Medically Reviewed by Taylor Froiland, PharmD, RPh
Written by Adam McCown, PharmD
Just like humans, cats are prone to allergies. In fact, one in ten cats suffers from atopic dermatitis, also known as allergic skin disease. That is why feline atopic dermatitis is the second most commonly-diagnosed allergy in cats, behind flea allergy dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition in cats. It is an allergic reaction that causes inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by allergies to anything in the environment, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, or even certain grasses or elements causing food reactions. Allergens can be inhaled or ingested. It is worth mentioning that cats with atopic dermatitis may have a genetic predisposition to the condition. Feline atopic dermatitis is usually diagnosed in early adulthood as this is when most allergies develop for cats.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis in cats
The most common symptom of atopic dermatitis is itching, which can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms may include reddened or inflamed skin, hives, swelling of the face, ears, or paws, excessive licking or biting at the skin, hair loss, secondary bacterial or yeast infections from all the scratching, and a bad odor. In severe cases, the cat may become lethargic and lose weight.
I started observing most of these symptoms in my cat Oliver. He was always scratching his ears and biting at his legs. I also noticed he was losing hair on his hind legs and had a bad odor. I took him to the vet and they diagnosed him with atopic dermatitis caused in part by his overactive immune system response.
How is atopic dermatitis treated in cats?
The treatment for atopic dermatitis in cats usually begins with trying to identify and remove the allergens that are causing the reaction. This can be done by eliminating certain foods from the diet, using air purifiers and dust mite covers on furniture and bedding, keeping cats away from areas where they may be exposed to outdoor allergens. This can be difficult as some allergens, like pollen, are airborne and impossible to avoid. If you can’t remove the allergen, you will need to focus on managing your cat’s symptoms. The vet recommended giving Oliver Cyclosporine Compounded Oral Liquid, the most common treatment for atopic dermatitis in cats.
What is Cyclosporine Compounded Oral Liquid?
Cyclosporine is a medication given to dogs and cats to treat atopic dermatitis. Cyclosporine is an immune-suppressant drug that suppresses the immune system to help relieve symptoms of this condition. It is a prescription medication that can also be used to treat a variety of conditions triggered by an immune system response such as hemolytic anemia, perineal fistula, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
It can also be prescribed to treat cats or dogs that have had a kidney transplant to prevent the immune system from rejecting it. Cyclosporine can also be used as an alternative to certain steroids when needed for long-term use. It has a high success rate and many dogs see a reduction in skin lesions and itching.
How is Cyclosporine administered?
Cyclosporine Compounded Oral Liquid is given orally, usually in the form of an oral liquid at least 1 hour before, or 2 hours after, meals as prescribed by your veterinarian. In cats, the dosage is 7 mg per pound of bodyweight once daily for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks or until there are improved clinical signs. After the initial daily treatment period, the dosage may be tapered to every other day, or twice weekly, to maintain the desired therapeutic effect.
Does Cyclosporine have side effects?
Cyclosporine Compounded Oral Liquid is generally safe. However, the most common side effects are vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, overgrown gums, and swollen lymph nodes. These usually go away after the first few doses though. If they persist or if you notice any other side effects, please contact your veterinarian.
I am happy to report that Oliver has been doing much better since we started him on Cyclosporine Compounded Oral Liquid. He no longer scratches himself constantly and his fur is growing back. I am so relieved that we found a treatment that works for him and he can finally live a comfortable life. That's why I would like to thank Express Vet for its phenomenal and timely service. If it weren't for them, I don't know what we would have done.