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Atopica for Pets: Medication Do's and Do Not's

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Atopica for Pets: Medication Do's and Do Not's
Atopica for Pets: Medication Do's and Do Not's | Innovet Pet

When it comes to our furry friends, we believe in putting their health first and foremost. Keeping your pet’s health at the forefront of your mind is such an important trait of loving pet parents, which we know you are! The ways by which we can all improve the overall livelihood and well being of cats and dogs are endless. From feeding them food made with healthy ingredients and keeping their health records up-to-date, to paying attention to them and playing with them on the regular, being the caretaker of a pet -- or two or three -- is no easy task.

But the healthier your cat or dog’s lifestyle is, the more time you’ll have to enjoy life together, and the less likely it is for them to become ill. But what do you do when you've been taking all the necessary steps to keep your pet’s health in check and yet your little love bug gets sick anyway?

Well, the best thing you can do is remember that your canine or feline is in great hands… Yours! Even when you try your best to prevent illness, diseases and health concerns have a way of sneaking up on even the healthiest of dogs, cats, and humans alike. You've done your best to keep your pet out of harm’s way and you should applaud yourself for being as preventative as possible.

So where do you go from here? And what do you if you can tell that your pet is ill but you don't know what they're battling? You should always schedule an appointment with your pet's vet as soon as you suspect that your little buddy is under the weather. No matter how big or small the symptoms seem, we can't always detect the severity of our pets’ warning signs.

Even after calling the vet, it's instinctive for pet owners to conduct their own research in relation to the symptoms their canine companions and feline friends are exhibiting. Some health concerns have very obvious and defining symptoms. Conditions such as dermatitis display physical and external signs, making them easier to spot. 

If you are concerned that your beloved pup or cherished kitty cat is showing early signs of dermatitis, you shouldn't panic. Thankfully, this condition remains at the surface of your pet’s outer layer of skin for a fair amount of time. On top of that, there are many different treatment options for dermatitis, so your pet isn't going to suffer from itchy skin forever.

In this blog post, we are going to zero in on Atopica, which happens to be one of many FDA-approved options for treating dermatitis in dogs and cats. From there, we’ll touch on the problems that cause dermatitis as well as the secondhand issues that arise as a result of the skin condition. There are quite a few details to be aware of prior to administering Atopica to pets with dermatitis, so we will be sure to educate you to the best of our abilities!


At that point, you'll be able to make a well-informed decision about what is best for your pet.

What is Atopica for Cats and Dogs?

Atopica for Pets: Medication Do's and Do Not's | Innovet PetHowever, when utilized for dogs and cats as a way of resolving atopic dermatitis, cyclosporine is a miracle worker. The cyclosporine found within Atopica is slightly modified so that it is as effective as possible. Atopica works to reduce inflammation caused by dermatitis, and the medication also lessens the intensity of dermatitis-related symptoms. Atopica is the name of one of many treatment options for dermatitis. Usually administered to pets in the form of a capsule, the main acting ingredient in Atopica is a drug called cyclosporine. Normally, cyclosporine is utilized by professionals to resolve complications that follow organ transplants in humans.

As with any promise of a perfect medication, saying that Atopica cyclosporine capsules are completely harmless is misguided. Since Atopica is considered an immunosuppressant, your pet's body will be more susceptible to falling ill and catching a virus. So while the drug will help with one condition, it will spark the possibility of your dogs and cats contracting something else in place of dermatitis.

This does not mean that you must avoid Atopica at all costs as a treatment method for your pet. The medication is FDA-approved for a reason. This is just to say that you need to be aware of your dog or cat’s weakened immune system as a result of Atopica.

Knowing about this serious side effect will help you keep your pet in a healthy condition while treating dermatitis for cats and dogs.

What is Dermatitis and How Does it Affect Your Pets?

Dermatitis is an allergic skin disease condition that affects millions of people and pets every year. When the skin becomes agitated and bothered by dermatitis, it begins to change from a natural color to a shade of red, ranging from light pink to a more exacerbated crimson. The four variations of dermatitis are atopic, contact, dyshidrotic, and seborrheic, in order of seriousness.

The chance of your pet reaching the point where their dermatitis is seborrheic is relatively low because you are likely to notice that something is going on before it reaches that stage.

Just remember that if you suspect anything is irritating your pet’s skin, calling your

veterinarian’s office and scheduling an appointment for your cat or dog should be the first thing you do.

Signs to Look Out For If You Suspect Your Pet Has Dermatitis

The symptoms of dermatitis are primarily physical. Although every type of ailment is unfortunate, it is helpful that dermatitis presents itself in physical ways because that makes it easier to recognize and treat. When symptoms aren't external, it can be harder to diagnose the root cause of a problem, but with dermatitis, even the earliest of signs can be seen with the naked eye. But what are these symptoms that you should look for?

First and foremost, atopic dermatitis is the most common skin condition in both dogs and cats, and it often presents as an unusual skin rash. While there might not be any bumps at first, you will be able to see a red patch of skin, If your canine or feline seems to be licking their fur or scratching at a particular point on their coat, it is worth checking out.

Odds are that your little buddy is experiencing irritation in that region of their skin, and since dogs and cats are smart ones, they might be attempting to draw your attention to their sore spot. Left untreated, atopic dermatitis can lead to more serious skin lesions and chronic atopic dermatitis. If you think your pet may be suffering from atopic dermatitis, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about treatment options.

Changes in behavior, like the itching and scratching used in this example, are key indicators that your pet is experiencing the early signs of dermatitis.

Other symptoms to be aware of include…

  • Obsessively cleaning a specific spot on their fur
  • Using carpeting or rugs as a way of roughly scratching their skin
  • Loss of hair without any other reason that dermatitis
  • An odd smell exuding from any part of their body
  • A sort of gnawing at their own skin
  • Overly oily or incredibly dry in the area your pet won't leave alone
  • Restlessness as though your pet pal cannot stay still
Skin that looks like it is peeling off, similar in appearance to a sunburn
  • Inflamed patches of fur that do not seem to be getting better over time

  • Is Dermatitis Caused By Anything in Particular?

    Dermatitis is often an allergic response to an allergen. Upon hearing this, you may think, “Okay, so my pet ate something that they are allergic to!” While this thought is logical and this certainly could be the cause of your pet’s dermatitis, there are numerous other reasons as to why your dog or cat contracted the skin condition.

    Another possible cause of dermatitis for dogs and cats is a genetic mutation. On occasion, puppies and kittens might be born with a predisposition for dermatitis. If their skin is more porous, the conditions make it much easier for irritants to make their way into the hair follicles of their furry coats. The environment can create an even higher risk of susceptibility to contracting dermatitis as well. This often happens when other members of the household, especially young children, introduce allergens to your pet.

    Dermatitis can even be the result of excessive sun exposure.

    At the end of the day, since allergies tend to be the initial cause of almost every case

    of dermatitis, many treatment options will act as a combatant against allergic skin responses.

    Where Atopica Comes into Play...

    Atopica is an FDA-approved medication for atopic dermatitis in cats and dogs. Atopic dermatitis is a skin allergy disease that causes skin lesions and chronic itching. It is caused by an allergic reaction to environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or mold.

    Atopica works by interrupting the interactions between allergens and the skin cells they are trying to attach to, which prevents the inflammation from happening in the first place. This can help to reduce your pet’s symptoms and improve their quality of life. Atopica can also be introduced once dermatitis has already appeared on your pet’s skin.

    Atopic can be used for dermatitis in dogs weighing 4 pounds or more. The initial dose period is 12 weeks. Gastrointestinal problems and gingival hyperplasia may occur at the initial dose. The initial daily dose is 2 to 4 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight.

    The maintenance dose is 1 to 2 mg/kg once daily. Dogs with diabetes mellitus or renal insufficiency may require a lower maintenance dose. Treats can be given once daily during the initial daily treatment period and as needed thereafter.

    If gastrointestinal side effects occur, the initial daily dose may be given as two divided doses. If gingival hyperplasia occurs, the initial daily dose should be reduced or discontinued.

    Safety and effectiveness has not been established in dogs less than 6 months or 4 lbs. Use with caution in dogs with diabetes mellitus or renal insufficiency. Killed vaccines are recommended in treatment.

    Atopica (cyclosporine) capsules is a medication specifically approved for the treatment of chronic atopic dermatitis in dogs. Atopica capsules should be stored and dispensed in the original unit-dose container at controlled room temperature between 59 and 77°F (15-25°C).

    The amount of Atopica that you will need to give your dog depends on the desired therapeutic effect and body weight. It is important to follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully when giving Atopica to your pet. You should also be aware that Atopic should not be used on breeding dogs or reproducing dogs.

    The most common adverse events are vomiting and diarrhea. Some other common adverse events are gingival hyperplasia, gastrointestinal problems and urinary tract infection. If you notice any of these side effects, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

    The Good and the Bad: Pros and Cons of Atopica

    Atopica is an excellent resolve for dermatitis, especially when it comes to cats and dogs. The medication works well, and typically, improvement of your pet’s skin starts within a week of their first dose of Atopica. By going to the source of the problem, Atopica is a medication that not only stops dermatitis in its tracks but also works to prevent a recurrence of the skin condition you are trying to treat. The truth is that Atopica really does treat atopic dermatitis, but not without causing many unwanted side effects in the process. 

    The main concern with Atopica is that it is considered a mycotoxin, which is fungus-derived and naturally potent. While Atopica cyclosporine capsules have the power to annihilate viruses and infections, it will lower the immune system of your pet in the process. As such, Atopica is a systemic immunosuppressant, meaning that Atopica will severely reduce the efficacy and strength of your pet’s immune system.

    Atopica puts a pause on the T cells in your pet’s body, rendering them incapable of fighting off infections on their own. This can become concerning where viruses are involved, but knowing that your dog or cat is taking a medication that lowers its immune system’s functioning is important. This way, you can keep your pup or kitty in the cleanest of environments.

    Due to its systemic immunosuppressing nature, Atopica's side effects make for quite a long list.

    Other negative side effects of Atopica that we believe are important to note include…

    • More prone to getting bruises
    • Headaches that cause vomiting
    • Nausea and dizzy spells
    • Reduced appetite and a higher chance of drastic weight loss
    • Higher risk of cancer in the future
    • Damage to the kidneys
    • Liver failure and jaundicing
    • Infections of your pet’s gums
    • Hypertension
    • Concerning changes in bowel movements
    • Difficulty hearing commands or noises around them
    • Preference for sleeping over playing with toys or going on walks
    • Cold-like symptoms
    • Lack of motor control
    • Uncoordinated muscle movements

    None of the adverse effects of Atopica are life-threatening on their own. Your pet will benefit from Atopica as a dermatitis remedy, but the medicine does not come without discomfort. While these symptoms do not always result from Atopica, you should be aware that these side effects are very real and very possible.


    If you choose to administer Atopica to your pet, please keep a close watch on them as they begin treatment with Atopica.

    Skin Allergies CTA

    Alternative to Atopica for Cats and Dogs: What Are Your Options for Dermatitis for Pets?

    While Atopica is on the market for a reason, you are not restrained to prescription medications for your cats or your dogs. You can also take precautionary measures to ensure that your cat or your dog is monitored after dermatitis begins to heal. By ridding your pet’s environment of the allergen behind dermatitis in the first place, you can omit the possibility that your pup or kitty will run into dermatitis relating to the initial irritant.

    During the healing process, your cat’s coat or your dog’s fur is sure to be very sore, especially if your fluffy friend as the body adjusts to the exposed skin.

    CBD oil, or any other form of cannabidiol, cannot necessarily prevent dermatitis, CBD can definitely help soothe any pain that your pet is experiencing as a result of the irritation or inflammation. If any wounds were caused by excessive scratching, and if there are any exposed areas of skin where fur fell out from the roof of the follicles, we advise that you not place CBD creams or cannabidiol oils directly onto the open wound. Doing so could cause even further misery for your fluffy friend, which becomes a counterproductive use of CBD, seeing as the point of it is to alleviate any discomfort.

    CBD is a possible solution for many sources of pain, including dermatitis. If you have ever had a scab before, then you know what it feels like for your skin to be vulnerable to the open air. It stings at first before the lower layers of unprotected skin by the scab soon begin to form. Until then, the new skin is an easy target for even more allergens than the ones that caused dermatitis for your pet in the first place!

    If you are able to, consider wrapping the inflamed and irritating part of your pet’s skin in a gauze of sorts. Whether you tie a handkerchief around the wound or place a piece of clothing designed for pets over top the wound is entirely up to you! As long as the painful area is covered, your pet will be at less risk for further irritation.

    Dermatologists that specialize in pets have mentioned that it is very common for skin conditions to return, so if your pet is a youthful little one, be sure to keep an eye on the state of their skin over the years. The other thing to keep in mind is that your dog or cat’s skin can, and most likely will, develop a tolerance to certain types of medicinal treatments for dermatitis.


    Topical ointments, shampoos that contain chlorhexidine
    , and timely baths are three ways to protect your pet from another bout of dermatitis.

    CBD Oil for Dogs and Cats: Where Can You Buy CBD for Pets?

    CBD oil for pets is an excellent alternative to Atopica for cats and dogs. The most impressive fact about CBD oil is that there are absolutely zero negative side effects associated with the use of CBD for anything and everything. Not only will CBD help improve the pain that your pet feels as a result of their dermatitis, but it will also create a manageable solution for them. 

    CBD Oil for Cats | Innovet Pet

    No matter which route works well for you and your pet, CBD will help your fluffy friend feel better soon. At Innovet, our inventory ranges from hemp CBD oils and dog treats to tasty soft chews and easy-to-swallow capsules. We like to keep a diversity of CBD in many different forms so that you can find the best way to administer CBD to your pet. Most cats will let you rub the oil directly onto their fur, and many dogs won’t fight you if you place a capsule into a pill pocket and feed it to them, but you never know. If your pet is not a fan of oils, try capsules, treat, or chews! 

    At Innovet, our CBD products are…

    • Full-spectrum
    • Made with CBD from Colorado, USA
    • Contain Oregon-based hemp extract
    • Tested by a third party to ensure perfection
    • Free from additives and dyes
    • Without preservatives
    • Made with your pets in mind

    Consider giving us a try today!


    Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs
    Canine Atopic Dermatitis
    Atopic Dermatitis in Canines
    Cannabidiol and Dermatology
    Cannabidiol for Skin and Health

    Approved by:

    Dr. Sara Ochoa

    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University

    Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school, she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.


    Thanks for stopping by!
    P.S. We Love You!

    The Innovet Team

    Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

    Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.

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