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Transforming Treatment of
Canine Itch

Scientific Insights Into the Cause of Canine Itch Leads to Transformational Targeted Therapies

Itching is the reason for one out of every six visits pet owners make their veterinarians. In severe cases, itching can become life-disrupting for dogs and their families. Veterinarians have long asked for solutions that stop itching fast, allow skin healing to begin, and come without the side effects such as excessive hunger and weight gain and longer term risk of liver and kidney disease associated with conventional treatments.

Seeking better solutions for allergic skin conditions in dogs, Zoetis scientists gained a new understanding of the role that cytokines (proteins involved in cell to cell communication) and, in particular, interleukin–31 (IL-31), have in triggering the immune response that sends the itch signal to the brain in dogs.

We also understood that the needs of allergic dogs and their owners varied greatly. Veterinarians could best serve them by having choices of targeted therapies, making it possible to customize treatment for their allergic patients. With these imperatives in mind, our scientists developed two novel therapies to inhibit the activity of cytokines involved in allergic itch and skin inflammation such as IL-31.

APOQUEL® (oclacitinib tablet) was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2013 for the control of pruritus, or itching, associated with allergic dermatitis and the control of atopic dermatitis in dogs at least 12 months of age. It is now approved and launched in countries worldwide. This targeted oral therapy is a selective inhibitor of the Janus kinase (JAK) 1 enzyme, a protein that is integral to the signaling of cytokines involved in allergy such as IL-31 that results in itching and inflammation. It remains the only JAK inhibitor approved for veterinary use.

CYTOPOINT logoCYTOPOINT™ is the first monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy licensed in the United States to help provide sustained relief of the clinical signs, such as itch and skin lesions, associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. This novel therapy selectively targets IL-31. It offers the sustained efficacy and convenience of one injection every four to eight weeks. It may be used in dogs of all ages. This antibody therapy helps improve the long-term quality of life for dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis and eases the related frustration and concern of their owners.