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Treating Dog Allergies in the Spring

Hello friends, please watch this video to hear some great options to treat dog allergies this spring!

Hey guys, it’s Remi from Continental Animal Wellness Center. Thanks for tuning into our very first video blog. On these video blogs you’re going to be able to get an inside look at what we’re doing around the clinic, and also maybe some fun facts to keep your pet happy and healthy. Today, we’re talking about what spring has in store for us. Spring is right around the corner. That means allergies are too, not just for you but for your pets as well. It is very common for our patients to come in red and itchy, thus leaving their owner puzzled. Itching can be caused from an infection, parasites or even allergies. Just like our own allergies, dog allergies can be seasonal or year round.

It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of the itch. Sometimes the food they are eating can be the cause. Also bacterial and fungal skin infections can occur secondarily to excessive scratching. There can be other symptoms beside just the persistent itch too. Other symptoms include recurring your problems, body odor, changes in skin such as sores or darken color, foot chewing and hair loss.

If it seems like something you have battled with your dog either recently or in the past, well, you are in luck. Our veterinarians are equipped with some effective and safe pet allergy medications that will put that unbearable itch to a halt. If you see any of these signs, make sure you set up an appointment with one of your veterinarians soon so we can get your pup feeling free and comfortable once more.

Options for Treating Dog Allergies in the Spring

Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Bruchman here. I’m going to talk to you a little bit today about some options. If you’re watching this video and thinking my dog is fitting all of the things that you’re talking about for springtime and summer allergies, we just need to find what’s right for your pet.

Option 1: Steroids

The first option that’s been around for a very long time is steroids. Steroids are a very nonspecific medication in their mechanism of action, meaning that they target a lot of pathways of inflammation. They are very effective. They’re very cost effective and have been around for a very long time. That is one option for your pet.

Option 2: Apoquel

The next option is a drug called Apoquel. Apoquel’s been out for quite a few years now. Apoquel is a Janus kinase inhibitor. It’s works through a pathway that targets interleukins, which are in charge of our inflammatory response and our itch response. It targets five different interleukins, including something called interleukin-31, which is directly responsible for the itch cycle that gets up to your pet’s brain and causes them to itch.

Apoquel works very quickly. Within four hours that can decrease your pets itching and can dramatically improve it by 24 hours. This medication has proven to be very effective, just as effective as our steroids, and it’s a little more targeted approach, so safer for long term use in your pet.

Option 3: Cytopoint

The newest option we have out there is actually an injectable drug called Cytopoint. Cytopoint is a monoclonal antibody and it targets just that interleukin-31, none of the other interleukins. It’s very specific in what it’s doing. Cytopoint is delivered through an injection under your pet’s skin. We give it every four to eight weeks, so it’s very convenient for you as the pet owner. We no longer have to be doing daily pills. Your pet would come into the vet clinic every four to eight weeks, we would administer an injection.

That therapy works also very quickly. In my experience, it’s anywhere between a couple of days in that first month that we see pretty dramatic improvement on Cytopoint. Again, that’s our most specific therapy that we have, so very, very safe and very minimal side effects. That’s Cytopoint. That’s always a great option for your pet.

Dog Allergies & Treatments

I wanted to also touch base on why we’re talking about some of these medications. Why is it important to decrease your pet’s itch cycle? Your pet’s skin, if you look at it under the microscope, all of our allergic animals have a skin barrier, but their skin barrier looks like a brick wall. It’s missing all of that mortar in between the bricks, and so those dust pollens and allergens can get in between those bricks and cause this inflammatory cascade to start. It’s important for us to decrease that itch cycle so that doesn’t make their skin worse by more itching, and making that brick and mortar fall apart even more.

Topical Treatments for Dog Allergies

There are many things we can do topically to your pet skin as well, to help with that brick and mortar of the skin. And that’s something that we can talk about and set up a plan that’s right for your pet. Along with these anti-itch medications we talked about, it’s very important to also talk about that skin barrier and those topical medications are going to be important for that.

Choosing the Right Anti-Itch Treatment for Dog Allergies

Again, if we go back to those anti-itch medications, we’ve got our steroids, we’ve got Apoquel and we’ve got Cytopoint. Another analogy that you guys can use to think about those medications is steroids is like a shotgun. We’re going to hit our target, but we’re going to hit a lot of other things as we try to get our itch target. Apoquel would be more like a rifle. We’re hitting our target. We’re pretty specific, but we’re still maybe a little bit off to the side of where we really need to be. That Cytopoint it’s targeting just one interleukin, interleukin-31. That would be maybe like your sniper rifle out there, very accurate, very precise; the best medication we have right now to decrease your pets itch and not get any of the side effects that those other medications are going to target.

If you guys have questions on which of these would be right for your pet, make an appointment with us. Let’s sit down and talk about all these options and which medications would benefit your pet the best. We hope that they have a very itch-free spring, summer and fall with us in Flagstaff.

Options for Preventing Parasites in the Spring

Along with dog allergies, another thing that can catch up to our beloved four-legged friends during the spring time is parasites. Just that word can make me itch. But more specifically, I am talking about the not-so friendly fleas, ticks and heartworms. These parasites are fairly common and can affect our pets in various ways, from temporary irritation to lifelong illness. Heartworm disease, for those of you who don’t know, could be very serious, but it is 100% preventable.

The Heartworm Parasite

The heartworm parasite is transmitted via mosquitoes. The mosquito injects larvae under the skin that eventually develops into large worms that live in your pet’s heart. With a simple in-house yearly blood test and some delicious chewables heartworm, heartworm disease can be prevented.

Interceptor Plus

Now we carry Interceptor Plus. Interceptor is not only going to protect your pet against the heartworm but also roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, which is why we carry this once-a-month, delicious chewable for your pet.

Fleas and Ticks

Now we are fortunate to be living in Flagstaff and that we do not have as high of a parasite burden as other places in our country. However, fleas and ticks are becoming more prevalent in this region and they can transmit some very scary diseases to both you and your pet.


To help keep your pet safe from these, we carry another yummy chewable called Bravecto. Bravecto actually lasts up to three months from just one treat.

Protect Your Pet This Spring

We’re excited for spring to be here, but we want you to remember to just protect your pet from what spring brings – dog allergies and parasites. To schedule an appointment, call us at 928-522-6008.

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Strategic De-Worming of Horses

As a horse owner you are likely familiar with the full spectrum of de-worming products available. Most horse owners use a schedule for using those products in their horses. The most widely used approach to parasite control has been a rotational treatment program (developed in the 1960s), which employs a rotation between products in 2-3 month intervals for all horses living in a common area, or within a group.

Fast- forward 50 years, and we are seeing an alarming rate of parasite resistance to the drugs currently in use today. This is of particular concarn since there are essentially no new classes of anti-parasite drugs available.

A new program for de-worming our horses has been recommended by veterinary colleges and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The goal is to only treat the horses in need, thereby slowing down the rate at which these parasites are developing resistance to our drugs. This new program has been called strategic de-worming.

Strategic de-worming identifies horses carrying high parasite loads, and treats them aggressively, while decreasing the number of treatments for horses that continually harbor low parasite numbers. it is thought that 80% of all the parasites in horses may be harbored by only 20% of the animals. Since most horses can clear parasite infections via their immune system, many horses within your herd will likely not need to be medicated aggressively.

Strategic de-worming can easily be initiated in your horses by both quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing a manure sample on all horses. This will identify both the type of parasite, and the parasite load in individual animals. Since resistance tends to be a farm issue, and not an individual animal issue, it is also vital to know which de-wormers are still effective at eliminating parasites on your farm. An appropriate de-worming schedule can then be recommended by your veterinarian.

The most common intestinal parasite in our horses today is the small strongyle; unfortunately, this parasite has also developed the strongest resistance patterns to our de-wormers, with entire drug classes now considered ineffective. Small strongyles are ingested in the larval form. Following ingestion, they quickly migrate into the intestines where they hibernate in the gut lining. Your horse may have several thousand, to more than several millions of these encysted larvae lining the gut. When these parasites emerge simultaneously they can cause major disease in your horse. This includes colic, severe and chronic diarrhea, weight loss, limb swelling and low serum protein levels.

The adult worms, with few exceptions, are the stages killed by de-wormer treatments and cause very little damage to the horse. In order to optimize horse health, it is necessary to prevent new infections. Consequently, we aim to kill adult worms without treatments, but it is actually the prevention of egg shedding that does the most for horse health and overall worm control because by doing this we reduce the numbers of infective larvae on pasture and subsequent infections in the grazing horse.

Other intestinal parasites that we need to be aware of in our horses include: large strongyles, roundworms, pinworms, bots, and tapeworms. Horses under the age of 3 years tend to be more susceptible to these parasites than our adult horses.

We would be more than happy to talk with you more about this de-worming strategy, and help you set up a manure testing and de-worming plan for your horses. Our recommendation is to analyze manure samples on all horses on the property in spring and fall, followed by de-worming with the appropriate drugs and intervals on selected animals only.