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Thread: Cyclosporine for Allergies

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    Default Cyclosporine for Allergies

    So, if you've been following along with the Truman allergy saga, you know that we've tried hydroxyzine, steroids, and now cyclosporine.

    Basically, we had Truman on steroids, which was a one time thing to see if we could get on top of his allergy problems and get him to "reset" a bit. The steroids worked great (which told the vet he is suffering from environmental allergies) but once they wore off, he was back to square one and hydroxyzine had no effect.

    So now we're trying cyclosporine. It's pretty expensive and I was a little worried because it is sometimes used as an anti-rejection medication for organ transplant patients but it's been widely used for over-active immune systems to control allergies in dogs and cats.

    I asked about an allergy test and the vet said he could do that if I wanted but many, many times, with severe allergies, even if I know exactly what Truman is allergic to, I won't be able to avoid things like dust, pollen, etc so he thought cyclosporine therapy was the way to go.

    Does anyone have experience with this medication for allergies? I am hoping for the best since I don't know where we go after this!

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Sorry Jil I do not but something you said made me go ,What? He wants to prescribe rather than test? That just doesn't ring true to form for medical practice. I would think allergy testing would be his first act of diagnostics. What if it is dust? Well what if it was something simple like grass? or Dairy products? See what Im saying?

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Quote Originally Posted by BruceP View Post
    Sorry Jil I do not but something you said made me go ,What? He wants to prescribe rather than test? That just doesn't ring true to form for medical practice. I would think allergy testing would be his first act of diagnostics. What if it is dust? Well what if it was something simple like grass? or Dairy products? See what Im saying?
    Basically, based on Truman's symptoms, response to anti-histamines and steroids, that he's never on grass (we have rocks), never on towels or beds, and that we've eliminated everything from his diet with a limited ingredient, grain and gluten-free hypoallergenic dog food, the doctor thinks that the allergies are due to a variety of factors that are probably impossible to avoid.

    His contention was why spend the money for a blood allergy test, which he said can be inaccurate in dogs, when the results will likely reveal allergies to something we can't get away from (inhalants) and we'll have to do cyclosporine therapy anyway. He said the blood allergy tests, which were developed for humans, give a lot of false positive allergies in dogs so, if we do allergy testing, he would recommend a intradermal skin test, which involved going a dermatologist, anesthetizing Truman, shaving his side, and having antigens poked in his skin to see a reaction. It was almost $1000 for that and it's about 75% accurate.

    So it made sense to me to try the cyclosporine and if that doesn't work, I will go from there but I'm really learning a lot about allergies and immune systems and the inaccuracy of some of the tests.

    "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
    Bentley (5.24.04 - 6.26.10) & Linus (1.10.06 - 7.31.13)

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Thank you for the explanation.

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    That is what the problem is with the allergy test, yes I had Vegas tested and know what foods to avoid, but how in the world do I keep him in a plastic bubble? The majority of his allergies are environmental. It is a never ending exhausting process. Our vet has also mentioned this medication so let me know how it goes for you.

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    I was looking at a brochure for this last time I was at the vet.

    I would think that having the blood test done, even with false positives, would be well worth it. I suspected your case may be seasonal, but it was also so coincidental that it happened with a food change. Don't forget, that the immune system plays a huge part in building antibodies that fight allergens. With all the meds and such that has been given at this point, I am sure the once healthy immune system has gone to the dogs (pun intended).

    If there is even one ingredient in a food that Truman is allergic to, his ability to build up his immune system is compromised. So, in my opinion only, the blood test is worth finding out. What if he is allergic to something else you can avoid besides a food ingredient? I agree that there must be something with spring as well but if there is anything on the test you can change, it may help him build up and fight with less of a cost to your pocketbook.

    Also, I have been wondering how cyclosporine has been around. Long enough to know the long term side effects?


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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Quote Originally Posted by desertskybulldogs View Post
    I was looking at a brochure for this last time I was at the vet.

    I would think that having the blood test done, even with false positives, would be well worth it. I suspected your case may be seasonal, but it was also so coincidental that it happened with a food change. Don't forget, that the immune system plays a huge part in building antibodies that fight allergens. With all the meds and such that has been given at this point, I am sure the once healthy immune system has gone to the dogs (pun intended).

    If there is even one ingredient in a food that Truman is allergic to, his ability to build up his immune system is compromised. So, in my opinion only, the blood test is worth finding out. What if he is allergic to something else you can avoid besides a food ingredient? I agree that there must be something with spring as well but if there is anything on the test you can change, it may help him build up and fight with less of a cost to your pocketbook.

    Also, I have been wondering how cyclosporine has been around. Long enough to know the long term side effects?


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    Allergic reactions happen not because the immune system is compromised but because the immune system is overactive. That's why puppies and old dogs typically don't have terrible allergies - because the immune system isn't as active.

    So Truman's immune system is good and it's reacting to something whether it be in the air or wherever.

    Truman has always been itchy and licking his paws. When I got the bad reaction to food, both Truman and Linus started losing patches of hair, when I switched back to NVI, it stopped and they both re-grew hair but Truman still was itchy. We did the anti-histamines then steroids and, based on his reaction to those medications, the doctor was confident he is having trouble with environmental allergies.

    Clyclosporine is FDA approved to treat dogs for skin allergies since 2003 but it's been used for decades in humans and dogs. To put it into perspective, Ivermectin isn't FDA approved to treat mange even though vets prescribe it constantly now just because the studies haven't been done yet. The studies on Cyclosporine show that it's much safer than steroids, which we know when used in the long term damage organs, and given 9 times the normal dose of Cyclosporin for a year in clinical tests, dogs showed no liver or kidney damage. So I am confident it is safe and I am confident with the decision to try it for Truman but I was hoping to find someone who has used it for a dog with bad allergies since it is a bit of a temperamental medication. I gave Truman his first dose yesterday and he puked about an hour later so today, I tried it with food - so far, so good. It takes about 4 weeks to be effective.

    I am glad everyone is asking questions on this because I really feel like there a lot of misconceptions when it comes to allergies and I know so many of us struggle with this and are searching for ways to make our bullies lives better but, of course, don't want to do any harm. So I hope this discussion is helping!
    Last edited by sheshistory; 08-24-2012 at 11:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Thank you for all the info, I cannot wait to hear the results. I have heard good things, so I hope you experience the same. I am glad the patches grew back, so it was probably a combination of both food and envoirnment, huh? Another thing to consider is that if he was fine in Fall and Winter, he may not need it during those seasons.

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Well I might not even get to see if those works because Truman has vomited each time I've given him a dose of it - even though I gave it with food, which it said to do if stomach upset occurs. So I'm going to call the vet and see what to do because I can't have him vomiting every single day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheshistory View Post
    Well I might not even get to see if those works because Truman has vomited each time I've given him a dose of it - even though I gave it with food, which it said to do if stomach upset occurs. So I'm going to call the vet and see what to do because I can't have him vomiting every single day.
    that sucks!!!!


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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Yes, Maximus was on Cyclosporine (Atopica). I can't say it did anything for his Allergies. The cost was outrageous, and I saw no benefit. I don't think I'll give it to him again.

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    Default Re: Cyclosporine for Allergies

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    Yes, Maximus was on Cyclosporine (Atopica). I can't say it did anything for his Allergies. The cost was outrageous, and I saw no benefit. I don't think I'll give it to him again.
    Thanks - may I ask how long you had him on it?

    The doctor told us it takes about a month to work and then we can taper off the dosage but, at $52 a month, I don't find it cost prohibitive but Truman had a hard time on it digestively. We gave him a Prilosec before he took the cyclosprine today at the doctor's advice and he did good.

    Also, what are you currently doing to manage Maximus' allergies? I know you had a lot of issues too!

    "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
    Bentley (5.24.04 - 6.26.10) & Linus (1.10.06 - 7.31.13)

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