Apoquel for Cats, Is It a Good Choice to Cure the Persistent Itch?

Apoquel for cats

Do you have someone recommending Apoquel for cats which are suffering from intense pruritus? Apoquel is a drug commonly used to help getting rid of skin itch in dogs. In cats, actually there’s still something in dispute – most likely because of the lack of data mentioning that the active ingredient, oclacitinib, has been proven to be effective to cure cats’ dermatitis. If your furry purring fellow has been intensely scratching several parts of its body, consider to read this article before you administer Apoquel for them.


What kind of skin disease is dermatitis?

Since we are talking about Apoquel, then the skin disease related to this drug is atopic dermatitis. This is a disease that resulted from hypersensitivity as a reaction to environmental allergens. Hypersensitivity reaction could invest in pruritic skin, driven by the cat’s immune cells activation which plays as a response to the allergens.


Symptoms of skin dermatitis

The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis can be determined if your cat has these symptoms: skin excoriations, skin lesion (specifically on the most-scratched spots), alopecia (the loss of hair on the scratched spots), and intense scratching.



As mentioned earlier, Apoquel is one of the brand names from drug containing oclacitinib. This drug is known for its immunosuppressant feature, but is different from steroids, antihistamines, or cyclosporine that may also be administered to cure itch coming from allergic reaction.

Oclacitinib, especially under the brand Apoquel, is best known for its effectivity for curing canine atopic dermatitis – the dermatitis that occurs on dogs. Unfortunately, Apoquel for cats hasn’t been studied much. However, due to the cat’s dermatitis symptom similarity in humans and dogs, using Apoquel to cure cats’ dermatitis started to be considered.


The dosage

Based on a 2015 study, Apoquel as much as 0.4-0.6 mg/kg body weight could help to alleviate 40% feline atopic dermatitis symptoms. In addition, this drug has acted rapidly compared to other drugs with similar function as immunosuppressant, such as steroids, antihistamines, and cyclosporines. However, if compared with a certain steroid methylprednisolone, Apoquel has been found to be having similar efficacy.


Apoquel side effects

So far, Apoquel for cat side effects will include increased creatinine and urea level, which is 25% and 50% from all Apoquel recipients. In this case, it needs to keep in mind that these increases may lead to chronic kidney disease. Moreover, since oclacitinib’s pharmacology is yet to be known in felines, it is better to use Apoquel under the vet’s supervision.

To conclude, if your cat is suffering from clinging itch, making an appointment with your vet is one step you should take. Don’t use any drugs only based on someone’s cat’s experience since it may harm your own cat. Different cat will have different dosage and suitable drugs to take, and taking Apoquel for cats may not be the best recommendation due to its prolonging side effects.

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