Itchy dogs get new treatment

Itchy dogs drive pet owners crazy. It is one of the most common complaints seen by veterinarians. Finding the right solution for your pet’s itching can be time consuming and expensive, and pet owners often spend a lot of money and time trying to solve the problem on their own before visiting a vet.

Itchy dogs: the possible causes

Causes include:

• Flea allergies. Some pets are allergic to flea bites and even the presence of flea mites

• Environmental allergies (atopy). Grass, pollens, dust, dust mites, mould, weeds and more

• Food allergies. The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish.

It is essential to consult a vet when your pet develops itchy skin to get to the bottom of the problem and start the correct management plan as soon as possible.

Itchy dogs: the good news

We have a new drug available in South Africa for itchy pets which will bring great relief to pet owners, their dogs and vets alike. Cytopoint is registered to control the symptoms of itchiness in pets with allergic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Cytopoint is given as an injection every 28 days and successfully manages itchiness in a huge number of pets.

Having Cytopoint in our treatment arsenal is going to be a game changer for many pets. We have many highly effective drugs now available in South Africa, including Apoquel and Atopica. This largely eliminates the need to use cortisone, with its many side effects, in many of our itchy patients.

How it works

Cytopoint is an antibody that eliminates one of the messenger substances in the itchiness pathway, thereby preventing the pet from feeling itchy. It is an innovative technology and it is extremely safe. It has no side effects and can be used in any age animal with any other underlying diseases or chronic medications. This allows us to treat even dogs under the age of one and dogs that are on chronic medication like anti-inflammatory drugs.

Although Cytopoint is new in South Africa, it has been widely used in the rest of the world for six years. It is the most widely used drug in the US for allergic patients.

Cytopoint forms part of our allergy management plan. It is important to remember that each dog is an individual and will need a tailor made management plan.

And there’s more

Some of the other tools we may use to manage a itchy dog include:

  1. Flea control
  2. Diet
  3. Supplements including omega 3 and zinc
  4. Shampoos
  5. Antibiotics
  6. Other anti-itching medication e.g. cortisone, Apoquel, Atopica
  7. Sprays
  8. Allergy testing and immunotherapy

If your dog is itchy, please book an appointment with one of our vets today to start the journey to an itch-free life. Remember it may take a few visits for us to help you figure out  the right combination of treatments for your pet. Allergies are also life-long conditions and will need life-long management. So it is worth investing time with your vet to work out the correct solution for you.

If your pet is currently on cortisone for allergies and you are looking for an alternative treatment with fewer side effects, please discuss the new options with us at your next check up.

It is no longer necessary to live with a pet whose scratching is keeping you up at night! Cytopoint has been shown to improve your pet’s quality of life significantly.


Stoffel has suffered grass allergies for most of his life; every year it gets worse in summer when he spends more time outside. His owner, veterinarian Dr Hilldidge Beer, says Stoffel has been on special diets, cortisone medication, anti-histamine and all the newest treatments available for itchy dogs. “Some worked better than others, but it did mean regular medication, something owners, even vet owners, forget at times. Some of the medications also had side effects like nausea, increased appetite, etc.

“Dr Ingrid from Country Animal Clinic suggested Cytopoint injections as an alternative. Stoffel had his first injection about 6 weeks ago and there has definitely been an improvement in his itch. He is now due for the 2nd injection and I am optimistically confident that this is at last the solution I have been hoping for. No more daily remembering to give Stoffel his medication.”

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