Apoquel: When a Short Term Dream Becomes a Long Term Nightmare

Part Two: Apoquel Side Effects

“Too Good to Be True”

You’ve seen this saying over and over again in medicine, haven’t you? Big Pharma spends multiple millions of dollars to bring its latest wonder drug to the market. In a few short years, we’re reading of damaging Apoquel side effects.

The drug may even be taken off the market, like the human anti-inflammatories Vioxx and Bexxtra, after they were found to increase heart attacks and strokes.

Now, after the amazement of the disappearing itch, we’re seeing Apoquel side effects..

After less than a year on the market.

None of this should be surprising. The veterinary drug market is even more fraught with problems, as the study period to trial new animal drugs and the size of the studies are both smaller than in human medicine.

Rimadyl and Trifexis are drugs associated with many deaths, especially the latter. They are still being widely sold.

ProHeart 6, the injectable six month heartworm pesticide, was pulled from the market for four years after “thousands of adverse events including death.”

It’s back, selling thousands of doses since 2008.

Oh, and the maker of this?

Zoetis. The same “animal health” giant that makes Apoquel.

What Really Causes Itch?

In Part One of this series, you saw a board certified veterinary dermatologist quoted, saying itchy dogs are caused by things like flea allergies and food allergies.

That’s a bit like saying pus is caused by abscesses.

Or high blood sugar is caused by diabetes.

Breaking News: Leading Scientist Discovers Sore Joints are Caused by Arthritis! Story at 6!”

Let’s assume for a minute that there’s not some angry being in the sky choosing your dog to get a wildly itchy allergic disease. Causing him to tear his skin to a bloody mess and live in torment for large parts of his days and nights.

While it often seems that’s precisely how Dr. WhiteCoat thinks, you know in your heart there’s got to be something deeper, right?

Allergies are Not Random Occurrences

Immune confusion, aka allergies, is entirely a man made disease.

Why do I call it immune confusion?

  • When your dog’s immune system responds with a full-on inflammatory response that threatens to turn him into a bloody, itchy pulp, and that response continues into weeks and months and years, you’re seeing immune confusion.
    • When your dog (cat, horse, child) reacts violently to everyday things like
    • flea saliva (even from one solitary flea)
    • chicken
    • grass

…which a normal animal takes in stride, you’re seeing immune confusion.

  • When your loved one’s life is threatened by his immune system attacking his own red blood cells or platelets, you’re seeing immune confusion.

Let’s face it, the immune system should not attack one’s self or react wildly and dangerously to normal things. When there’s a dangerous virus to be fought, sure, pour it on, turn up that inflammation, block it from reproducing, and kill that invader, for good and all.

But having a similar response to fleas and foods and plants outdoors?

That’s crazy. That’s immune confusion.

What Causes Immune Confusion?

Now you’re asking the keener question. The answer has become clearer to me over the years in holistic practice. And it’s quite evident now, and should make immediate sense to any thoughtful person.

Immune systems are put into a state of confusion by vaccines whose sole purpose is to hype that very system.

We all hope we’re somehow helping dogs, cats, horses, and human babies by injecting foreign viruses into them. In theory, sure, we’re building immunity.

“If you ever see this virus in the real world, you will now be primed to kill it quickly and efficiently. You’ve been vaccinated, immunized against it.

Would that this were true.

Instead, we see a state of chronic illness resulting from the vaccines. Even with a long list of seemingly different disease names, like

      • flea allergy dermatitis
      • atopic dermatitis
      • food allergy dermatitis
      • hypothyroidism
      • renal failure
      • inflammatory bowel disease
      • autism
      • autoimmune hemolytic anemia
      • autoimmune thrombocytopenia
      • cancer

The common thread among all of these? Immune confusion.

And most of these can be tracked back to one or two causes.

      1. Vaccinations (often occurring a month earlier)
        or
      2. Certain chemicals, most often the pesticide based heartworm “preventatives.” Many are linked to these dangerous diseases, though Trifexis seems to be out in front of the rest of the pack.

Both of these interventions are sold as “prevention.”

You are told to get these vaccines and buy these heartworm pills to be a responsible pet owner.

I submit that, until you question that premise deeply, you are being a very irresponsible pet owner.

Oh, I know. You’ve got lots of company. But until you start to connect these dots and take charge of your animal’s health decisions, you’re skating on thin ice.

Apoquel side effects. are merely the tip of the iceberg.

True Prevention Always Beats Treatment, Hands Down

But, we’re talking about a drug to deal with the aftermath of that immune confusion, aren’t we? Isn’t that what Apoquel is sold for, after all?

Sure. But in Part One, you learned that this drug mainly tweaks the immune system. And you read how that was working out for the dogs who’ve been on it for some months.

Immune confusion all over again!

You likely learned enough to be quite concerned about signing up for that miracle drug, right?

Apoquel side effects sound worse than the itch the drug set out to fix!

What we can surmise from careful scrutiny of all this is an age old axiom that’s every bit as true today as it was in the old days:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Your job now? Figure out what true prevention looks like and start applying that to your animals.

Far better for your dog to never get to the point of chewing off his toes. Or for your cat to never start denuding and abrading her belly because she itches down there.

Here’s what I see as true prevention, with some links to help you down that Natural Path.

      1. Minimally vaccinate, if you choose to at all. That is the subject of an entire course, which is periodically re-opened for enrollment. To get first notice, get on the list. If you want to get a head start, I’ve written about this, your most important decision, extensively. You can start here.
      2. Already dealing with The Itch? No more vaccines for this animal, ever. You’d be throwing fuel on the fire. Good news: you’ve got a waiver.
      3. Get heartworm pesticides out of the picture. Prevent heartworm without dangerous drugs.
      4. Feed your animals food that meets their genetic expectations. For the carnivores in your house, that means balanced raw food diets.
      5. Control fleas and ticks with time proven non-toxic methods.
      6. If you’re currently dealing with a sick animal, read on. You have choices.

Alternatives to Apoquel (My Dog’s Already Got the #@&¡ Itch!!)

I have good news and bad news for you, if your dog is already plagued with the itch from hell.

The good news: This can be cured. Cure means not only does the itch stop, but the whole animal gets well. And stays that way without continual medication.

The bad news: This will take time and is not DIY (do it yourself).

This is chronic disease, and there’s no “one size fits all” here. Believe me, if there was, I’d be spelling it out for you right now.

I’m suggesting classical homeopathy as a means to cure the itch. I know of no other form of medicine that comes even close to homeopathy’s ability to cure serious disease, including this common one.

The goal: cure the state of being allergic to normal things, while the whole animal becomes healthier and more vital.

It takes hiring a veterinary homeopath who’s been trained in this amazing science. He or she will be looking in depth at not only the itch, but the rest of your animal as well.

      • is she thirsty?
      • fearful?
      • always hungry?
      • averse to getting her feet wet?
      • always jerking and twitching in her sleep?

All these questions and more will be asked by a good homeopath, as we seek to find the best remedy for your individual animal’s state of illness.

Case management is important here, as we know at the outset that it’ll take more than one remedy to cure a chronic illness. Which remedy given when, at what potency, when to watch and wait, when to repeat, when to change remedies, all of that comes with professional training and experience.

And all of that skilled case management is what gets your animal cured in the end.

Of course, you’ll have to be very involved in the entire process. You are the eyes and ears on your animal and you will have to keep track of the many symptoms your homeopathic vet points out to you as being important to your animal’s shift towards cure.

Finding The Best Help

The best veterinary homeopath for you is likely to be someone whose practice is mostly if not totally homeopathy. He may not even be in your town. Or your state or province.

Fear not: If you can describe symptoms well (and most of you can), you can work with someone at a distance and finally get the itch cured.

A great place to start your search is my Recommended Resources page. Scroll down to find the AVH list there. The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy is the home of many vets who have taken what I consider the best post-graduate veterinary training available: The Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy.

The AVH also certifies graduates of this course who’ve gone the extra mile to pass exams and submit case reports for peer review. You’ll see a notation at each vet’s listing as to whether they are certified by the AVH or not.

In addition, each member is asked to list the percentage of their practice that is homeopathy. A good bet: hire someone who practices mostly or all homeopathy. They don’t “have a foot in two canoes,” you see?

They think homeopathically about each patient. That’s valuable to you if your goal is cure.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve been through the itch and have gotten it cured with the help of homeopathy. Or if this year will be your year to get started down this path of cure.

And, to keep learning more on the Natural Path, join us in the Vital Animal Pack, just below. Hope to see you on the inside!

p.s. If you missed Part One of this series on Apoquel, be sure to check it out here: Apoquel: Dog Miracle Drug With a Dark Side. There you’ll also find my free Apoquel Alternatives Report.

94 Comments

  1. Arlene Motschenbacher on June 8, 2021 at 11:35 am

    My dog was on Apoquel for 6 years. I repeatedly asked the vet if it was safe for long term use. They reassured me it was. It began not working and he became lethargic and would not eat so I went to another vet who ran blood work and gave him an allergy shot. Blood work showed a low white blood cell count and he referred me to a specialist. His lymph nodes were enlarged and they took a sample and it turns out he has cancer (lymphoma). Because he is now 10, I did not want to put him through chemo so he is on Prednisone. He has bounced back but the specialists said it is an aggressive cancer so I am taking it day by day. I would like to notify the makers of Apoquel, not to accuse them, but to make them aware of this development. I think it should be listed as a possible side effect with long term use. If it’s not reported, no one is aware, right?

  2. david roberts on July 19, 2020 at 9:27 am

    I just lost my 12 yr old mail Shih Tzu to cancer of the liver and spleen. Threw up all day long one day. Dead within a week. He had skin allergies the vet treated with daily doses of apoquel. Seemed to work for a while with his coat returning to normal. Then came back and seemed to be unaffected by meds. She was then going to switch to a monthly injection of cytopoint but we never got that far. My question is there a relation of the cancer to the medication?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on July 20, 2020 at 11:56 pm

      It sure seems so, David. If you look at my first article on Apoquel and pay special attention to the comments, you’ll see lots and lots of people who’ve seen cancer following the use of this drug. The clincher though is the drugs “fine print” on the label. They admit cancers that had been held in check (and therefore, often invisible so far) can take off and grow when this drug suppresses your dog’s immune system.

  3. Kelli on February 7, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    I feel I must chime in. Ollie is a 9 year, 7 month old tri-color English Springer. Sweet as silk and beloved as pie. Adopted from a litter of 13 with mom/dad on premises; spitting image of dad who also had the soulful eyes and sweetest temperament. Oliver picked me to be his mom, twice actually, out of the 13. Maybe he knew who would be the one to pick a field spaniel and allow him to be King of the Castle instead, who knows the answer, maybe I smelled like a friend.
    Oliver has always had my heart and always had the itch. Allergies to fleas was the first clue. He’s only had ONE but it drove him insane until it was caught and exterminated. He has been on chemical treatment since, including Trifexis. He has had all of the ‘regular’ vaccines required for doggy daycare and training programs to be a good socialized doggy citizen. He has been on Bravecto… This one rips at my soul to give him, he and I both know it is poison. He has to be forced to take it and is ill for a day afterward with lethargy and a runny nose, sick stomach and just pure misery. Yet, we are riddled with ticks with lyme disease at our weekend home and so far, he is negative for lyme. And he is allergic to fleas, ticks and mosquitos.
    5 years ago he had a sudden neck lymphadenopathy that was initially diagnosed as lymphoma. We were discussing euthanasia. It came back as a histoplasmosis of some type that is seen in cats… so random and weird but obviously an autoimmune/immune dysregulation issue of some form.
    He has also had a horribly itchy mouth… scratching to the point of bleeding and infection with crusting and sometimes even green moldy looking formations in the corners. We call it “facetiming” when he drinks as whoever hears him drinking has to call it out and whomever is closest dashes to wipe off his mouth dry. We do this in order to prevent moisture around the mouth and thus hopefully limit/prevent more scratching or another infection.
    Oliver has also been prone to sebaceous cysts. Having had some removed only to return plus more. He now has multiple along his body and a very large fatty cyst under his armpit we are monitoring for continued growth. Some open and expel fatty, waxy substances, like sebaceous cyst pimples, only they do not go away. Some get infected and require removal.
    Oliver has been on Apoquel for the tortuous itch for probably 2 years now. It has worked, somewhat. I despise giving it him every day; He runs to the sound of pills and anticipates receiving his white tablet wrapped in a small section of honey ham. I cringe watching him swallow it greedily, as I know the side effects. I have watched the cystic tumors increase in numbers, size and frequency. I have watched him increasingly scratch and rub himself even on the medication and/or require additional Benadryl for really rough seasons.
    He has been allergy tested and is allergic to …. well a LOT! He is limited in food choices and grass types, allergic to trees, cotton, feathers, chicken, beef, duck, eggs and even nearly allergic to humans, only a few points off of 100.
    All this to say that as he has been aging, developing cataracts and those things folks have been telling me were signs of an ‘aging dog’… I have been watching changes in him and his behavior that have told me it is more than that.
    As his dog-mom, I can see it in his eyes and I know it is Cognitive decline or doggy dementia. And it is occurring along with more frequent but random bouts of what I call acid regurgitation…. which if you read the literature, doesn’t occur often in dogs. These bouts of ‘reflux’ are so miserable that if he cannot get outside to eat grass (to which he is allergic) he will literally EAT THE CARPET trying to feel better. He is riddled with anxiety and misery. I try to help with coconut oil, yogurt, apples… anything to get his stomach to settle and help him feel better. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes and sometimes hours and vomiting. He is now taking an antacid supplement before morning meals, eating probiotic yogurt at noontime and his meals are spread to three times per day from two.
    Recently his panting and pacing have increased. His nighttime wandering has increased and he appears confused. I have stopped the Apoquel. I have started home cooking a pork loin based meal to feed him once per day with Dr Becker/Mercola meal mix, Krill Oil, Ubiquinol, RX Zyme and Nutrigest added in. I am concerned that his previous long term intake of a salmon based kibble meal does not provide enough (or too much in the form of toxins) for my little man. I am afraid that he cannot detoxify these medications any longer and that he is building up free radicals causing early decline and/or cancer somewhere in his system. I am probably too late to the game but here I am trying to undo what I have done to him for over 9 years 🙁
    I continued to allow him to be on these drugs. Worse yet, I am an RN and have recently become a wholistic practitioner, although I am not an anti-vaxer. I have seen what not vaccinating can do to a community as well, I still believe in medical science and clinical study. Yet, I also know big pharma and businesses have their hands way too deep in the pockets of most clinicians and healthcare systems, including veterinarians.
    It is time for the people to take back healthcare, for people and the animals we love. We are not minions of the white-coat dictatorial rule, we are consumers of their services and required to our part of the work of making informed decisions. We can, and MUST, demand transparency, ethics, and accountability on their part; yet we are responsible to work to become knowledgeable and accountable for our own care and decisions at the same time. It is the same within the wholistic world of supplements. This arena is unregulated and there are a lot of ‘snake oil’ salesman here as well. Not everything is smoke and mirrors, however, not everything is a miracle cure just because its on the internet that it was used in China in 1425 AD.
    There is a responsibility and accountability on all sides to provide honest information based in fact, on solid ethical principles of business and scientific practice and with the foremost integrity to do no harm to the innocent domesticated pet who is at the mercy of benevolent pet owner who is only trying to give them the best love and life possible.

  4. GLENYS ARTHUR on November 1, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Hi,

    I just wanted to say that we have 2 Lurchers. The smaller one (1st cross Beddlington/Whippet) is currently on Apoquel. She has been for over 12 months, and we have worked to reduce the dosage to minimal amounts (currently half every other day). It’s working.
    The other dog (think Santa’s Little Helper from Simpsons) has recurrent inflammatory bowel issues.
    Prior to receiving a particular prescribed/injected flea treatment quite a few years back, neither of them had these issues (Bitch is 12 years old now, and dog is 11).

    We have kept vaccinations and medications to an absolute minimum. They were originally our son’s dogs but came to us permanently about 18 months ago due to a change in his circumstances. We’ve ditched the ‘specialist’ food that promises the world and only irritates the bowels of one and the skin of the other…

    Apart from getting old, they are in good health. We often overthink the flea-ing and worming…don’t we?

    Interestingly, and strangely, I had missed 2 days of Apoquel…Today she has been limping. I did some research and discovered that in some cases it seems to ease the inflammation associated with arthritis. I gave her half a tab about 45 minutes ago. Guess what? The limping has eased somewhat. It’s still there, but she has been able to put that foot to the floor whereas she was previously unable to do so.

    Perhaps it’s all things in moderation? I do believe that we over-subscribe to pharmaceutical drugs for our animals and ourselves; the Big Pharmas are intent only on filling their coffers regardless of whether that is through human or animal sales of medications that often cause horrendous side effects and require further medications to alleviate said side-effects (e.g. recent and ongoing opiod crisis).

    Even homeopathic remedies can go wrong. 🙂

  5. Greg on July 11, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    It’s fine and dandy to push homeopathy veterinarian care but the problem lies in the fact that the average person can’t afford this type of treatment. It’s no different than traditional veterinarian medicine, the only way a Veterinarian will be available is if you have the money. Bottom line. Who has thousands of dollars to spare without going into deeper debt. And as in all medical fields, animal and human, there are many who would deceive you just to fleece you. Nobody can be trusted.

    Here in the province of Ontario, in Canada, it’s difficult to find a veterinarian who is solely involved in homeopathy as most of the few who exist blend both fields of homeopathy and traditional. To compound the matter there are horror stories how these vets rip people off, all at the expense of the pet. There’s so much money to be made in the pet industry it’s no wonder this happens with regularity.

    And to push a raw food diet is irresponsible. All raw meats are full of antibiotics, hormones and steroids, unless you can find, and afford, grass fed-free range meats. In many cases, it’s these things the pet has allergies to, and even with a perfect immune system, none of these are good for life. What animal, pet or human, has the perfect immune system? Nobody. And there’s no way to make an immune system perfect. You can improve it to a point where it’s optimal, but never perfect.

  6. Mrs. Fry on March 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I live in Pennsylvania, I know a long cry from the west coast, but I am experiencing the allergy problems with my 12 yr. old English Springer Spaniel. The allergies didn’t really flare up until about 3 years ago. We knew that in EARLY spring there would be a visit to the vet (high time for hot spots). We suspected that she was allergic to flea bites. We used Frontline for flea and tick control. But it didn’t seem to work all the time. Appointment time. So there were antibiotics and steroids to clear her bacterial skin infection. Then it became chronic. The skin infections were smelly. We nick named her “corn chip” I was given shampoo and to bathe her twice a week. ..the vet that I had been working with at the time tried to send me to specialist vet to see my dog. We didn’t have the funds to take her. The initial visit to the specialist was $150 and there wasn’t going to be any testing done that day. So after we tried a new vet and 3 more visits we broke down and went to the specialist. She was nearly 10 yrs old at the time. First visit the s.vet sent us home with the same medications that our regular vet gave us. Then at her follow-up appointment we were told due to my dogs age that they couldn’t perform allergy tests. That more than likely she had environmental allergies and the only way to “quel” to itch was to give her this medication (Apoquel) and to follow dosing exactly. 2 pills per day for two weeks then 1 pill a day to manage symptoms…4 hours after the first dose we saw results.
    I WISH I NEVER WOULD HAVE GIVEN IT TO HER
    She’s been on it and off it. And when she comes off it for only a few days things only get worse…To control the itch we are up to 2 pills per day, that’s $160 a month $1,900+ a year!! She can’t breath out of her nose. The NexGuard that we switched to from Frontline (because of all the bathing) and the Apoquel: her body now has a reaction…discovered by stopping the flea and tick and then reintroducing. It’s a non stop train of mucous thick and yellow coming out her nose. Can’t breath and looks miserable!! She’s been on Apoquel for long enough now that I’m almost certain that it has jacked up her immune system so much so that whatever she really is allergic to that Apoquel can no longer block. So…I mentioned to my vet that we couldn’t keep doing this to her. It wasn’t fair to the dog or the family. Asked my vet about putting her down…I was told that since she was not in pain that they would not, but could “re home” her. She’s 12! When will it be enough? There next avenue of suggestion is Cytopoint…not much better than the Apoquel…but is there much of choice??

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 21, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      There is, Mrs. Fry. It’s called hiring a trained homeopathic vet and seeing about cure instead of all this drugging which, as you’ve experienced, doesn’t work for long and ultimately makes things worse.

      Start with the AVH list on my Resources page. Find a vet, near or far doesn’t matter, who

      1. Does 75% or more homeopathy in their practice and
      2. Does phone consulting

      Spend money on moving this poor dog towards CURE, not available from any drug anywhere.
      All the best. The next move is yours.

  7. Elizabeth on February 14, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    The fact that you link vaccines to autism immediately discredits everything else on this website. The link between vaccines and autism is literally non existent. It was fabricated to begin with and it has been repeatedly proven that there is no link. Shame on you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 15, 2019 at 10:27 am

      Tell you what, Elizabeth: try telling that to any one of the countless parents who watched their child slip away shortly after a round of MMR vaccine. Normal development and interaction to gone. For life.

      Then we’ll see who has shame to deal with.

      • E Evans on November 19, 2022 at 11:41 pm

        I agree with you, Will, 100%.

  8. Kristine on January 27, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    My puppy has been itchy for a year. I’ve had her on a raw diet and THEN she got super itchy. The vet put her on a hydrolyzed protein diet but it did not help. She’s on apoquel now but getting itchy again and has been vomiting once a day or every other day for the last week. Any thoughts on the hydrolyzed protein diet? She has had all her vaccines as this is my first dog and I thought I was doing the right thing. I’ve read your Apoquel alternatives but not really getting much out of it. What am I missing? Looks like I just need to find a different vet?? I appreciate the help – I’m reading all your documents but I think I’m more confused than I was before.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 15, 2019 at 10:30 am

      What’s missing is a trained homeopathic vet, who does mostly or only classical homeopathy. There was no cure from raw food? Then it’s time to hire someone who is trained in curing chronic disease (like The Itch).

      Diet works for some but far from everyone. All those vaccines are to blame, and the undoing of what’s been damaged will take time, patience, and skilled professional help, whether or not that person is physically in your vicinity.

  9. Tiana on December 28, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    My itchy pup is currently on her first month of apoquel, the first two weeks we sawa huge difference now that we are on the 1 a day the itch is back still better than before it though. We have tried different foods and taking elements out of her diet. Do you recommend an allergy test to figure out the cause as well? Know of any homeopathic vets in Boise Idaho area?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 28, 2018 at 11:23 pm

      Hey Tiana,

      I think the things most dogs are allergic to is a moving target, so I rarely recommend those tests (which are suspiciously extensive, showing allergies to some pretty crazy things).

      The goal is to cure the allergic state itself. Then things turn around. Don’t know any homeopathic vets in Boise, but that doesn’t mean much: we are just too few at present to be in every city. Use my Apoquel Alternatives Report to choose one who’ll help you reach cure by telephone appointments.

  10. cacarr on September 16, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Its extremely unfortunate that this nonsense has such a high ranking for the search terms “apoquel side effects.” Homeopathy is absolute giberish, garbage, nonsense.

    • MaryAnn Aquilino on September 24, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      Conventional medicine, ie Apoquel, gave my otherwise healthy dog Lymphoma. Give me holistic medicine anytime!

    • David on December 10, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Any steroid or steroid type of drug will eventually kill a human or a dog partner.

  11. Dolores Reeves on August 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I have a 5year old pug and we’re fighting supposed allergies and staph in her feet and ears…nothing works. Apoquel, TrizChlo4 shampoo, Trizulet’s+Keto for her ears. I’m pouring sand down a rat hole. It’s nonstop meds that do nothing. Plus Science Diet DD dog food. Any suggestions I’m open for anything. I was even told I need to rip my carpet out.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 27, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      The mindset shift is this, Dolores: nothing in conventional medicine can cure what they’ve created here, called chronic disease. Homeopathy, from a professional trained in that science can, but it will take time and effort. You can download my Apoquel Alternatives Report from this page: https://vitalanimal.com/apoquel-dog-1/ It’ll tell you how to choose a good homeopath.

      p.s. actually curing chronic disease is also never DIY (do it yourself). Though people certainly try, and I wish it were possible, it’s simply too complex to think a supplement or diet or lifestyle change will cure such a state.

  12. Sanford Feldt on July 20, 2018 at 9:57 am

    My moms dogs are both old and are in serious amounts of pain.So we tried using marijuana and CBD The one guys is so bad he will just sit there and shake most of the day and you tell they are both in a lot of pain, we recently started treating them with CBD and oh my god does it work, after one small dose my moms one dog stopped shaking for 3 days and both were in noticeably less pain for days after one dose of CBD compared to the prescription pain meds the vet gave them, we actually took them off those pain meds and have them running on pure CBD and the vets are amazed at how well it works so yes there is lots of research on the subject just like medical mj… the research is all there my friend all you have to do is a little research and you will find it.

  13. Linda Gail Sanders on July 4, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I find it truly amazing, since growing up with dogs, from the age 11 to now the age of 66. and during my young years with my dogs never once did we have all these so called problems with our dogs. We didn’t give them rabies shots either, we took them for walks in the neighborhood, they sniffed everything. They were fed Kennel Ration dog food mixed with table scraps. Our dog Hobo went to the vet once for a cut on his leg that was pretty serious and he stayed overnight, we went back the next day to retrieve him and I laughed at his name on his instruction sheet Hobo Sanders. The point I am trying to make here, is this, It seems that people in almost EVERY profession will lie to you just to make a buck, the greed and mendacity in this country has grown expodentially. They tell you that what YOU INSTINCTIVELY KNOW is WRONG. TRUST YOURSELVES. THINK FOR YOURSELVES. Feed your dog as you would feed yourself. If you eat vegetables, meat and a starch, feed your dog that too! They will be healthier. We used to take our dogs to the local SPCA for dips for fleas, and that was it. THEY ALL LIVED LONG AND HEALTHY LIVES, living in the city, surrounded by row houses. Having a dog has become TRENDY and some jerk somewhere decided like most business people do, they decide to develop snake oils and then play on your fears emotions to get you to act. Then when you act, you dig deep into your pockets, then it doesn’t work, you dig deeper, and deeper. Then your pet dies, and they have your money, your pet is gone. Just don’t over feed him. Like you it also won’t live forever. Just treat your dog good, love it, because he is part of YOUR FAMILY, tell your pet EVERYDAY, SEVERAL TIMES A DAY HOW MUCH YOU LOVE HIM/HER, your vetrinarian as well as your doctor only sees you as BUSINESS, a MONEY MAKING VENTURE, and with that follows LIE after LIE, DECEPTION after DECEPTION, no matter how NICE they appear to because they ONLY DO what the PHARMACUETICAL companies tell them, they don’t know a damn thing, in order for them to KNOW, they have to be scientists too, work in a lab and know results themselves and THEY ARE NOT SCIENTISTS AND DON’T WORK IN A LAB. YOU AND YOUR PET ARE EXPENDABLE.

    • Shelley Sealover on January 25, 2020 at 5:38 am

      You are so right!! Deception is how Pharma operates today. It’s mind-boggling to me that people still haven’t figured this out. NEVER trust your Dr … and ALWAYS question everything when it comes to your pet swallowing the “latest, greatest” pharmaceutical “treatment” (poison). Many of those “treatments” turn out to be the CAUSE. This is also true w. Veterinary Fluoroquinolones… I would venture to take an educational guess that just previous to the pet’s onset of allergies, a Fluoroquinolone may have been prescribed (to treat an infection) … all Fluoroquinolones are poison, they damage DNA and cause oxidative stress to cells… leading to a laundry-list of drug-induced injury…. and may be the true source of all the pet’s ailments. Pharma creates lifelong customers $$$$$$$$

  14. Melinda Willette on May 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    My 4 yr old St Bernard/Great Pyr was dx’ed with idiopathic epilepsy at age 2 now taking Keppra, Zonisamide and Pheno. Her seizures seem to be more pronounced during the Spring/Summer Months, as her Outside Allergies to grass, pollen, etc. I do home cook for her, (avoiding commercial dog foods) feeding a balanced meal per Tufts, Boston, Vet Nutritionist. Just recently was dx’ed with jowl pyoderma and ears inflamed/itching due to outside allergies. The Vet had put her on Apoquel as an initial dose for 10 days tapering off. Her allergies have reared their ugly heads again – no jowl pyoderma, but ears itching. We have been using an inflatable fleece e-collar on her from preventing her to scratch. Vet re-prescribed Apoquel and said we could use this ‘indefinitely’. She also has a bit of muscle/hip dysplasia and is being treated from a PT requesting the need for walks on grass daily to strengthen her hip/rear leg muscles ..thus the dilemma. Where do we go from here – Any alternatives for Apoquel with no contra-indications using her anti-seizure meds. Thank You.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 22, 2018 at 5:27 am

      Hi Melinda,
      The chief alternative is curing this dog’s chronic illness state. No drug can do that, if you haven’t realized that yet.
      In my Apoquel Alternatives Report, I spell out how to hire a good homeopathic vet. You’ll find that on this page.
      Wishing you all the best at curing this vaccine injured youngster.

  15. GINA DANIEL on May 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    I’m really upset that the vets at the clinic I go to have been prescribing Apoquel to my dog for years and none ever told me to watch for side effects or warned me of any potential damageor danger of long term use. I have noticed agression that didn’t used to exist towards other dogs over the last few years and had no idea it could be connected. I just assumed it was age or her bully nature. She loves the dog park but I can’t take her anymore which makes me sad and she still behaves at daycare where she is very submissive but that’s because I’m not there I guess. At any rate I feel like I have failed her that she’s missed out on so much and possibly physically harmed by the Apoquel that seemed to be only thing that helps her itching. I don’t know if the side effects are permanent or reversible and I would like to know as I am taking her off Apoquel. She has not stayed on it constantly but she has been on it for about 4 years off and on depending on symptoms. Shes a white Bull Terrier With hx of demodex and flea allergy dermatitis. I question putting her on immune suppressant when her immune system has been compromised by the mange she had years ago… This makes me mistrust my vets further care of my now 8 year old girl! I don’t know how to proceed…but I have some natural products and know all about bathing with oatmeal and cleaning feet etc. I’ve tried everything but when her skin flares up its bad.
    Thank for any info on Post Apoquel expectations…

  16. Lori on February 19, 2018 at 11:01 am

    My senior tiny poodle suddenly when we moved from CA to MN got scabby, itchy skin. Vets cannot figure it out. Tried prednisone, change of foods, now on Apoquel that seems to keep it at bay. Thoughts? Its expensive and I hear experimental…

  17. Londa Hershberger on August 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    What are we to do? Vets and government tell us to vaccinate… Anything you want your dog to participate in, requires the usual vaccines. City/county govs (at least mine doesn’t) won’t accept titres, which is so ignorant, it seems to me. It should be a requirement PRIOR to vaccinating! I’m at a loss… so confused. I don’t like poisoning my dog with vaccines. How are they protected from all the horrors our vets tell us will happen if we don’t vaccinate! For example, if you have squirrels in your yard, you’d better have the LEPTO vaccine, or your dog could contract this virus! I read Dr. Dodd’s book, The Canine Thyroid Epidemic, …very informative for sure. Great articles from her, too, regarding the dangers of vaccines. So I’m on board with not vaccinating, but how do we not vaccinate and live in the world as it is, with our dogs? Very conflicting! What is that strategy for complying, keeping our pets safe from these diseases, while protecting them from the preventions???

    • Londa Hershberger on August 5, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      One more thing… regarding Apoquel….
      My sister told me about Apoquel for my dog, since it had done wonders for her 12 yr old lab who has been suffering with all types of allergies for years, and after trying one thing after another… skin-type, foot, and all sorts of allergies… I think she had been on it for only several months.
      When she told me about the great results for her girl, I started my lab on it a month and 1/2 ago, but stopped just a few days ago because I am breeding her. Well, I got a text from my sis this morning… her dog was fine yesterday afternoon.. began vomiting last night, bleeding from her rectum and has a 104 temp. They have her on whatever life-support needed, testing her for cancer, etc…my poor sis is at her wits end…afraid she will lose her best friend! Could Apoquel have compromised her liver, or something that could over time cause symptoms like these? It happened literally overnight!!
      I won’t be restarting it… Way too dangerous, it seems, as I’ve read here… not enough study done… I’m afraid our sweet pets are the real test samples!

  18. Rebecca on August 5, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Are nightmares a known side effect of Apoquel? I asked my vet and she says no but I’ve noticed every time I give my 8 year old pit bull a pill, that same night she has really bad dreams. We have to wake her up for it to stop. Ive searched online and can’t find anything related either. I give her a pill in the morning with her food occasionally. I stopped giving it every day. The vet is now suggesting to switch to cytopoint injections.

  19. Tammy on July 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Thanks for the source. Will do more research before giving her anything new but nice to have some options.

  20. Tammy on July 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks for the source. Will do more research before giving her anything new but nice tomhave some options.

  21. Tammy on July 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    ….and what reputable source do you get CBD oil from?

    • laurh@paulbunyan.net on July 24, 2017 at 11:43 am

      I have ordered CBD oil from Diamond CBD. I think there are many options out there but that is the one I have purchased from. It is made from industrial hemp so no THC of course. It is cannabidoil w/out any psychoactive components, an alternative to medical marijuana. Not saying it’s by any means a cure all but I can say it has helped my dog w/her itching.

  22. Tammy on July 23, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    No, I have not tried that on he. How is it different from regular hemp oil which I have in my fridge currently. I will do some research. Thanks for the suggestion.

  23. laurh@paulbunyan.net on July 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Tammy, have you considered trying CBD oil? I began giving it to my seasonally allergic lab this summer and I do think it has helped. I have apoquel and occasionally give her an 8mg dose but that has become only once or twice a week. Tried the CBD oil and since adding it to the mix she has remained comfortable and far less itchy. She is also a raw food, no more vaccinations dog. For her it is seasonal and pollens. We also use 4Life Transfer Factor. Think it all helps us to stay minimal w/the harmful drugs.

  24. Tammy on July 23, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I just pulled my 8 yr old french bulldog off Apoquel. She had been on Temaril p for years and her allergies were perfectly supressed. Little did I know, she would develop calcinosis cutis and iatragenic cushings from the steroids. I believed such a low dose would not cause such problems. I was wrong and my dog suffered because of it. So I had to take her off the Temaril but the itching returned with a vengence. Vet mentioned new drug called Apoquel. I did my research, found the drug to be very scary but felt no choice due to her suffering and began her on the drug. It did stop her itching but after the loading does was cut it was not as effective and she would start to smell just days after a bath. Then she started getting redness and irritation in the fold around her vulva and constantly drug her girl parts on the ground (no, it was not anal gland or other issue, it was a red inflamed vulva). I gave her a hydroxizne one night instead of the Apoquel and the next morning her vulva was no longer red so I thought maybe she had gotten a bite from a bug in the yard. Next morning put her back on regular Apoquel. The inflamed vulva returned and she began shaking her head and appeared to be starting to get an ear infection. This was about a month into Apoquel use. So due to the fact that she seemed to be GETTING fold infections from the immune suppresion, I decided to stop the Apoquel and by the next morning, her vulval folds were no long red and she no longer scratched her butt on the ground. So now I was certain that issue was being caused by the Apoquel. She is on hydroxizine at the moment. She has been minimally vaccinated as a puppy and has never received any boosters. She had always been on a raw diet, no grains, mostly meat and veggies…but she is a frenchie, with all the genetic issues that come with the breed. She does get Nexguard a few times in the summer because she is horribly allergic to flea bites. The problem I have with homeopathy is I have tried 2 well known homeopathic vets with cats in the past and it did not result in many positive results, just ALOT of money spent so I am very cautious of that route now. One of the vets just seemed to have gone off the deep end with mystical musings so I just started to question the validity of the whole idea. Anyway, my frenchie girl is laying at my side snoozing, mostly ok with the occasional attempt to lick her feet….she is trained with the command, “no feet” so I can usually break the feet cycle. Just at a loss with where to go from here. I know, had I kept her on Apoquel, she would have had more disastrous health problems. The damage from the Temaril is slowly resolving. Some of the calcinosis actually turn to osteoma cutis but even since having her off the Apoquel for 2 days, the bumps are getting smaller. I feel so horrible for all the damage I have caused this amazing dog all in the attempt at trying to help her, and I know better, I have been a raw feeder for 25 years and aware of the vaccine issue for as long, when one of my abyssinian kitten became paralyzed for 3 days after a kitten vaccine. So none of this is new to me but I do understand the frustration of having a suffering animal and wanting to do anything to help. Just be cautious with interfering with the immune system with something like Apoquel…I think in the years to come it will pan out how damaging this drug is.

  25. Debbie on July 11, 2017 at 5:49 am

    I live in Spring Texas (just outside of Houston) Is there any true holistic vets that anyone knows of, that are near to my town? I’ve checked and only found one, Dr. Ahrens, which I visited, but is not truly holistic.
    Thank you.

  26. Mac on May 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Our rescued yellow lab has class 10/10 itchiness without medication. If you haven’t cared for a dog with allergies this severe, it’s hard to understand how itchy it can get. She came to us in rough shape after living on the streets for 2 weeks and scratching 75% of the hair off her body.
    If it wasn’t for early access to Apoquel (thanks Boston), our dog would probably be put down. Our pup will most likely die young from a complication from this drug. But I’d prefer her have 5 good years than 10 bad ones.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 16, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Hey Mac,
      Thanks for chiming in. I don’t think it’s either/or: suffering vs less good years on a dangerous drug. If that’s good enough for you, so be it, but the Apoquel Alternatives Report that’s free for the taking (link at the bottom of the article above) gives options that include a long healthy life w/o using risky drugs.
      This article is here to promote that possibility and help people see they have greater choices than Big Pharma would have you believe.

    • Kristine on August 18, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. I have a dog who I was considering euthanasia. If you knew me, you’d think it impossible, but my dog was in agony 24/7. I was in pain too watching him suffer and not being able to help him! My vet who practices Chinese medicine tried everything. She had him food sensitivity tested through Dr. Dodds, etc. Changed his diet, used Chinese herbs, SLIT, etc., etc. I was paying approximately $500–800 a month on vet bills from many vets – a dermatology specialist, urgent care, a vet in my area and my homeopathic vet who practices Chinese medicine and regular medicine depending on the situation. Finally, my homeopathic vet decided to use Apoquel. She wanted to use it to get him off the antibiotics he needed for the deep wounds he caused continuously. It has been a miracle drug. We started on 16 mg (he weighs about 70 pounds) and I have reduced it to half that (8 mg) once per day. My dog is a rescue and I never really knew his until he was on the Apoquel. His personality has finally come out and he is so happy. The doctor is amazed at the fantastic turn around from the Apoquel. He has been on it 6 months now, has been tested and had perfect results so far. I felt the way many of you do, but finally made the decision that if he only lives one happy year, it would be worth it. I’m not going to let him suffer. I wouldn’t have made the decision if I hadn’t tried everything first, but I am happy with my decision and believe that quality of life is much more important than a long life of suffering. It is something everyone must decide on an individual basis not only for their pets, but for themselves. If you haven’t read or seen the film Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (Harvard physician), I highly recommend it. It covers this dilemma.

  27. Deb on May 14, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I have a dog on apoqeul he’s been on it for about 18 months now. My vet says he needs to have regular blood tests to make sure it’s not interfering with his major organs. After his 1st blood test my vet told me his liver enzymes were elevated, he’s had several blood tests since and each time the liver enzymes have increased. They have told me they have been in touch with the drug company who say they have had no reports it’s the apoqeul causing This! The vet just wants to do more investigation even though I’m convinced it’s the apoqeul. Apart from the itchy skin he’s a happy, healthy pup.

    • N.B on May 14, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Deb I’m not surprised that your dog’s liver enzymes are elevated. I am dismayed (but not surprised) that the drug company is saying that apoquel doesn’t cause this. I know of 2 people whose dogs are on apoquel, who were told specifically by their vets that the dogs’ livers would be affected and that they would need to be periodically tested. One of those people was also told by his vet that taking apoquel would shorten his dog’s life. How can the drug company say that the liver is not affected by this when vets are already aware of it???

  28. Richard on March 19, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Came across your article on apoquel because I accidentally took one a few days ago and I was googling people side effects. So far, I have none.
    You seem mostly adverse to the use of apoquel.
    We have a 23lb, 8 yr old puggle bitch; slightly more pug than beagle. She’s a healthy, happy dog, but she has chronic itchy skin. She’s been on apoquel for over a year now, 16mg once daily in the AM. No side effects and he itching is controlled. It works for us.

  29. Sara on January 13, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Very good article .. and Yes Vaccines seem to be the major issue I have found. My sweet English Springer came to me at 8 weeks old with all her baby vaccines I took her for her Bortadella at I think it was around 12 – 15 weeks ? (It’s been a while to remember) Anyhow they gave her the Bortadella up the nose as I was holding her in my arms and you could not have counted to 5 and she let out the most blood curdling screach and then went totally pale, defecated all over and her heart quit. I was within 3 minute of an ER thankfully and they were waiting for me and they began administering Epinephrin .. She made it through. Fast Foward 3 years .. April 21st, 2016. About a month prior to this date she had become itchy .. out of nowhere with no enviormental changes or food changes. Out of nowhere on the 21st she quit eating .. I thought doggie flu… turned her over to put a cool cloth on her belly and she was yellow (jaundice). Immediately took her to ER where they diagnosed her with AIHA. PCV was at 24 when we arrived and by morning PCV was at 11. Longs story short she was tested to see if it was genetic for her breed. Tested for Tick bite reaction. All came back negative. She ended up having 4 blood transfusions . There was no reason they could give for her having it which i have come to learn is the case in most AIHA dogs. 4 weeks in she was non-regenerative and they wanted to perform a Bone Marrow Asperate. We refused. So we added on a 3rd immune suppressing drug. she was currently on Prednisone, Mycophenoloate, and they added on to that Cyclosporine. Within 10 days she became regenerative. We did have a vet willing to use some natural supplements which we were thankful for. Fast Forward to today .. she is currently off all meds as of 4 weeks with no relapse. However I started her on my own on Bovine Colostrum approx. 3 months ago as they were weaning her off the last drug cyclosporine, I also put her on Raw Goats Milk Kefir. So far so good. She is still on Kibble ( Acana Duck and Pear) She is still dealing with the occasional itch so I’m concerned about that but it seems to be diminishing the further we get away from the meds so I’m hoping she is just detoxing through her skin and with time that will all heal as the cyclosporine caused her to have pyoderma for 6 weeks leading up to her being taken off the cyclo. Anyhow all that to share that i truly believe this disease goes back to that Bortadella Vaccine she had. I have no way to prove it obviously but I truly think some kind of harm was done to the immune system and possibly the cells .. I wish there was more research on this disease and why so many dogs are getting it and why so many vets fail at treating it. Thanks for the great article. !
    Sara and Flossie (ESP)

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 13, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      Hey Sara,
      I rarely see AIHA as “causeless” or “unknown,” though, to be fair, I see very little of it these days. Odds are very high that, within a month prior, she had either: 1. A heartworm pill or 2. a vaccination.
      These two are the commonest triggers, and now that combo wombo HW/Flea pills and spot ons are coming out, we’ll likely see more coming from those treatments as well. Bravecto seriously scares me.

  30. Garnet Fowler on January 8, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Thank you for letting me join the “pack”. I could write a book about things that have gone wrong with my pups and vets. But I won’t. I have put the skids on vaccinations for my dogs mostly because they have terminal illnesses. But I wish I had done it years ago. The 14 year old has colon cancer and the 13 year old has kidney disease. They are on Rx food and my home cooking since one has an allergy to animal protein. I asked the vet to sign a statement to bypass the state rabies shot requirement since I don’t want their immune systems taxed more than they already are. Waiting for a decision on that. Another tidbit I have learned is the chemicals we are convinced to use to clean etc. are the worst in the world. And our animals are breathing the air loaded with residual gases or whatever the chemicals give off. I now mop my floors with a steam mop and it works wonderfully. I make cleaners myself with vinegar/alcohol/peroxide, etc.
    Now I would like to say thank you for writing in a way I can understand. I hate having to look up every 10 words when I read something. What led me here was Apoquel and now I understand the medicine and am thankful it was just a short term treatment (for breakouts) for my dog with kidney disease. Looking forward to learning more in the future.

  31. Robyn on November 25, 2016 at 10:06 am

    You mention garlic for flea/tick prevention. Garlic is toxic to dogs and cats. I have seen renal failure in dogs given low dose garlic daily as a flea preventative.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on November 25, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Hey Robyn,
      Renal failure? That’s atypical, and I’d guess not due to the garlic. If an animal is going to get ill on garlic, it’s Heinz Body Anemia, a red blood cell oxidation disorder, as I recall.
      I changed my ways with garlic since reading what looked to be a well done study on garlic and dogs from Dogs Naturally Magazine. See if you can search it out and let me know what you think.

  32. Pam on October 24, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I see no mention of intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) here as a cause of allergic reaction … why? It’s slowly becoming revealed that leaky guy is a fundamental cause, and that healing it is a cure. I’m definitely a believer in homeopathy, but can it be a final cure if the gut remains leaky?

  33. Sandra on August 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Is there really help out there for our poor pups? I’ve been to three homeopathic Vets and he just keeps getting worse. I feed raw, use organic everything and feed cool foods. He is now down to one protein which is duck. Anytime I try to give him other sources he bites the fur completely off his back legs. He had his puppy shots which the breeder gave him and nothing since. He now has cataracts in both eyes at the age of one and hairless back legs. So if anyone has any thoughts to share, I would love to hear them. I lost one of my dogs last year to because of vaccines.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Sandra,
      So, I want to start by asking you to define “homeopathic” please. What did they prescribe? Can you name some remedies?
      My suspicion is that you had 3 “holistic” vets, which could mean almost anything. I’ll answer further when you let me know what treatments were offered.
      But, the short answer is YES, help is out there. Even for cataracts, which wouldn’t have occurred if proper homeopathy was being prescribed.

  34. Bubba N on August 9, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    After reading all of this, looking for answers, I know two things….
    1. “TANSTAAFL” (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch);
    2. This guy sure does take the long way around the barn to get anywhere!

    • ANDREA TIMMERMAN on August 20, 2016 at 8:44 am

      I totally agree….I’ve read numerous articles and comments,etc.Not once has there ever been any kind cure or remedy to be tried, just “find a local holistic vet”…..That doesn’t help most people,as there are not many around…..Closest one to me is over 2hrs away and won’t try to help me over the phone. Am really wondering about this site…..

      • Will Falconer, DVM on August 20, 2016 at 10:16 am

        Hey Andrea,
        Did you read the free Apoquel Alternatives Report from part one? It doesn’t sound like it. When you do, you’ll see the word “local” is not even used. Nor the word “holistic.”
        And yet, you can get help to cure this chronic disease called allergies. On your own, simply, at home? Not likely.
        Looking for shortcuts, like “just give this supplement and all your worries will be over?” If so, this site is definitely not for you.

  35. Jack Phillips on July 31, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    My dog Pepper is a female Cocker spaniel that is 8yrs old. She has been on Apoquel for three years now, and it no longer works. I discontinued using it. After spending many hours on the net researching options I came upon this site. I am now seeing many side affects of using this drug. Lumps for one, that are going to be removed and I’m hoping are not cancerous. Get off this drug if you’re giving it to your dog!

  36. Judy Martire on July 27, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I have a six year old golden/spaniel mix. At 2 she started with occasional (for no reason) diarrhea and vomiting. Our vet told us to give her chicken and rice until she got better. At around 3 she started licking and chewing her paws. Since this was our first dog, we relied on whatever treatment our vet gave us. The vet suggested we change her food to Science Diet – Venison. The licking subsided, but never left. Then in the end of 2014, we were given Apoquel because this miracle drug would end the licking! And it subsided during the winter, but really ramped up again in the Spring of 2015! While we waited for the manufacturers to make more Apoquel, we had her tested for allergies. The results were that she is allergic to beef, chicken, turkey, venison, lamb, pork, dairy, white potato and EVERY grass, weed, tree and bush that grows in the Northeast!! So the only thing left is rabbit and salmon. Rabbit seemed to be in short supply so we give her salmon with no potato. By the way, she HATES the salmon kibble! After reading all the info from this website, I am wondering where I go now! She’s still licking and I would like to put her on some food regimen, but wonder if the vaccines and Apoquel cause the food allergies? Can I just stop the monthly heartworm and flea and tick meds and hope this will “cure” some of these issues? I can’t give her raw food if she’s allergic to it, so how do I adjust? Any suggestions would be welcome.

  37. MelissA on May 4, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Hello does anyone know of a holistic vet in Southern California ?

  38. Michele Nelson on April 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Ugh, I’m at my witts end. My long coat German Shepherd, who was imported from Germany at 10 weeks old, and I took him home then, has been suffering since the day we got him. First with a GI problem , where he was thrashing on the floor and couldn’t get comfortable , 2nd day after we brought him home. Took him to our local vet , they took x-rays and found 3 days of undigested food in his intestines. They said it was probably a side effect of the drugs that they gave him for the plane ride. He always dragged his back feet, and at 6 months we had his hips X-rayed to find out he had SEVERE his Dysplacia on his left hip, right hip had some, and elbows had some as well. So we put him on glucosamine supplements right after. Then it was right after that , that I took him to a vet who I had thought was a holistic vet, but turns out she gave him a rabies vaccine, along with the last of his puppy vaccines, along with Lepto. At that time we had no clue she was going to do that, she took him in the back room and said he had all the rest of his vaccines. I was shocked when I saw how many she gave him at one time. I knew vaccines weren’t good, but there was nothing I could do about the rabies. Also the Distmeper vaccines, you can’t bring your pet to a therapy pool without those up to date. But to give him all of those at one time. This poor dog who already had a weak GI, and we had to be super careful with what we fed him, because he always seemed to have diarrhea. After we finally got his GI on track, the allergies started up. I know we are finally on track with his food because he does not do the itching and scratching in the winter time. But the second the grass turns green, the itching and scratching and licking is endless. He eats his groin area raw, he constantly licks his feet and his ears itch. When this first started happening , the vets we were going to , put him on antibiotics and steroids, which cleared up his problem initially. But then it came back with a vengeance a few weeks later. AFter a few times of this, I decided to find a different vet. I’ve had to do my own research along the way , as he’s my first dog, and with him being so sickly , I have found that I cannot trust most vets. They seems to help , but end up doing him more damage in the end. I’ve even had vets tell me that I’m killing him because I had him on a raw food diet, which had completely cleared up all of his GI problems and some of the allergies. Not all allergies can be cleared up with his diet because he is obviously allergic to grass and weeds and whatever trees are around us. But I thought we found the miracle pill, with Apoquel, because it worked FANTASTIC in the beginning. It stopped the itching in 4 hours like it said it would. After he was on it for about 3 months, I noticed him starting to act more lethargic, and not be interested in his food, and more arthritic. He didn’t look well. I became worried and I took him off of the Apoquel. Whatever that was bothering him improved and thank goodness we had an early frost and then winter so I didn’t have to worry about his itchies. But here we are again, spring is in full bloom here and so are Leo’s itchies. Today I was going to get him another bottle of Apoquel, and I decided to do some research on it first. I knew it, I just knew it was too good to be true. And that’s why I questioned the vet who prescribed and asked him if there were any long term side effects, such as liver damage, kidney, or anything else I should know about and he said , “NO, that it was perfectly safe.” Now I am back to square one, and I don’t know what to do with this dog. I had a holistic vet that gave me Chinese medicine for him, and it didn’t work. I don’t use them anymore because they have gone more traditional than homeopathic. They even had me give him a Lepto vaccine, because we occasionally take him hiking. I have an entire collection of essential oils and when I make up a mixture and spray them on him, his nose runs. So he may be allergic to them as well. He snores when he sleeps and makes gurgley noises. If the Apoquel is going to end up causing more damage than good, than I HAVE to find another solution to this itching, or he will end up with a skin infection. I DON’T know what to do anymore. I am at my witts end.

  39. Shona on April 12, 2016 at 5:31 am

    I have a one year old raw fed bulldog who has just been prescribed aquopel.
    I don’t want to go down this route.
    The vet has told me if I don’t he will continue to get cysts and his paws will be surgically removed.
    We are in Scotland and looking for any advice.
    Thanks

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 17, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Hi Shona,
      I’m glad you’re looking for alternatives. My English vet colleague, Mr. Chris Day, MRCVS can help you get this youngster cured with homeopathy. You can catch his very interesting finding on itchy dogs in my interview with him on this page.
      In short, vaccines are likely the cause of this state, and nothing conventional vets offer will cure it. And shame on them for threatening surgery to “fix” what they’ve caused! As you might guess, carving out cysts won’t cure the reason the cysts appeared in the first place.
      All the best in your endeavors. I’m so glad you’re looking outside the box.

  40. Laurie on January 28, 2016 at 12:42 am

    I found this website while searching for unbiased information about apoquel, and instead fell down the rabbit hole of homeopathy and no-vaxx. I know our animals are way over-vaccinated (I am a chihuahua owner stuck with recommendations to dose my dog like a 50 lb dog, only she weighs 4.75 lbs.) I’m sure vaccinations may have contributed to my dog’s Extreme Itch. But homeopathy is not a scientific, proven treatment. It’s not even logical. Beware folks.
    PS: You absolutely may not have a vaccine waiver for any animal in the state of Washington. All animals MUST be vaccinated against rabies, even dogs like mine that had an extreme allergic response to her last rabies shot at age 13. We will have to fly under the radar, as she will not be receiving any more vaccines except kennel cough. The state will not even accept titer testing.
    I would have liked to have seen more advocacy on your website and less witch-doctoring.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 30, 2016 at 4:17 am

      It sounds like you need to study more about homeopathy, Laurie. It’s curing animals. And young children. Of serious diseases that conventional medicine is failing badly at even helping.
      These are two groups who don’t make things up in health outcomes.
      I wish you well, and hope you’ll stop back when you’ve explored it and allowed your current paradigm to crack open a bit more. “Flying under the radar” tells me you’ve got it in you. I hope you’ll keep learning.

      • Awarner on April 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        This article fails to provide a clear and concise argument. Why compare completely different drugs in the beginning. The drug classes for apoquel is 100% different that rimadyl or trifexis. That’s like saying Xeljanz is bad for rheumatoid arthritis because ibuprofen can cause GI bleeds. They are completely unrelated!
        2nd, look up herd immunity and the average lifespan of people/dogs before and after vaccination.
        Also, vaccinations and allergies are only one of the many THEORIES on why allergies exist. Much like living indoors and the lack of exposure to the environment compared with our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
        There are extremes with both sides all views in medicine. Homeopathy has it’s place but it needs to work alongside current advancements rather than taking a step backwards. There is a reason people and animals live longer these days.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on April 15, 2017 at 6:23 pm

          They live longer, perhaps, but they live in increasingly more chronic disease now than ever in history. Our health care system is actually creating that chronic disease. The only advancements medicine has made that are significant to me (and the average thinking person) is its ability to cure acute trauma and mend broken bodies. That’s great.
          To cause the suffering that creates one of the longest aisles in every supermarket to be filled with anti-inflammatory drugs and to cause the untold emotional and financial and societal burdens that can only be properly called the epidemic of autism is unacceptable and indefensible.

    • Patty on February 20, 2018 at 11:05 am

      “Witch Doctoring”??? Really she did not say that….

  41. Marion Harris on January 2, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I have an 11 yr,old mini schnauzer who only had the first shots and then 1 rabies shot in her life and has been raw fed since 2. She went blind from PRA in June and she was given cyclosporine which they say she must use the rest of her life, so right now dealing with really bad itching and smell,I do go to a homeopathic vet who practices Chinese herbs, She is fixing to try something because so far I don’t see any difference, I ask if there was anything other than cyclosporine but she said no, I really think it is why she is this bad and I don’t know what else I can do.

  42. Kay on January 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    So I also have been battling food intolerance and environmental allergies. You lead to the transfer factor. Looks amazing, but I can’t feed beef or dairy. Is this colostrum going to trigger the same reaction? If so, is there another way?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 2, 2016 at 5:20 am

      This is fine for people with dairy allergies, Kay, as it’s a purified product: just these transfer factors, which are tiny immune molecules. Quite unlike the large molecules like casein.

  43. Christina Tait on December 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for this article. My 3 yo german shepherd, Lucy, has been dealing with “the itch” since fall of October, 2014. She’s been raw fed since she was 6 months old (grain free since 8 weeks). We don’t use chemical heart worm or flea prevention stuff; I haven’t had her spayed; I make my own home cleaning supplies, and we don’t use lawn chemicals. She had her recommended puppy shots, and I put off giving her her adult rabies shot until she was almost 2, but caved because I was afraid of what might happen if she got out of the yard and was picked up without a rabies tag. It was about 2 months after the rabies shot that the itching and hair loss began. She also developed a cyst on her side, which burst, healed and has not returned since fall of 2014.
    I took Lucy to the conventional vet who of course recommended a course of steroids, which I rejected, but at least confirmed that she didn’t have fleas or the appearance of mange. On the recommendation of a vet nutritionist, I increased her krill oil supplementation and started giving her homemade kefir as well as coconut oil each day, to help with the skin issues. I also put her on the product regimen from N’Zymes, which seemed to help for a bit. When her hair was still thinning, and skin very flaky, I took her to a holistic vet. There I had him take blood samples for the Dodd’s full thyroid panel (results were normal). He also administered a homeopathic remedy for potential after effects of rabies vaccine. He also prescribed a Chinese herbal supplement for hair and skin, called Shou Wu.
    The Shou Wu tablets really seemed to help (from August 2015 – to late fall). Her skin became less flaky, and her hair grew back. Then in November of this year, the itch began again. I haven’t changed anything about her food (she was getting Steve’s Raw, rotating through all four protein sources); she hasn’t been exposed to any medicines, or chemicals. I don’t even let her walk on grass where chemical lawn spray signs are present. But here we are dealing with the itch again. At least this time she’s not blowing her coat, and her skin isn’t flaking. Thinking it might be a protein allergy, I started an elimination diet, as recommended in Dr. Pitcairn’s Book on Dog and Cat care. Her scratching seems to have increased since I started her on simple turkey and rice on Christmas Day. Prior to that I had noticed an increase in scratching when she got beef. She’s never had rice before this, but I thought, since I’ve been religious about grain free, raw feeding, maybe things will improve with some new food ingredients.
    I have been back in touch with the holistic vet, whom I like, but feel so desperate about this situation that I am casting the net broadly, looking for ideas on how to help my Lucy get over this terrible scratching. One thing that I wonder about is whether she may have a weak immune system because she was born by cesarian section. I know from the breeder that her milk was supplemented with goat milk when she was less than 8 weeks old. I don’t know how much mother’s milk she got, given that she was part of a litter of 11, and her dame may not have been able to feed the pups post surgery. I know that human babies can suffer longterm consequences regarding gut flora and general immunity when they are born by cesarean and not breast fed. Might dogs not have similar issues?
    Sorry for the long back story, but if anyone has any useful advice, or has successfully dealt with this type of situation, I would be most grateful if you would share your wisdom and experience here.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 28, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Christina,
      Thanks for sharing Lucy’s tale with us. Poor girl. It’s especially frustrating when you see a back-sliding after things improved for a time. And now, like Melody, you’re on a hunt for a less allergenic food. I blogged about this earlier here. It may be enlightening to review.
      What I hear, as a homeopathic vet, is that the Chinese herbs that worked for a spell were at best palliating Lucy’s itch. They didn’t cure it, as your experience makes clear. Palliation can happen with drugs, herbs, acupuncture, and poorly managed homeopathic prescribing. By definition, it means symptoms are somewhat better while treatment goes on, but nothing lasts. When you stop the treatment, the symptoms return, because cure is absent.
      The long term cost of palliation is that the disease slowly grows all the while. Returning to what “worked” in the past gets less and less response in the patient.
      So, the best I can offer is spelled out in the latter part of this post: you’ll do best by getting a competent, experienced veterinary homeopath to help you steer Lucy’s ship to happier waters, that magical place called cure.
      p.s. it will help to supplement her gut flora with probiotics on a regular basis, yes. Just won’t cure the itch, in all likelihood.

      • Christina Tait on December 28, 2015 at 8:30 pm

        Thanks very much. I’ll take a look at the article that you referred to. I have a phone consultation scheduled with Lucy’s holistic vet, in which I’ll discuss homeopathic options further. In the meantime, Lucy will continue to get her kefir and I’ll restart homemade sauerkraut. She’s not a huge kombucha fan, but will eat the dehydrated SCOBY for treats.

    • Lynton on May 10, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      do you feed her organic foods? If not, could be the problem (poor nutritional profile, pesticides, antibiotics, etc)

  44. Elinor on December 28, 2015 at 7:16 am

    People just do NOT understand what makes for good health either in animals or humans. Love reading all your posts as I also had (emphasizing the word: had) been one of the uninformed pack until I discovered your blog. Can’t wait to learn more from your knowledge base. Did want to mention here that I just love the photos from your “morning walk” feature. Love the diversity of the hill country as much as you do (living in Kerrville). Have connected with other holistic vets via the internet and their blog sites but I sincerely believe that your’s in the best out there for learning the real and healthy dog world. Thank you for your persistence in getting the truth out there for us dog lovers. Have a very Happy and Healthy New Year, Dr. Falconer.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 28, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Thanks for your kind words, Elinor. I find people coming to the Natural Path in all sorts of ways, and each at their own appropriate time. I look back at my days in conventional medicine and how much I enjoyed that practice, even though I now know it was largely suppressive.
      Water under the bridge. I could never go back, but neither could I have come to where I am any faster than I did.
      Happy New Year! Here’s to a healthier one for all of us!

  45. Melissa on December 28, 2015 at 12:14 am

    My intact male bullmastiff…raw reared..non vaccinated..no chemical flea, heartworm or any other chemical including cleaning,laundry etc. Have ever been in his world. Regular accupunture/chiropractor visits. He’s lived his life in a pretty pristine environment….as far as I can control.
    And the poor guy has the itch!!!! He has some fear reactivity in the dark, from a nighttime scare imprint as a puppy. Didn’t respond to aconite or flower essences at the time. He’s been on a few other vet recommended remedies, such as sulphur, apis , phosphorus. No good responses. My homeopathic vet retired and no one else locally is taking new clients:( He’s digging like mad now. Live in a northern state. No evidence of fleas. Maybe Dr Dodds is in store for the complete allergy testing. He also gets hot spots. I have been conscious of heat and his diet(chinese medicine). It has been somewhat frustrating and disappointing, because I am a real purist and have been raising my animals this way for over 18yrs with very positive results. This guy has me looking in all directions and also points me away from the usual suspect….vaccines!
    I know it’s constitutional and not a do it yourself, but I am well versed in homeopathy after all these years and willing to help this poor boy get some relief.Any feedback or support would be appreciated 🙂

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 28, 2015 at 6:10 am

      Hi Melissa,
      You’ve done so much to raise this guy well, bravo.
      I see, in all my cases, chronic disease is a mix of two things: inherited from generations passed and things that befall them in this life, most especially vaccinations. When I hear a story like this guy’s, I know there’s inherited vaccinosis: he’s had no vaccines, but his ancestors must have.
      Best advice is to find a homeopath who’ll stick with it and get this guy to cure. It sounds like you’ve had some starts in that direction, but he’s not there yet. And, raised like he’s been, he’s got a better than average chance of getting to cure with careful homeopathic work.

      • Laurie Matson on December 28, 2015 at 11:58 pm

        I had no idea Vaccinosis could be inherited!!! That just brings tons more dogs into the picture that can be affected. Traditional Vets these days are breaking the Oath to first do no harm and that just grates on me! Us pet owners have to be totally educated, by doing our own research, to protect our beloved pets or they will make them very ill and kill them. They fill them full of vaccinations and then make tons more money by treating them with Steriods and these drugs that eventually kill them! Money being made hand over fist at our and our pets expense!! What a grim reality this is. Average pet owners never question Vets or human doctors, so how can we get the word out to these people?

        • Will Falconer, DVM on December 29, 2015 at 5:42 am

          It is maddening, Laurie, I agree. I fear average pet owners will continue to consume what’s handed to them.
          It’s the exceptional ones who will take up the learning and take responsibility for their animals’ health into their own hands.
          It’s for those that I write and teach. And I still have hope it will be them and their shiny examples that will be a force to change the world.

      • Melissa on December 29, 2015 at 10:43 pm

        Bingo!
        Thank you Dr. Will
        His mother definitely had vaccinosis…..even hardpad from the vaccine…she never had a rabies vaccination, but none the less suffered from those “da## Immune stressor all in one puppyshots” from her breeder. Not to mention all the other ancestors.
        I remember an old girl of mine several years back(never vaccinated) along with some vaccinated doggie friends , and all were exposed to some other very sick dogs …kennel cough and distemper and she was the only one who did not become symptomatic after exposure! Proof to me that a raw fed, unvaccinated animal has a better chance of a high functioning immune system 🙂
        I was stumped with this guy……why was he not a vital animal?
        Of course inherited vaccinosis – The immune confusion! Wow what a wake-up call !
        This is why I love and respect you so very much!!!!
        I also appreciate Your words of encouragement. If I can soon find a new homeopathic vet to work with..there is great hope for this sweet loving guy!
        Thank You Dr. Falconer for being, not only the light, but that voice in the dark that all of us conscious caring stewards so desperately need !

  46. Daphne Wilcox on December 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I see that one of the questions a homeopath might ask is -” Are they always twitching and jerking in their sleep? ” I have a seven year old cocker, who has never been vaccinated, has always been fed a raw diet, had two eyes enucleated because of a very rare condition ( corneal hydrops ) and is homeopathically cared for. He has twitched and jerked in his sleep for as long as I can remember. I know enough about homeopathy not to ask what the twitching and jerking is symptomatic of, but can you head me toward a remedy that has these symptoms as part of the repertoire?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 28, 2015 at 6:02 am

      Hi Daphne,
      As with all symptoms, there’s no one remedy that will cure this. It will only go away when the whole dog is cured. Probably time to revisit his case with your homeopath and bring this symptom into the analysis.
      All the best.

      • Chris on August 23, 2020 at 6:38 am

        I would love to hear your thoughts on a gut biome transplant regime and how helping to heal the gut and rebalance the biome may help. Thank you.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on August 25, 2020 at 3:59 am

          This could possibly help, but my read on it is it’s temporary at best. The flora tends to shift back to where it was without deeper treatment to cure the underlying chronic disease.

  47. Sandra Todd on December 27, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I adopted my little white poodle mix Tori a year ago from the local shelter. Her skin looked terrible, she was thin and a little fearful/aggressive. She also has an excessive overbite, which sometimes makes it difficult for her to get her food out of her dish. I worked with her a little with my local integrative Vet, but was not happy when he did blood work for allergies and then wanted to put her on the desensitization allergy shots. I had been thru an unpleasant experience and thousands of dollars with a local “holistic” Vet, so was searching for a better option. Dr. Blanco recommended I contact Dr. Minter in AZ. I have been working with Dr. Minter for several months now and Tori is slowly improving. We have tried several different remedies and have now had the best success with Phosporus 30C. Tori is probably 90% better than she was 6 months ago. Her fearful aggression has diminished considerably, although she still ducks when someone reaches for her and does not like head patted. She and my terrier are now best friends although she attacked him regularly when she first came to us. I recently had to do something I was reluctant to do and that was to declare on my county registration that I no longer had this dog in order to avoid having to get another rabies shot only one year after the last one. Dr. Minter did write her a waiver, but CA only accepts waivers from CA Vets so I could not use it. She is raw fed and no more shots. I think we are on the right track here!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on December 27, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      Nice work, Sandra! You are indeed making great strides. Slow and steady improvement is wonderful, and long standing conditions 90% better in 6 months is super.
      Keep up the good work!

      • MelissA on May 4, 2016 at 12:19 am

        Hello do you know a holistic vet in Southern California ?

    • Peter on December 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Awesome job!! Since you’re in CA have you heard of Dr Jean Dodds? She invented a food sensitivity saliva-based test called Nutri-Scan. You let your dog chew on a rope and it goes back to her lab to get tested. My dog cannot have turkey and rabbit, and some things like oatmeal, peanuts, whitefish (including their oils), salmon, lentils… and more. As soon as I put her on a clean raw diet her symptoms went away. She stopped itching, having loose stools and diarrhea, eating grass to vomit, stopped being a “picky eater”.. I think allergies are more rare and food sensitivities are more common, at least that’s what I’ve read. Sometimes behavior issues can be diet related, but who knows. Could be a thyroid issue too, I know you mentioned she was thin. Where in CA are you? If you ever decide you want a trainer to get rid of the fear aggression, look at Sean O’Shea of The Good Dog Training & Rehabilitation. They are AMAZING!!! Also really really great of you to declare with the county you no longer have the dog to avoid getting the rabies vac. My dog is due for her rabies shot Feb 6 and I’m getting a titer done tomorrow, just to have it, but I plan on telling the town/state either the dog died or I no longer have it, because I am NOT getting her another rabies shot, or any vaccine for that matter. She is not a truly healthy dog and Im not risking it.

      • Destiny on December 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm

        If you work with a homeopath, any allergies or sensitivies will go away too 🙂

        • Will Falconer, DVM on December 28, 2015 at 5:54 am

          You took the words right out of my mouth, Destiny. That’s the goal, after all isn’t it?

    • li on January 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

      which doctors and what if anything helped your dog with their allergies…

    • Jay on July 22, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Do you have the contact information for dr winter? I live in arizona and I’m not seeing any doctors that are purely homeopathic. Congrats on the success with your pup. I’m am now getting rid of apoquel after reading these aricles.

    • Linda Grimes on May 27, 2021 at 5:38 pm

      I had blood work for allergy panel on my boxer. The results should be late this week or early next week. What I’m afraid of is the vet wanting to put him on injections. I’m willing to change his diet or outside cause but not the inj. I don’t want it to turn into money for the vet.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on May 27, 2021 at 9:13 pm

        Sandra, it’s important to know that “allergies” are part of the illnesses known as chronic disease. And conventional medicine has zero chance of curing that kind of disease. They give drugs that sort of control symptoms, but never truly cure. And, as you probably saw in the earlier article on Apoquel, the side effects are very significant, even up to cancer in a large number of dogs.

        So, finding out what your Boxer is allergic to may be somewhat helpful, but the goal is to cure that state of “being allergic.” As you might imagine, one shouldn’t wildly over react to normal things, like food, fleas, or pollen. So, to correct that chronic dysfunctional state, the best bet is to hire a qualified homeopathic vet, one who’s practice is largely or wholly homeopathy. I tell you how to find one, even if they have to work with you by telephone, on my Recommended Resources page.

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