since I adopted her at two years old in 2012. a year or so later, she developed skin irritation due to parasites. So, the combination was making her miserable. Our vet tried a lot of things trying to keep the toxicity down to minimum but wasn’t working well.
In 2016, we then got sent to a dermatologist who recommended Apoquel. Yeah, WOW! Within 30 minutes all itching stopped and the healing of the skin begins.
But, within 5 months of moderate use, Lady developed lymphoma. Sudden kinda onset. Glands the size of walnuts, weakness, pain…The works. Immediately got her into oncology. Started VELCAP-L (5-drug combination chemotherapy regimen (vincristine, L-asparaginase [l-spars], cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, prednisone)).
Complete diet change. She had been on raw, BARF/formula combo, since two years old.
BE CAREFUL! In the first two weeks with the predisone, it increased her appetite in voracity. She ate four polyester knee socks and half a pajama bottoms. Vomited all but one sock. Back into the hospital, no food, only IV fluids and encouragement and lotsa walking to pass it. After three days, it finally did. Lucky girl, no surgery. BE CAREFUL!!!!
Took three months to stabilize her gut. Took her for acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Helped a whole lot and with reducing toxicity of the chemotherapy. I am a firm believer in this.
Six months later, first week of 2017, oncologists gave her “remission” status and in March 2017 “full remission” status.
If I didn’t take out pet insurance, I would’ve only be able to afford just the predisone and L-spars which would have reduced all the symptoms and possible remission but life expectancy would have been 9-12 months. The insurance paid for 80% without any question. No issues. It’s all reimbursement but doing it with a credit card really works in this case. I highly suggest it.
Read up on pet insurance with Dr Doug Kenny petinsuranceguideus.com/
Overall, if you must use Apoquel, only use for a couple of weeks and no more than a month. Our experience was to adjust to raw diet with expert nutritionist, cleaning house and bedding regularly, regular Kelco Bubble Neem flea shampoo, acupuncture and herbal remedies. It can be some work but better than poisoning and harming your family members.
My sweet boxer Daisy turns 5 in 10 days. She has had allergies for virtually her entire life, and we have tried a variety of diet changes and treatments. She got a prednisone shot in May, and it lasted about 3 weeks. A clerk at the vets office said they could give us “something” in a pill form, and it would last longer and has proven to be very effective. It’s a very good vet practice, so we trusted them completely.
On June 23, I began to give her the “pill”. It was apoquel. Within a week, the lymph nodes under her jaw began to swell. Took her to the vet the next week, and the needle aspiration was inconclusive. It turns out her lymph nodes were swollen behind her legs as well. They did a biopsy, and we were informed today that she has lymphoma. She also defecated pure blood today.
I asked the vet, “did apoquel expedite the cancer that was in her body”? He said “yes”, because it compromised her immune system and allowed the cancer to take over.
Who knows how long it would have been before the cancer took over her body? The apoquel robbed us from time with her, and robbed her from a longer life. I do not recommend this medication to anyone.
We’re so sad.
Horrible and heartbreaking Bruce. I am so sad for you and your sweet Daisy. There is a special place in hell for people who make lousy drugs and money from the misinformation about those drugs. Take comfort in at least knowing that some other sweet animals, like mine, may be saved the pain and illness that Daisy has. We thank Daisy and keep her in our hearts.
You can sue Zoetis (the maker of the drug)or at least take them to small claims, you just have to go to your city hall and get their legal name they use to do business in your city , they are a corporation, therefore you need the correct information to file the claim.
About 3 and a half years ago, when Apoquel was first released, our vet prescribed this for our 12 year old Yorkie Poodle and our 10 year old Beagle.
A year and a half later, our Yorkie Poo had clustered skin lesions everywhere and our Beagle had developed a tumor on her spleen that metastized to her spinal cord. We decided then to put her down.
A year after that, we finally stopped Apoquel for the YP and his lesions cleared up quickly.
Our new male beagle gained 15 pounds while on Apoquel.
Today we are preparing to put our YP down due to a large abdominal tumor and after six months off Apoquel and on a weight loss diet, our male Beagle has lost no weight. We fear that an x-ray next week may reveal a third dog with an internal tumor.
Three dogs on Apoquel. Two tumors, maybe three.
This drug should be pulled from the market or include a short term usage only warning.
Zoetis Pfizer are evil, they do not care and there is not enough people that speak up against them.
My boy Nicko has SEVERE ALLERGIES and his Dr recommend Apoquel. After some persuasion I caved and agreed to try it. After one month being on it clumps of his hair was falling out. More than what he should. I phoned the vet and they were like oh it is not from the Apoquel. I was yeah it is. I took him off and he stopped immediately
Thank you for this article! My Lab was just prescribed a week’s worth of this for a spot on his muzzle (I think it’s a spider bite, but the only photo online that looks like it was -supposedly- of an MCT). I haven’t heard of this drug, so researched it before deciding whether to administer it. Whether it’s a bite or an MCT, I don’t really want his immune system messed with! Itching isn’t really the primary concern. She also prescribed a week of antibiotics. Still on the fence about those. It has been less than a week, though. I’ll be perusing your site for the next several days. Thanks again!
my brussels griffon has been on apoquel since the first month it was out in the U.S.. i believe it was january, 2014. he was 12 at the time, he will be turning 16 this august. he had spent 10 of those 12 years scratching. i tried otc/prescription/herbal/etc on him and nothing helped. he would be worse march thru october but with warmer winters it was pretty much year round. he is on a raw diet, has been since he was 6 months old. i did elimination diets with him to make sure it was not his food causing the issues. it was not. was he over vaccinated? it’s possible but he has not had a vaccination since he was 7 yrs old. he would scratch himself raw, get staph infections on his skin, lick his paws for hours. he was miserable. from the first dose of apoquel he stopped scratching. he has been on it since and has had no side effects that i can see/tell. there is an injectable allergy medication now that lasts 4 – 12 weeks, depending on the dog/case. it is from the same company as apoquel. i might try that but apoquel has always worked for buddy. so, if others have issues with it, i’m sorry, but mine doesn’t and he will get it or the new injectable until the day he dies. and frankly, i think 16 or whenever is a damn good life span for a dog. none of us are going to live forever and i sure the hell don’t want to spend my life scratching holes into myself, why would my dog want to live like that either. no one lives forever as i said, i want my time here spent feeling good, not feeling like crap.
If you put more time into cleaning your dog’s fur and paws after a walk , you would not have to put him on poisonous drugs like Apoquel, have you read the studies done on dogs, drugs.com will tell you all the lethal side effects.
Cadi injections by Zoetis is also an experimental drug, please do your dog and the world a favor, when your dog dies from all these poisons you are giving him, do an autopsy (Necropsy on a dog) and please let us know what they found in his system, you are killing him a slow death because you want a fast acting something not spend time to treat the root of the problem, if you don’t have time to dedicate to take care of your dog, don’t have one.
I put my dogs on Apoquel only for about 6 months out of theyear and I live in Florida, their allergies are worse in the summer with all the itching and scratching. My dog has allergies to begin with and all the research I have done points to what you feed them. If you feed them crap as in corn based foods they have problems. At least mine do. I feed them holistic food and make them food also. (One of my dogs is diabetic) Look for a recipe called Ruby Stewbie, it is awesome and dogs love it.
I have no issues with using Apoquel and I have been giving it to them for 4 years, but like I said only for about 6 months out of the year.
People don’t believe everything you read on the internet, do your own due diligence for your dog.
You are lying, Apoquel is poison.
really? because this person has had a decent experience with it, she is lying? get a grip. i have had a dog on it daily the whole time it has been in the u.s.. he’s alive and well.
Kriz, go tell that to Zoetis and veterinarians, they graduate from university as a medical doctor, they probe and investigate as part of their training and all of a sudden they stop doing it when they are so busy being doctors, they charge $90.00 for 10 minutes and do not take the time to read the history of the dog to see if he has any infections, this drug exacerbates infections. And he or she does not know this drug suppresses their immune system, creates masses inside their body, new subcutaneous and cutaneous tumors, lipomas, cysts, bladder cancer,etc. Who are you fooling?
I gave my Schipperke Apoquel for 45 days. Now I am currently in the process of getting blood work and test down to figure out what is wrong with him. His platelets are very low, close to danger. The vet is very sure that it is an autoimmune disease. Had that test done and it came back negative, but he still insist that is what it is, says that these tests are not conclusive. Wants to do a series of high dose steroids, which I am completely against. After reading this article I see that it is an immunosuppressant and that a side effect is suppression of bone marrow. Well that would cause the RBC and platelets to be low. So what do I do to get him back to normal levels.
Immune side effects, even potentially fatal ones like you describe, are not uncommon with Apoquel. Why? As you point out, it’s like a brake on the immune system. That always comes with a cost, some more immediate, some after some prolonged use.
What to restore your guy to normal? Best I know is to hire a homeopathic vet. Nothing DIY in something chronic like this, especially something risky like autoimmune blood disease. The free report that’s mentioned in this article will tell you how to find a good one. All the best to you both.
I just started my 2 y/o golden retriever on Apoquel and stopped giving it to him after the second day when he began having diarrhea and vomiting. He experienced the vomiting occasionally over a 3 day period, however, were on day 5 of diarrhea, minimal drinking and no eating. I thought at first he got into something he shouldn’t have, but after reading more into this drug, I’m convinced it’s the culprit.
I have a shepherd/husky who is on Apoquel for his seasonal allergies. He starts late Spring and stops when we get the first snow fall. It is amazing. He had blood test done 2 weeks after he first started to check his white blood count, and all was good. He experiences no side effects, and all his issues have cleared up. He no longer gets hot spots, his anal glands don’t get infected, and he no longer scratches. I’m sure dogs who have underlying conditions causing these problems might experience side effects, but for plain allergies with yearly vet checks I don’t see why people should steer clear of this. I have some friends who have had their dogs on this for longer than mine and year round and they’ve not had problems either. Must be luck of the draw, like with heartworm/flea/tick preventatives. Some dogs get sick and some die, while others are on them for a lifetime and never have an issue.
The issues come sooner or later. Check on drugs.com and type Apoquel
I adopted Bear at age 9 from the shelter, almost two years ago. He is a wonderful Black Lab-Mix? 🙂 He had MANY ear yeast infections when he first came to live with me 🙁 He also seemed to SCRATCH a lot 🙁 He didn’t cause INJURIES to himself but it seemed a bit excessive to me, compared to my previous dogs. Our vet recommended APOQUEL. HE has been taking it for app. a year. We haven’t had any problems with it. I am uncomfortable with potential long-term side effects though 🙁 I took him off of it about a month ago. His ears have been clear but he has started to scratch, ALOT. I gave him a pill today because he is NOT comfortable. I am investigating alternatives. He is eating a HIGH-QUALITY, grain-free, limited ingredient food. He RARELY receives treats. He is a HEALTHY, slender 65 lbs and runs around like a young dog when we play in the yard 🙂 Otherwise, he is very content to supervise me at my work at home, sleeping or resting. Our home and acreage is chemical free and I have a well, NO city water. He doesn’t have fleas, ticks or any other ‘bugs’ 🙂 I am going to try a few things plus bathe him more often. THAT will be the most difficult part 🙁 HE HATES BATHS 🙁 I am so sorry for the dogs who haven’t handled APOQUEL well 🙁 I think, as with so many drugs, there is always a percentage of patients, humans and animals, that are going to become ill or die from side effects 🙁 I want to keep him healthy and happy as long as he is with me 🙂 When you adopt a senior you know your time together might be short 🙂
The side effects from Apoquel as with any other drug varies, dogs get deathly ill or die all of a sudden and people don’t put the dots together and just blame it to old age or destiny when in reality the synthetic drug ingredients are lethal.
It is drama and fear-inducing ridiculous sites like this that create the false and misleading world of “Dr.Google” for pet parents and is truly a travesty. You play a terrible role in misleading people without medical background to take out-of-context excerpts of stories and explanations that prevent pets from getting the help they need. I could list 3 TIMES as many testimonials about pets that have terrible side effects from other allergy treatments then found Apoquel and are safe and life changing. 3 TIMES as many!!. This is the same theme of every other Dr.Google scare where a pet dies but got Frontline 8 months ago so that must be a “dog killer”, and other internet posts that scare people out of things that actually do help pets. Just disregard the fact that pets could get sick and die or get cancer from something concurrent and unrelated and blame it on big pharma. Every drug has benefits and potential risks. Compare this drug’s safety studies to others and its MUCH safer than steroids?!! Why don’t you post a blog about steroids killing pets then? You are a shame to responsible pet care and should be kicked off the internet or at least give an unbiased whole story type of assessment of medications.
My dog died from taking Apoquel and I will do everything to have this poison removed from this earth. Look it up on drugs.com , this drug is poison. Apoquel Oclacitinib is a synthetic drug that increases susceptibility to infections, demodicosis, exacerbates neoplastic conditions, dogs should be monitored for the development of all these diseases, therefore it is a VERY DANGEROUS DRUG. It decreases leukocytes, serum globulin, cholesterol and lipase. Causes cancer in the bladder, tumors, cystitis, lipomas, dermatitis, etc. Look it up on drugs.com , If you are going to put your dog through this hell will be your choice, do not say you were not warned. My dog died because the vet did not let me know not even one side effect, he made the choice for me, I trusted that vet, I reported him to the board of veterinarians and he will pay for his unethical procedures.
Yes! My dog is on Apoquel from late Spring to late Fall for seasonal allergies that cause hot spots, itching and anal gland infections. Apoquel is a saviour. He has never had issues on it. Out vet did warn us about long term use but as he is not on it year round he should be fine. He gets blood work done on his yearly vet visits to make sure his white blood count doesn’t drop. I think it is due to vets not properly monitoring and communicating to clients that cause issues.
I’m with ya! My pug mix Brutus developed absolutely HORRIBLE allergies when we moved to Dallas in October 2015. He was suffering from secondary skin infections every month, and the costs began to add up. That was until we put him on apoquel. It has literally saved his life! No more itching, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or watery eyes. He’s like a new dog. We’ve since moved, and his allergies have all but disappeared, but I still give him half a dose every once in awhile if I see him chewing on his paws. Just because a drug doesn’t work for one dog doesn’t mean it won’t work for another. I also get his blood work done at least yearly to make sure everything is balanced. I definitely think that should be mandatory while on ANY drug for a long time.
It seems to me that if you are feeding a good, raw, fresh, healthy diet, with natural supplements, not vaccinating but getting titers instead and not using chemical pest control that working on healing the immune system in dogs who have had a rough life, as many of our rescue dogs have, makes the most sense for curing many diseases. I go to a homeopathic doc and I know that can work, but I also get lots of advice about keeping my immune system healthy with good food, exercise, fresh air – everything our dogs need, too. My vets have some alternative modalities, but when ever they suggest the typical western medicine drugs or treatment, I always look for a safer, more effective cure. I applaud your work Dr. Falconer, and your willingness to share your knowledge. Thank you!
Brought my 14 years old dog Godot to the vet for treatment of mild contact allergic dermatitis on his back paws : he been chewing them constantly.
Last year the shot of cortisone did the trick without any side-effects.
This year vet was suggesting Apoquel aas a wonder-no-side-effects-ever drug.
I feel so angry for myself that I did not insist on the last year remedy and agreed to that!
After I gave just 1 tablet to my old Godot in 4 hour he developed belly pain and gas, diarrhea- he never ever had before.
I called vet’s office to inform them what is going on and they even didn’t tell me to bring my dog for exam!
They didn’t care! They even didn’t propose to take my dog to ER that day!
I boiled 1 cap of white rice with 3 caps of water as it was always helping him on the rare case of diarrhea: it didn’t help.
Puppy was still extremely uncomfortable, in pain, lot of gas, constantly asking to get outside.
In the next 36 hours it was all the same and I called the vet’s office once again and only than they told me to take dog to ER ” or he may not survive”!
I took Godot to ER and he was treated about few hours with IV solution, antibiotic against infections, painkiller, anti-gas, anti-diarrhea and vomiting, etc, etc.
The bill was $ 800.
My dog is home for now but I am not sure that I would not need to come to ER once again as he does not look like he totally recovered.
I hope for better though.
But I would write a latter of complaint about the vet who promotes dangerous drug and his office which does not care of their customer of 14 years.
You need to report to the FDA and you need to ask for reimbursement of all the money you spent, the poison Apoquel and the ER expense because veterinarians are getting away with murder, they killed my dog with Apoquel and I asked for reimbursement, they gave me some of it and if they don’t give me the ER expense back I will file a small claims suit. Enough with the fraud they are running.
Dr. Falconer, how can we make legislation pass something to the effect that veterinarians have to tell you the side effects of the drugs they give to our dogs and that they provide printed information about the drug . Aside from poisonous Apoquel I have found horror stories about flea pills , like when you type Nexgard reviews on Google, veterinarians are telling us flea pills are safe and they are killing dogs and cats this way too.
I found this page because my dog is on apoquel. He is 9.5 years old, and has had severe allergies for the entire 4.5 years I’ve had him. Sometimes his reactions require bringing him to the ER, but most of the time it’s his skin, eyes, ears, licking, and scratching.
I’ve managed his allergies for years by switching foods and finding one that works. Everything clears up but then eventually it comes back. I never wanted to put him on meds for the rest of his life. This last time so much hair fell out and his eyes by the tear stains kept bleeding. He is an American bulldog. So I gave in and asked the vet for help and they prescribed apoquel. They said it has basically no side effects and will clear everything up!
After 2 weeks he looked amazing. All of his hair was growing back, bloody tear stains were now soft new fur. I went back to buy a 30 day supply.
Now after almost 30 more days, I’m noticing him eating more. He’s never been overweight, and in fact it’s very hard to get him to eat enough sometimes to keep weight on him. He’s still not overweight, he looks good, but he’s heavier than he’s ever been and is eating 8 cups of food a day plus a whole can of wet food. I think he will be overweight if he keeps eating like this, which isn’t normal for him. At first I was happy because after an intestinal blockage surgery 2 years ago, he never fully regained his weight. But this is so sudden it doesn’t seem right. Now his nose is dried out, but he’s still drinking a lot of water as he always has. So I see things changing and decided to check up on the side effects myself. On top of that, his tear stains and raw skin by his eyes has returned. Not as bad, but I see the drug isn’t helping as much as it was in the beginning.
After reading several sites talking about the dangers of this drug, I’m going to take him off of it. This is the dog of a lifetime for me, he is so important to me, and I can’t risk hurting his immune system. I hope I can help his allergies naturally.
My dog is currently on apoquel for about 7 months, and about 3 weeks ago had what our vet called a yeast infection on her stomach. She had sores with puss. Vet put her on oral ketoconazole and a clotrimazole/chlorhexadine shampoo. Fixed the symptoms but now I think I know what caused the ailment after reading here. She also has had black crusty spots on her belly. Time for her to stop the apoquel and go on a raw diet and get off the prescription grain diet that is not working. Nearest holistic vet is about and hour away and it may be time for my 7 year old Lab to go there. Her major problem is her right eye waters constantly and she does scratch some when not taking the apoquel.
Great information here. Thanks Dr. Falconer glad I found this site.
Sure it’s a harsh drug, but I’m not sure everybody here is really grasping the magnitude of some dogs’ allergies. Some of us have literally tried everything else and when your dog has been in absolute hell for months or years – think: cannot walk, eat or pee without pain – then it’s time to try something more drastic. Food allergies are not the issue here – they’re easy to avoid. But if your dog is allergic to just about every damn plant, dust, dander, and a dozen other environmental allergens, there’s honestly not much that you can do. Apoquel should be used with caution as a last resort, but it works for some dogs.
Only an evil person veterinarian would put a dog on this poison. Knowing that you will kill him. Look up on drugs.com the magnitude of the side effects !!!!!!
Then I guess I am an evil person. I don’t like new meds as a rule and prevacox nearly killed my other dog last year. I am all for safer herbal cures if at all possible. BUT when it came to a choice of having my 12 yr old mixed breed put to sleep as the only way to stop his 24 hr suffering, or give him a couple of happy years on apoquel. It was no contest. He has been comfortable, happy, health and with no adverse symptoms for 2 years. perhaps at some future date I will have to have him put down for a side effect but I would not be cruel enough to deny him those few happy, healthy years just because I don’t like some products. I’m sorry but if you would rather kill your pet or watch him suffer that is your business. Don’t tell me mine.
Let me suggest, Glanda and JF, that this isn’t a black or white proposition, as you seem to state it.
1. Untold suffering with allergies or
If you haven’t yet downloaded it, that free Apoquel Alternatives Report that I mention in this post tells you how you can cure this condition. Without harming your dog along the way.
Nothing in conventional medicine can cure allergies, and that’s true of all chronic disease in fact. Homeopathy offers that possibility, when done in the hands of a trained prescriber who can manage chronic disease. I describe how to hire one in that report.
If you’re interested.
My English bulldog has been on this med for a couple months. The skin and yeast allergies have now been under control. However, she has been in “heat” shortly after we started. A nasty smelling, bloody discharge for weeks. Talked to the vet about this causing the problem. She said no. And I could get meds to make the “heat” stop. Told me to call back in a few days if it didn’t get better. She stopped. Now about 2 weeks later we are at it again. Had discussed spaying to see if that would help. At this point she seem hesitate to spay her due to her breed and age. Still wondering if this med is to blame as we had no problems before?
Any diagnosis as to the cause of this foul smelling discharge? Certainly not a normal heat, is it, to smell bad?
What we know is the immune system is being thwarted by Apoquel. That’s how it “turns off” the allergic itch. So, can it specifically just turn off this one piece of the complex immune system and not effect the rest of it? That’s the key question, and, with the number of reports of tumors popping up on dogs on this drugs, I think we have a good idea of the answer.
Infections could just as easily be a side effect of immune system impairment. And a stinky discharge sure sounds like something infectious is at play.
p.s. I not recommend spaying this dog, unless you are unwilling/able to work with a veterinary homeopath to cure the underlying disorder. Throwing a diseased organ in the waist basket is suppression at its worst.
If you look up Apoquel (oclacitinib) on drugs.com you will find everything there is to know about this poison. My sweet angel was killed by a veterinarian at VCA Brentwood animal hospital, she prescribed Apoquel 5.4 mg, 1 pill every 12 hours for 10 days and 1 pill every day thereafter, I just trusted her, never in million years was I going to think that she gave him poison. I usually look up medicines on internet for any side effects and this time I did not do it right away. I did later and I only read the first page that by the way was an ad from Zoetis , and they only list vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems, I did not dig deeper like I did when it was too late. He finished the pills and as soon as he did he started to become sick, he vomited once and no more, that is why I did not get alarmed, then he lost appetite, but he would get out of it, he would not eat one day, the following he did. I noticed his stomach trembling but then it would stop, so again, I did not get alarmed, days went by he would not cry, so I did not get the signal that anything was wrong. He always wanted to go for his walk, but the last two days of his life he was walking very slowly (I had already called the two vets that saw him about it and they did not tell me to bring him for a check up) These vets are just telling you to look for vomiting or diarrhea, and the side effects are so much more, like the one he developed, which is a mass near his heart coming from the spleen, his stomach got enlarged and he was bleeding from that mass because it erupted and blood was all over his lungs, I am so mad at myself that I could not stop this tragedy by not looking up this drug on the first day, to really researched the side effects, I am so mad that I could not protect him, I could not save him, I trusted this unethical veterinarian with the life of my precious sweet angel. I am devastated, I think Im going next, this pain is so terrible, he did not deserve all that pain they put him through, he did not deserve to die that way. Stay away from Apoquel, from CADI injections, yes , that vet had the nerve to still try to sell cadi injection when I called her to tell her he was not improving and I asked for something more natural. I have reported it to ASPCA, Zoetis, and FDA, But the FDA is just a mafia, I do not even think they will take it off the market unless there is a huge lawsuit against them. Apoquel is poison, pure poison, shame on Zoetis, shame on the FDA, shame on Dr. Kim Carvalho and Dr. Martin at VCA Brentwood animal hospital, shame on any veterinarian killing dogs for pure profit.
My 10.5 yo lab/dalmation mix has had skin allergies and severe hotspots for the last several years. We’ve changed her food to eliminate grains/gluten and that helped a little, but putting her on Apoquel for the last month has been a game changer. She has never had vaccinations and at her age and now that her hot spots are healed, we will continue with a daily 1/2 dose of Apoquel so she can be a happy and energetic dog with a good quality of life with the years she has left.
I have four dogs three GSD’s and one Staffy. I am aware of everything that I put in to both mine and my dogs bodies. I am budget to make sure that I am able to afford the best quality raw meat for my pets it is always free ranging animals and organic if possible no commercial dog food. The Staffy and my 13 year old German Shepherd have had vaccinations in the last 18 months but only because they are both rescue and it is required whilst in refuge. The Staffy is fine but in the time I have had the old Shep there has never been a day he has not scratched and every step he will lift a rear leg and scratch his stomach as he has dislocated hips he then stumbles. I did try apoquel on him but after two weeks there was no difference so I ceased its use. I also have a 6 year old rescue GSD who at the moment is covered , literally, in oozing sores or infected scabs. His ears are infected and he can not be touched and he is scratching at his eyes. I have been to our natropathic vet and tried vinegar, manuka honey and a score of other things to ease his discomfort as well as changing his food around to see if one meat base was better than another. Today I have given in and am about to order apoquel. I have no chemicals in my house no flyspray no carpets and all my clothes are washed in a laundry wash that is organic. He had tried apoquel briefly when he finished of the older dogs script after first being checked at the vets. I refuse to use any chemicals for ticks or fleas on his body and instead do a nightly check.. This dogs joy in life is sheepherding and after stopping over the heat of summer his skin has not improved and he is miserable and moans a lot. So tomorrow I will collect his apoquel and I will use it just to give him some relief. I have tried all that has been recommended holistically. I am worried about using it but he can not continue the way he is. We will also be researching a different environment for him where climate may make a difference and sell up and move if need be.
My dog has sensitivity and its been an on and off problem. this past year has been awful however, and EVERY vet I went to prescribed him so much sh** to take I know his immune system is super off now. Turns out, if the first vet had just given him dewormer, he would have cleared up instantly, along with some good shampoo for the skin. She wanted me to pay around $4-600 for all this and that. I’m at a loss what to do now, I looked up other medicines such as this Apoquel, and I’m outraged at this whole Western ideal of “creating patients”. Seems this drug, and many high priced vets only want patients to keep returning rather than actually helping. Mr. Will Falconer, do you have any sensible recommendations?? I rub my boy down with coconut oil to help but his inflamed red belly flares up all too often.
I’m so confused by all the diet fads, and whats actually is good what isn’t. Is the diet a good place to start? like this hypoallergenic food: http://www.wysong.net/anergen
That’s a fine place to start, but even better is balanced raw food, Shannon, leaning away from common allergens as I mentioned in the report. Nothing about a kibble matches what a dog is “genetically expecting,” to paraphrase Dr. Wysong. They’ve evolved from prey eating wolves. Imitate that diet and you could well see a significant improvement in itch.
Yes: download that Apoquel Alternatives Report, linked in the article. You’ll get to cure by hiring a homeopathic vet, and I spell out how to find the best ones, either near or far (as far away as your phone? that’s not far at all).
Nothing Dr. WhiteCoat offers you can cure chronic disease, and that’s what you’re deep into now with this guy. Homeopathy can get him back out of that ditch with time, patience, and attention to details on your part.
All the best to you and your guy.
My pitbull/mix at 6 months old when getting spayed, I was told she had a skin infection and she was put on antibiotics and prednisone this continued till she was 4, the vet changed her meds from prednisone to aproquel which he told me it could affect her auto immune system but not likely, sure it worked within hours but 2 months later she went paralized we rushed her to vet after vet by now she was completely mobile and the doc said she would need to see a nuerologist, we headed off to Buffalo specialty vet clinic and after an MRI she was diagnoises with an auto immune disease. I told them about the aproquel and they had her on predisone this was on a Saturday and Monday we picked her up and she was walking on all four. She had a very long recovery and next month will be one year and she is doing well, but still has many skin issues. Please do not put your babies on this terrible medicing
My dog was on it for 18 weeks. She went off just before Valentine’s Day and has a problem walking ever since. She hunch