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Atopica: A Dangerous Path To Take

atopica dangers dogsNothing seemed to be helping Buffy – an affectionate buff  colored Cocker Spaniel.  His owner was interested in holistic avenues. She was referred to a dermatologist after she had tried everything,  (even steroids) and nothing had helped. The dermatologist prescribed Atopica for Buffy and the improvement was almost immediate.  She couldn’t understand why her holistic veterinarian and her local veterinarian  (who was aware of her holistic leaning) had not prescribed Atopica.

The truth is that many veterinarians, both holistic and conventional, shiver with dread when they contemplate this product called Atopica. One of my clients – a nurse – contacted me after her veterinarian had suggested Atopica. She explained to me the strict rules and protective actions that a nurse needs to take when administering cyclopsporine, (which is the active ingredient in Atopica) to human patients were enough to make her very wary of using the product on her dog.

Atopica: What is it?

Atopica is a product that touts its efficaciousness with dogs who have allergies and other dermatological conditions. Most of my readers will know that allergies result from an incorrect response of the immune system to foods and environmental substances. For many years steroids such as prednisolone were used to decrease the ability of the immune system to function and thus relieve the allergies. It’s when steroids can’t and don’t work that Atopica is prescribed.

Why does it often work so well?  What does it do?  How does it work?

Cyclosporine is a mycotoxin.  Mycotoxins are harmful products produced by fungi. They are chemical in nature and are immune suppressing. Fungi rely on the mycotoxins they produce to kill any bacteria, other fungi, viruses and anything else that might compete with them. They suppress the immune system of dogs, cats and humans. Some examples of mycotoxins found in nature are aflotoxins, the most potent carcinogen on earth, and ocharatoxins – both produced by an Aspergillus fungi.   Medical mycotoxins include Adriamycin, a chemotherapy drug and lovastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug.

The immunosuppressive effects of cyclosporine were discovered in Switzerland in 1972 and it was used successfully in preventing organ rejection in kidney transplants and later in liver transplants. Apart from transplant medicine, cyclosporine is used for a variety of skin conditions in both humans and pets. Of course, in transplant patients it suppresses the immune system so they do not reject their transplants.

The Side Effects

The side effects of this drug include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking hands, swollen bleeding gums, cancer, kidney failure, hypertension, easy bruising, hearing problems, yellowing of skin and eyes, loss of consciousness, vision changes, swollen glands, immune suppression and dizziness. Interestingly, these aren’t side effects at all, but rather symptoms of poisoning caused by this mycotoxin poison. Farmers are familiar with the deleterious effects that mycotoxins can have on animals that eat moldy grain containing mycotoxins and the symptoms all agree.  In fact, death is one side effect listed on the feline prescription.

The literature for people states that their risk of infection will be higher when they are on this drug and to avoid people with contagious diseases or infections. Of course your pets will have the same increased risk for infection and cancer.  You’re told to wash your hands after you apply it to your cat or dog in the instructions. Hell, I’d wear latex gloves if I ever had to apply the product.

Here’s an interesting tidbit. I was totally amazed when I heard it and it made my distrust of the pharmaceutical industry go way up. I had a client who worked in the laboratories of a prestigious pharmaceutical company doing tests to determine the side effects from many drugs.  She told me that they do initial testing protocols to set up the study and watch when the side effects occur.

Let’s say, for example, that after 90 days 40% of the rats develop cancer and 20% go into liver failure. This information results in the company designing the study to last for no more than 60 or 70 days so that they can state that after that time they found that a minor percentage had minor side effects.

I guess when you view it from their perspective it’s the smart way to do it.

It took many years of my practicing medicine to fully understand that drug companies want to make money and not help or cure patients.  If one pill would cure your high blood pressure what would happen to their monthly revenue if you stopped going in every 4 weeks to refill. Just so, no pet vaccination company brags that their vaccinations last for 10 or more years because of the revenue that they would lose.

Nowadays, one out of two dogs will develop cancer. Every dog and cat needs an immune system that works and works well. And this is why veterinarians who care and also understand the mechanism behind how Atopica works shiver in their shoes.  They wouldn’t use it on their dogs and cats and you shouldn’t use it on yours.

For many of my veterinary friends, just the mention of this product makes us stare at each other in disbelief- speechless.  That’s why I decided to write this for you today.  Then you’ll know what we know.


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171 Responses to Atopica: A Dangerous Path To Take

  1. I have a 13 and a half year old, 4 lb long hair chichauhau and he has taken allergy shots since he was a puppy and now they do not help. He has also taken prednisone as well as benadryl but nothing is helping him now. He scratches, chews on himself, eyes tear, rubs on the furniture, pulls his hair out and now he has gotten himself sore from scratching and chewing where he whines or yelps a lot. I’ve change his diet so much that there is nothing else to try. I don’t know what to do cause now my husband and I are on a fixed income and don’t have a lot to spend on supposed different remedies. The vet said that he has a skin condition and wanted to put him on atopica but we did not have the money for it. Now after reading the comments on the product I’m glad we didn’t but I still don’t know what to do. He’s a picky eater and I have to put water on it to soften it slightly. My husband wants to put him down cause he is suffering. Pleases help me.

  2. Ann Marie Reed

    I lost my beautiful Grace to Hemangiosarcoma almost five years ago and I always wondered about this drug. Because she was on it for six years, to keep the fistulas under control. She had Peri Anal fistulas which I honestly believe came about after a bad reaction to a rabies shot. Sure as Hell wish I knew then what I know now.Ten is too young to lose a dog.

  3. I am really concerned. My Katie has been on Atopica for only a month and a couple of days. She looks like she’s in a stupor. Her hind legs are wobbly and she hardly has eaten or drank anything since Friday July 25. The vet infused her with fluids on yesterday and gave her a shot for vomiting but no change. I’m beginning not to trust the vet and this is her 3rd one. He never told me what the side effects would be and the pamphlet that came in the box leaves a lot to be desired. I really appreciate all the input both for and against the drug. I just wish I ‘d known what others had gone through with this drug. Thanks for letting me share my experience.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Marilyn, we hope Katie gets better soon. You may want to look for a more holistically minded vet. You can find a holistic vet at ahvma.org and many will do phone consults so they don’t have to be local. Also, you might consider homeopathy as an option for Katie’s chronic condition and you can find a homeopathic vet at theavh.org. Again, many will do phone consults.

      • my dog just started atopica now I wonder if I should put him back on temaril p which is a very low dose of antihistamine and 2 mg of prednisone and I only give 1 1/2 pills a day sounds like that is better for my dog !! what does everyone else think?? oh !! also did I mention my dog is on 3 legs right now?? still having to contend with that also!!! so confused on what to do !! someone please help me!!!

  4. Wonderful article. I’ve recently become interested in alternative medicine/home remedies after being misdiagnosed by my GP for a potentially life-threatening condition. I believe more and mor people are beginning to wake up and understand that the healthcare establishment does not have our best interests at heart, and they have to take responsibility for their own health, simply because nobody else is going to. Unfortunately, mainstream media continues to label anybody who talks about organic therapy/alternative medicine as a “quack” or even a “charlatan” like this article from NBC news: http://www.nbcnews.club/cancer-patients-turning-alternative-remedies/304 . It is nothing more than a hit-piece. We need to have some sincere reporting concerning the success rate of alternative medicine, it is about time.

    • jade

      Hi my dog has the anal fistous and the only thing that works isthe atopica i would have to put him down if i couldnt get him treatment as he screams with pain as it eats away his bottom maybe someone could surgest some other treatments for this

  5. Diana

    My Westie has been on it for years and it’s given her real quality of life, without it she was miserable. We tried everything and it’s the only thing that works and it’s been a wonder drug for her, she’s 15 and doing so well. I won’t stop giving it to her. Everyone has different ideas and experiences and it’s working well so that’s all I care about.

    • Amy Floyd

      My Westie was on it for a year. She did great for about 6 mths. Then started break outs worse than ever before. We have been fighting this now for 2 months and 2 different vets in 2 states don’t know what to do for her.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Amy, you might want to try a holistic vet who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine (search at ahvma.org) or a homeopathic vet (theavh.org). Either of these could be helpful. Many of them will do phone consultations so they don’t have to be local.

    • Diana, I’m curious as to the amount of Atopica your pet is on. My Corgi has just been put on this drug and he is quite dizzy, unco-ordinated with a fast heart-beat. He is taking 150 mg per day Thanks for your response.

  6. Andy T

    Our Australian Sheppard has Protein-Losing Nephropathy (PLN) and has been on Atopica for over a year. He would not be with us today if it were not for Atopica. I have read all the negative comments concerning this drug and so far he has not displayed any of them. Can anyone explain how a dog with such a debilitating disease as PLN and taking Atopica show none of its harmful side effects?

  7. Julia

    This drug killed my chiuhuahua! She was on it about 5 years of her life and I had to put her down last week. She formed a tumor that blocked her pancreas. It was not operable and she had less then 50 chance of surviving. She also had abdominal fluid which was caused by her entire system shutting down. Her last few days wer spent in so much pain where she was vomiting and foaming at the mouth. This was caused from the drug. I know in my heart that this would have not developed in her body at 8 years old since it was such a young age. I am so sad to let her go but the dr suggested it because I couldn’t remove the tumor and her liver and pancreas were already shutting down on her. They did exploratory surgery on her because I didn’t want to give up on her. She was such a big part of my life. I brought her to the best vets possible. Please do your research. I am writing this because I would like to save other pet owners thinking about using this drug. I am so highly against it! It killed my beloved best friend. I will never use another drug on my dog or my kid for that matter! In memory of my sweet nikka! Mommy loves you and misses you every day, hope your at piece now in doggie heaven.

    • Bruce Barshay

      Julia, I feel your pain. My beloved Harley only lasted 43 days on this “enabler of death”. He died a death i can only wish on the excutives at the hospital and at Novartis Animal Health. This drug should not be on the market at all but it is making too many people wealthy and thats how our country works.
      Giving your dog Atopica is like giving them AIDS.

  8. Karen

    I just started my dog on Atopica 4 days ago and after all that I have read I really don’t want him on it. Is it safe to just to stop giving it? He has only had 4 100mg doses so far.

    • Bruce Barshay

      It’s unsafe if you keep giving it to him. It is a poison, it’s primary benefit is to provide a wealthy lifestyle to the executives at Novartis Animal Health.

      • susanna

        Well, tell me, if there in no other medicine, what can help??

    • Teresa

      yes I had to stop my dog after 2 weeks because he had vomiting and diareaha and had to go to the emergency room for 2 days!

  9. susanna

    Well, what then, when you have no choice for atopica??

    What natural treatment will heal metatarsal fistulas??

    I think nothing?

    • Bruce Barshay

      I took my Dog to the University of Pennsylvania Matthew J Ryan Veternarian Hospital. He had rectal cancer but they misdiagnosed him with Perianal Fistulas. 43 days after they started him on Atopica he was dead from a condition called Necrotizing Fasiitis. NF is the flesh eating bacteria, I got a front row seat to watch my dog die an excrusiatingly painfull and hoffific death. I’ve seen first hand what this cash-flow producing poison can do. Don’t kid yourself treating animals is a business and Atopica which is an enormously expensive drug provides a good living for a lot of people. And these people genuinely don’t care if we lose a few on the way because it is proving them with a wonderful lifestyle. Put your animal to sleep rather than give them Atopica “The enabler of death”.

  10. LIsa L

    Never ever use this on your dog….. We were prescribed this to our 3 year old great pyrenese. It controlled her allergies for a brief stint then she developed hyperplasic gingivitis and a tumour in her mouth. Two months later she has a brain tumour and this will be her last day. PLEASE PLEASE NEVER USE this try to uncover the true cause of the allergies……

    • Bruce Barshay

      Atopica is an enabler of death. The hospital I took my dog to recieves huge donations from Novartis Animal Health the maker of Atopica. I’m sure in return the hospital tries to push as many Atopica prescriptions out the door especially thru the dermatology department. Atopica which is a disabler of the immune system used along with other immunosuppressive drugs places your dog at a heightened risk for many things. Even if your dog doesn’t develope a life threatening infection all that’s means is that you were lucky because your animal is being exposed to risks the veternarians and animal hospitals aren’t warning you about. Lisa the bottom line is that your dog and my dog had to die so drug company and animal hospital executives can live a better life.

  11. 15.5 year old Bearded Collie with ITP relapse OR UTI complication emulating drop in platelets – need immune suppressor while running course of Baytril (antibiotic) to clean out UTI. Atopica dosage 100mg every 12 hours.

    After first 24 hours, OK. Diarrhea is now onset for 2nd and 3rd days. Not sure we can continue this, since this usually occurs during his sleep in his bed – causing huge mess!

    His platelet count was alarmingly low at 26,000 but was 25,000 the week before and 15,000 week before this. I have seen his count improve exponentially in the past with Prednisone, but he cannot tolerate another round of Prednisone.

    Azathioprene has been discussed but I am wondering if he could recover without any help aside from the Baytril clearing the UTI out?

    we need to get his platelet count to 170,000 so lot of work to do..not sure, should i stay on the atopic a for few more days and see if diarrhea abates?

  12. Theresa

    I need advice ASAP! I have a 5 year old White Miniature Schnauzer, whom up until a 1.5 ago was Healthy. Then we moved from Texas to Dominican Republic an I say within 6 months he developed a skin condition that is getting progressively worse despite all the treatments we have tried. I have spent a couple of thousand trying to help him . We have changed his diet, taken away his dog bed,allergy medication, steroids, medicated baths had him allergy tested (blood) and he is now on injections, which have not shown any improvement. I have asked for the VET to put him on ATOPICA , however this is not available here so he will be ordering it for me. I am having mixed feeling about this. My dog is clearly miserable as are we, but is it worth giving him the Atopica?? I have read that it is effective . If I do put him on it , would I need to stop the injections?

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Theresa, please consult with a good homeopathic vet. Many do phone consults and you can find on at theavh.org

    • Teresa

      go to Healthygoo.com and order the Doggy Goo. It works and do not use Atopica. It nearly killed my dog last Fall

      • Jacquie C

        The only thing about the Doggy Goo is it has a peanut butter base, so make sure you’re dog doesn’t have a peanut allergy

  13. Only reason Atopica exists is for the vaccine induced immune dysregulation that pets are suffering today. Once they destroy the pets immune system primal functions with Th 1 suppression, the humoral Th 2 unhealthy bias is created and the system is chronically inflamed. They only have patent drugs to then treat patent vaccine diseases….so out come NSAIDS, perhaps antibiotics, then antihistamines and then steroids then…….CHEMOTHERAPY….the only reason the pets have dys regulated immune systems in the first place is the administration of unsafe and unnecessary vaccines and loosing immune regulation. Great for practice income both the patent vaccines and patent drugs, bad for the human animal bond, bad for the animals, bad for the clients hearts and pocketbooks.

    • Julie

      My two 8 year old german shepherd mixes (litter mates) were diagnosed with pannus. I was given cyclosporine and neo polydex drops to administer daily. I have been giving them the drops for about two years. I keep hoping to find a more holistic treatment. I recently mentioned this condition to my acupuncturist who also specializes in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He suggested I make a tea from Chrysanthemum flowers and add it to their water. I would like to get them off these medications but do not want them to loose their sight. I feed them Game Bird by Fromm. It is grain free. Can you recommend a better treatment that I can follow?

    • Sam

      My 6 year old Portuguese Water Dog has suffered from allergies most of her life. I have spent thousands of dollars on treatments including homeopathy and saw NO improvement. She would lick and chew the bottom of her feet to the point she was unable to walk and she suffered from ear infections that were so painful she would cry. My vet reccomended Atopica and did show me scientific data demonstrating its safety and efficacy. I went home and did my own research online and found articles like this that scared me and I chose not to put her on it. Another year went by and my dog continued to suffer. I finally reached my breaking point and tried Atopica. With in days my dog was symptom free, for the first time in years she could sleep at night. She has been on it for two years with no side effects and remains symptom
      Free. She is on half the reccomended dose for her size every other day. I am at peace with my decision to put my dog on this medicine. I recognize the negatives of it but if if means my dog is not suffering for the time she has with us it is worth it to me. I truly wish someone would write a balanced article regarding this medicine so that people can make an informed decision about it, and not just immediately be scared away from something that could greatly improve the quality of life for their pet. As you state in your article half of dogs get cancer whether they are on Atopica or not, so if my dog does end up getting cancer I will not blame the medicine I will be thankful that she was happy and comfortable for the time she was with us, which is more then I can say for the MANY other treatments I had tried for her.

      • Kay griffith

        Reading your post helped me with my decision of using Atopica. She was being tormented with the itching and her life wasn’t worth living.

      • Thank u Sam!

        I have a 4 year old german shep that I have spent money on testing antibiotics, antihistamines and prednisone that did not work . My beautiful dog suffers and I feel horrible -I agree it works and its better than putting him down or him suffering. His paws were bloody and he was itching so bad he had hair loss – now he is atleast functioning and can sleep.

      • Maryanne Peck

        I tried everything to help my poor little Border Terrier and am now faced with this decision. She is miserable and smells bad all the time. She is itchy all the time, her skin bleeds and she loses fur. She has been on every medication and diet known except for Atopica. NOTHING has helped. The children avoid her because of her smell and the way she looks and feels. This is not living for a sweet little dog!! I does not seem right to refuse medication to greatly improve quality of life – I think it is better to have quality rather than quantity. I will be trying this medication soon – I just hope it works.

    • Bruce Barshay

      Dr Jordan, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  14. Beth

    I have a lab who was on Atopica for over 2 years, she also had to constantly take allergy meds, prednisone at times and ketoconazole at times, also omega 3. She averaged out of the 2 years one month symptom free, vet visits did not slow down, I had to change food 3 times, nothing seem to totally ease my dogs symptoms. Well then my dog all of a sudden had hind leg weakness which in turn caused a spinal injury, she lost function of both back legs at this point along with the above meds she was put on more totally 9 medications 2 times daily. The my dog had a seizure, and could no longer control her bowel function, after my dog suffering for 2 months, I decided to stop everything, all pills all treatments, and now 6 months later it is the best thing I ever did. . Sometimes we think we are doing the best thing for our animals by providing them with the latest medications and treatment, and in turn we are only making our animals suffer. I thought I was doing the responsible thing by listening to my vet and their treatment options, and I should have been paying more attention to my dog and what she needed. She continues to limp but has function of her hind end, she is also able to control her bowels, and her allergy symptoms are almost resolved, she only takes a multivitamin.

    • Hi Beth,

      Thanks for your input on the Atopica. My Katie has suffered for 4 and half years with allergies. I’ve taken her to 3 vets and have an up coming appt. for a dermatologist. She’s been on Atopic for a month and a half. I noticed last week she was having problems getting on her favorite chair to look out the window. I just thought she was getting to big for the chair. You mentioned weakness in your dogs hind legs. Katie has developed the same as well as vomiting and lose stool in the past week. The vet found nothing in her digestive system to indicate she’d eaten something she shouldn’t. The vet never told me the side effects of the medication and the little pamphlet that comes with the medication leaves a lot to be desired. She’s lethargic and refuses liquids but will eat a little food. The vet infused her with fluids and gave a shot for the vomiting, but there isn’t much of a change. What did you do ultimately for your dogs allergies?

  15. One of my westies began with severe allergies as a pup. I read and researched several alternatives for helping including Atopica. I readily admit seeing my dog in her worst states I was tempted to try this, and then my scottie came down with cancer. He was healthy his entire life until this hit. He did well with his treatments but I was determined to ward off cancer if possible for anyof my others (yes I know there is no guarantee). I began allergy injections with her at 7 months of age. We managed her major outbreaks through the years as naturally as possible with rarely using steroids. Since starting immunotherapy we have since had more extensive testing and found a dermatologist proficient in allergy treatement. New serums produced and she has finally had her best year ever! Not totally cured, but better. She is now five years of age and yes she still receives injections, the serums are not terribly expensive and I am glad that we chose this route of treatment. I would not criticize any one’s choices just wanted to share mine with you all.

    • Lisa

      Could you be more specific about the treatment she is on. I have tried everything for my yorkie and nothing seems to help. I really don’t want to put her on drugs like Atopica, but we’re desperate.

  16. kathy curtis

    i have read all these comments about atopica, for me i use it after trying everything to help my 6 mo. scottie with his skin issues. it may have side affects long term, but at this point he is on 1 pill every 4 days, is 1 1/2 years old, will use atopica, its the only thing that has help, i will make his life happy for whatever time he has and not make him miserable because of what (might ) happen years from now. there is no other choice for us. he has no side affects. i will not cave to panic of what might be!!!!

  17. kathy curtis

    my scottie started atopica when he was less then a year, tried everything, from 6 months old, when he got a rash and ended up chewing all the fur off his feet, did all the tests,changed food, shampoo, everything, saw a dermatoligist, no one had a answer, exactly what it was, my vet was worried about putting a puppy on the drug, dermatoligist said o.k., he has been on it almost a year, we have been able to wean him to 1 pill every four days so far, no symtoms, we will wean him again to once a week in march then off all together and see what happens, sometimes there just isn’t a choice, rather well and happy for the time they hace then sick and .miserable, , i would do it again , if i had to. in my case breeding had nothing to do with his issues, he came from excellent parents, with no history of any health issues in his line,

  18. Robin

    I just read this article and I feel compelled to leave a comment. I have a Jack Russell who is going to be 15 yrs. old this year. He has been on Atopica for several years. I tired everything before putting him on this which was recommended by his Vet. It has helped him a great deal. yes, your pet has to be monitored regularly and blood work must be taken to make sure they are not having any adverse reactions. This is true with ANY meds your pets are on. I have tried some holistic cures and he had no positive cures. I have to cut him back on this medication based on the time of year. He is doing well so far.

    One thing I do have an issue with is articles like this posting these reports with all the negativity and not posting the positive as well. To sound an alarm like this is unfair without providing the “other” side as well.

    I do not know how many more years I have with this very loving and truly loyal friend I have but I do know this I will do everything in my power to make sure his days are as comfortable and happy as possible!!!!


  19. Nick

    A very interesting discussion. Thanks to all who’ve contributed.

    The problem I see here is a lot of people stating homeopathic remedies are the be all and end all, but I don’t see one definitive cure amongst them. OK, Atopica is not good. I will not use it. However I would like to see some clear cut homeopathic solutions that work being mentioned. Thus far, nothing. In short, people are going around in circles and arriving back at the same point they started. All the time their animals are suffering. Results matter, not chatter…

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Hi Nick
      Homeopathic prescribing is based on the individual dog, not a diagnosis. So, although it’s pretty easy to recommend remedies for acute issues without seeing the dog, it’s virtually impossible to do so for chronic issues without a full case taking. In the hands of a qualified homeopath, this may take two to three hours. Does your dog have a hawthorn in his foot? Use Silica. Garbage gut? Nux vomica. But for complicated, long standing issues like allergies, it’s impossible to suggest a remedy as it really depends on the dog’s symptom picture.

  20. My Shih Tzu was experiencing many of the same things most of you have mentioned… severe itching, chewing on his feet, and in general, feeling very poorly. The vet put him on Atopica, and at first he did really great. The vet was supposed to have done regularly scheduled blood work every few months, but didn’t, and once the Atopica started causing severe problems, I did my own research on Atopica. My Charlie started having nervous like shaking spells and would whine a little and act like he was hurting. One day we came home (thankfully we had been gone only a short while) and he was standing in the floor, shaking uncontrollably, and when I picked him up, he actually felt like I had just removed him from a refrigerator. At that point, I immediately stopped the Atopica and took him to the vet. His red blood count was dangerously low, which according to the vet, it meant his body was not producing bone marrow, and upon physical examination, the vet told me that he had lost most of his muscle mass, which would explain why he had gone from 15 pounds to 13 pounds in about 8 months. When the vet originally put him on steroids, he was like a different dog, bouncing around and playing. After two rounds of the steroids, he bottomed out again. That’s when I started giving him the Atopica. When he hit rock bottom with that, I read about all the possible side effects, and also about the need for blood work on a regular basis while taking the medication. I was furious! I should have been given more information, and the vet should have done the blood tests. I took it upon myself to stop the Atopica and within 8 months Charlie had gained 2 pounds! I started giving him fish oil, changed his food to a natural food, and I shampoo him with a medicated shampoo from the vets office. It is important to note that he was also hypothyroid, which is being treated with medication, but his thyroid level was being treated even before the Atopica was introduced. I realize that all pets are different, but I now have a happy and healthy little guy who plays and enjoys life, and itches rarely. If he starts to itch, I bathe him, and he’s good to go. He had a tough 2 1/2 years of his life, but now he is a happy and healthy 3 1/2 year old.

  21. Bruce Barshay

    My Rottie was diagnosed with Perianal Fistulae Disease. The Oncology dept prescribed prednisone 40MG @ day to start. For 6 weeks he showed dramatic improvment. The Oncology dept referred me to the Dermatology dept because it wasn’t cancer and therefore not their specialized service. The Dermatology Vet said that was good but we could get a better result. She prescribed Cyclosporine (100mg)and Ketaconazol and we would continue with the Pred gradually tapering. My Rottie’s progress immediately ceased and he began to struggle. She re-upped the dose of Pred and he began to show progress again. Then we began to taper and got down to 20MG @ day. Last Saturday I walked my Rottie and he was fine did not limp but I noticed slight puffiness in his left front leg around his shoulder. I thought nothing of this as I’ve seen him and my other Rottie limp many times and the next day they would be fine. Upon awakening Sunday morning the edema in my Rotties leg had spread and he was so weak he was unabble to stand up at all. I’ve never seen an infection like this and spread this fast. I had no choice but to put him to sleep in the ICU of the Veterinary Hospital Tuesday afternoon. The attending vet suggested surgery telling me they probably would have to amputate his leg and assess the additional damage once they got inside. She also said if it went well there was no guarentee he would be able to walk of the hospital and if he did there was no guarentee he wouldn’t be back in a month. My Rotties problems all began with the introduction of Cyclosporine.

  22. susanna

    Here, from Finland too…
    GSD, 15 months, has metatarsal fistulation. :(
    Vet recommended to start atopica! I don`t want to, but what choices i do have!??

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      A good classical homeopath can always help.

      • susanna

        Thank you, we have tried hepar sulfur, but it doesn`t work. :(

        • Alison

          In that case it was probably the wrong remedy for your dog

        • Alison

          Additionally, what are feeding your dog and what chemicals have you introduced in the way of vaccines, flea and tick etc
          Read the articles in the magazine and learn from them.

          • susanna

            Thank you. I have vaccinated him, in Finland, what we usually use here. He eats right now eukanuba sensitive digestion, and some raw foods. This dry food has been only one, which is keeping his stomach quite good. What else could be good choice? We haven`t use flea or tick poisons.
            Now we have to started antibiotics, therios. Because the paws are going to inflammation.( sorry my bad english. )
            How can i put photo`s here, so you can see what kind of his paws, foots are?
            Atopica i don`t want to start. :( :(

  23. Georgia Rosen

    These comments are very distressing to me about all these suffering dogs. I know without a doubt in my mind that my goldendoodle would be suffering the same fate as these dogs if I would have listened to my vet and put my dog on any drug. I spent a lot of time researching about alternative methods ,and settled on homeopathy and learned as much as I could about it. I read about how it works ,why it works , how disease manifests itself,and everything in between. Then I went about researching a good homeopath ,with the credentials and experience in homeopathy .Most started off as regular vets that just prescribed meds. But have switched to homeopathy,not one that just dabbles , but one that is 100 percent into classical homeopathy.I realize some people might be skeptical about how a homeopath does not even have to see your dog to help you ,but it’s true. I am in Michigan and the one I use is in Massachusetts . As far as the comments on this post that say bad things about homeopathy ,they don’t really know anything about it. I can only tell you that having done all the research I possibly can ,and having the results that I and many of my friends have had ,it’s truly amazing! My dogs skin and ears problems get better and better every year,instead of just suppressing his symptoms and immune system with drugs ,which I know now would have side effects immediately or somewhere down the line. My dog is also a raw fed dog, and has had no vaccinations since he was a year old. I know anyone deciding to take this path will have a hard time wrapping thier head around not relying on a “diagnosis ” as at first I did.But as you can see from the comments above ,a lot of these dogs were” diagnosed” with the same thing, but it does not look the same in every dog.My dog was” diagnosed” with severe allergies before he was two. He couldn’t stop chewing his paws , ear infection at one point lost all his hair on his left back paw , it was oozing painful,very sad to see him suffer. Regular vet didn’t know why the hair fell out on one paw and not the others, but said I should immediately put him on some steroid ,and allergy shots,I chose not to do that and my journey began.By the way it was very important to the homeopathy doctor that the hair fell out on only one paw,which one it was ,how it looked ,was it oozing or not ,was he lathirgic ,are both ears involved , are they inflamed ,was there any discharge ,all this and a lot more questions were asked in trying to zero in on the correct remedy and dosage ,when was the last time your vet takes to you about your pet for a couple of hours wanting to know everything about them? Anyway , I don’t mean to lead you to believe things with homeopathy happens overnight, because they don’t . It’s not like pharmaceuticals that just try to stop the symptoms your pet is experiencing ,it’s working with the immune system to put the body back in balance ,without turning the immune system off,and no side effects.They will teach you what to do to take the edge off of symtoms such as itching ect.but not to completely stop them ,as this is the body’s way of telling us ,animal or human how disease is manifesting in the body. My dog has gone through losing all hair on each paw one at a time (strange but important) during homeopathy treatment,but have never had that problem since .He has had yeasty smelly ears seasonally , but have gotten better and better very season since homeopathy.I think that will be a thing of the past very soon just as the paw problems went away.All this and more that I won’t go into because this comment is just getting too long. It’s disheartening to me to hear about these dogs , whether its on this blog or where I take my dog walking on a trail close to home. For sure we are not alone,these pharmaceutical drugs may provide temporary relief in these animals ,by suppressing these symtoms ,but in no way puts them on the path to being a healthy vital animals, in fact pushes disease deeper into more vital organs more detrimental than skin. I hope this helps someone out there try a different path, and look at dis-ease in the body differently, and working with the immune system to make it stronger ,rather than weaker with all these anti everything drugs. I think it might make things more difficult with homeopathy to turn around these dogs that have been on suppressive therapy for a long time to make the turn around ,but I’m not sure , as I never used any drugs with my dog ,but I’ll tell you the pressure from the regular vet that said my dog would have these problems for the rest of his life without shots and other meds was immense .And I’m glad I didn’t listen. So for my dogs no shots , no heartworm meds,no flea and tick sprays , other than those that are made from essential oils. I’m not saying that reg. vets have no place in my dogs life , I do have a relationship with one for emergencys , like god forbid if my dog got hit by a car,or broke his leg,but that’s about it.Thankfully I found him, even though he gives me the speech about vaccines every year and heartworm meds.he does not require that I comply as he knows where I stand on these issues. Thanks for reading this comment , hope it helps someone out there .

    • Kerstan A.

      Georgia, I APPLAUD you, your comment, and your choice in giving your dog the best life possible.

      Your input is very heartwarming and wise, in my opinion.

      You are truly an inspiration.

      Best wishes!

    • Gigi

      I appreciate all this information. I have a dog that nearly died from vaccines received earlier this year. He is currently on a every-other-day pred/Atopica regimen but I want to get him off of that and I’m thinking holistic is the way to go.

      Would LOVE to get the name and contact info of the person you use in Massachusetts. I’m desperate and haven’t found anyone locally yet who can help (I’m in Georgia).


    • Pam

      Georgia: I am having the same struggles with my cat. I hate giving her the Atopica but it seems to be the only thing that works. She started with oozing lesions and would bite and lick at them constantly. Steroids did no good, so the vet started her on Atopica. The lesions did disappear and the vet has been slowly decreasing the dose to see how she does. I want her off of it. She is miserable when I dose her and I don’t like giving her that poison or even having it around the house. The vet suspects allergies, so she is having allergy tests next week. Hopefully we can figure out what the problem is. Who is your holistic vet in Massachusetts? I live in New Hampshire and just don’t know where to go! I’ve been through 2 vets already and have not been happy for a variety of reasons (pushing dry food to clean their teeth (really?), pushing vaccines that my 2 indoor cats don’t need, forgetting to give my other cat her rabies shot, leaving a needle on the floor of the exam room that I found during my last visit, etc.etc…

      • Blu Jess

        Pam, who have you seen in NH? I am in NH and I have had some serious vet horror stories (like telling me to feed a diabetic cat HIGH CARB DRY food? What the heck??!) and looking for the right vet, think I found her now but want to be sure. My cat has some kind of auto immune disease that’s attacking her red blood cells and slowly shutting down her kidneys. We don’t know what…she’s had iron shots and B-12 and daily supplements to combat her anemia and not only is that not helping, but even after all that her anemia is far worse. We’ve been giving lower phosphorus wet foods for the kidneys, and fluids, but no change in kidney failure. She’s on prednisolone now but my vet says it’s not good for long term (could cause diabetes and ulcers, etc) so she wants to try Atopica as she says it’s an immunosuppresant and will help control this disease, what ever it is, but I don’t want to poison my kitty who is already struggling. I’m kind of lost here. And my cat is declining and I fear the worst… :/

        • linda

          I am in southern nh and my choco lab has skin allergies and we go to Banfield Hospital in Nashua. They have him on low dose prednisone. I also give him a no grain dog food, flax seeds and fish oil, only give him carrots and fruits for treats and bathe him in special medicated shampoo from the vets. He is a bit better, his skin doesnt flake like it used to, but he still does alot of scratching and periodically loses his hair on his tail, stomach and feet (from licking) have you seen a better vet in NH I could try?

    • i know a lady that nearly died. her kidneys were shutting down and with her own research discovered she was needed to be gluten free. i dont see why this couldn’t effect cats to. all animal food has wheat with alot of junk. you would be supprised how glutten can harm us.your doctor most likely
      wont go for this but try it anyway. good luck hope this helps. beverly

    • Kristin

      Hi, I’m in Massachusetts and was wondering which holistic vet you were referring to.

    • Steven

      I have a 2 yr old yorkie, she is suffering with similar issues as your golden doodle early on. she has been vaccinated, I tried Atopica one day and thought theres no way this can be healthy based on how her body reacted. I have tried changing her diet to media cal HP, so far not working , next i will try a raw diet. but i have a suspicion this one solve the problem either and her rashes seem to get worse and worse. If I don’t need to see a homeopathic vet, could you recommend a homeopathic vet for me? if not where to look and what to look for in terms of quality.

    • Karmen

      Hi, Susanna and others!

      Please read this information before giving Atopica to your dogs. I made this mistake and now we detoxing our Labrador (hes 8 years old and had batteling with allergy symptoms for over a year now) from all this toxins, it takes time, but my dog is getting better little by little :)
      Previosly we gave him numeros antibiotics, steroids, Apocuel (similar to Atopica) and all this makes him very sick and no improvement what so ever…. These pages literally saved my sweet dog :)


  24. Deborah George

    My golden retriever is 10 years old. Her skin allergies showed themselves when she was less than a year old, with swollen red paws, and constant yeast infections etc…then came the ear infections, then the scratching around the muzzle, biting at the genital region, and the circle went on. We did the antihistimines, hydroxyzine, doxepin…and that list goes on. I won’t even go into all the shampoos and conditioners we tried. We did both blood and skin allergy testing, and did the monthly shots for a few years. The allergies kept changing every two years with a new test needed because the shot would stop working (if it ever really did to begin with), and the ears and paws and genital area continued to itch with little pustules, and get secondary infections, black pigmentation, most requiring an antibiotic. The pustules were clearly visible. Her coat looked good, as she took the omega 3 and 6 combos vitamins, and the salmon oil supplements, and she ate the high end holistic dog food recommended in whole dog journal. We even did the food trials for a year with no improvement. Then we finally resorted at about 8 years old, to the dreaded prednisone 20 mg, decreasing over days and just on the short term (so we hoped). It worked like a charm at first, but quickly lost it’s punch without raising the dosage, with our dog draining the water bowl three times a day, and having to install a doggie door because she went to pee so often, and literally living for the bite of food….we knew she had to get off of it. Next came Temeril P, a little cocktail of prednisone and antihistamine, and it worked for a few months, but the allergy “attacks” kept creeping thru….so we went to Atopica…at a whopping price each month, and she takes it daily. it works exceptionally well. I did all the reading…pro and con, and made the decision to “try” it, reluctantly. She will remain on this medication. Now if her life is shortened by a year or so, or even more….well at least she went out feeling good, and she does. We have a dog that is not doped with antihistamines, to the point of sleeping 24/7, or hungry 24/7 from prednisone. I have a dog waiting at the door for a walk and fetching a ball for the first time since she was a pup, and going in the pool, and in general, being curious and wanting to explore the world around her. Dogs are abused and malnourished and “put down” by vets, all over the world…she’s a dog, and she was born with an immune issue due to poor breeding….and I am just trying to make her short life a bit more enjoyable as a responsible pet owner. People, don’t beat yourself over the head because of the decision you make in order to make your pet more comfortable for how ever many years you have them.

    • summer

      Hey! I read your comment and my dog has been on Atopica for over a year now.She has had all of the same allerigies and itching problems that your pup has. i started her on a new supplement called Dinovite and it has worked WONDERS . still itchy at times, but not compared to where she once was before, and now I am slowly weaning her off of the Atopica. I suggest u try it!

      • Georgia B.

        My dog is on Atopica. It doesn’t work. I tried Dinovite, it didn’t work. I tried Itchy Dog supplements, still devouring his paw. I am at my wits end and don’t know how to help him. He licks his paw constantly.

        • Georgia B.

          One thing I did not mention about the Atopica. The original dose was one pill daily. My poor dog got so sick. Vomiting and loose stools with blood and mucous in it. The vet lowered the dose to one every other day. He can tolerate it so he is not sick but he is still itchy. They tell me that is the best he will ever be. :( So you can see, the Atopica is very harsh. I would love an alternative as I have researched and tried everything that I can possibly think of.

    • MCoyne

      Thank you so much for your comment! My dog has been suffering with the exact same symptoms since he was 2 years old, he is now 5.5. I tried many things, the vet being very little help, Tufts dermatologist prescribed Atopica for him about two months ago. It has worked wonders but he must have it everyday, I skip one, and its back to a red itchy mess in his genital/thigh area for over a week. I really did not want to put him on prescription meds, and I still struggle with it, but he is so much more comfortable.

    • hi , read your sad letter. look at the website i found of dr. becker dmv. she has a natural way to cure this and she has alot of good information on why not to use the meds you are using. suppressing the
      immune system is hurting more than helping. your vet wont tell you that. her vidios helped me alot. i am having the same problem with my dog for years. same flare ups same med. it going round and
      roung and alot of money. when you look at her web site type is your dogs problem. like yeasty dog! then watch the vidio. remember dr. becker dmv. hope this helps.

  25. Nicky

    I have a Westie that started itching just before her first birthday. We spent a lot of money buying ‘allergy foods’ of different brands and proteins (even kangaroo). We also had her skin tested for environmental allergies. It turns out she has both. I advise everyone to start their journey with a good pet shampoo for allergies to get rid of any oils or fungus that may have been caused by the allergies and subsequent scratching AND feeding them a limited antigen diet of your own. It is not going to hurt your pet to eat nothing but cooked chicken, beef or pork for a few weeks to see if he improves. If they are still itchy, try a different protein. You will have to really make sure they are not getting ANY other treats from anyone else or eating food that had dropped to the floor. We discovered we can’t use ANY commercial food or treats. I actually am suspecting corn which is prevalent in both our human and pet food supply. My conclusion is based on the fact that the only thing Abby can eat is wild fish and bison, neither fed on corn. I add potatoes and a supplement purchased from the vet. In the winter we practice with one veggies at a time but so far have found nothing that doesn’t make her itch. We started a generic cyclosporin for the environmental allergies last year and managed on a dose much less than recommended. This year, the amount we are giving her is microscopic. I believe that controlling the food allergy has helped reduce the impact of the environmental one…fIngers crossed. I can not stress enough though, that you try giving your dog, one ingredient food before buying into the expensive ‘vet foods’ or meds. It doesn’t take long, cook up a bunch and freeze it.

  26. Jean

    I don’t understand the comment about wearing latex gloves to apply Atopica. My dog’s comes in capsule form. He swallows it. I don’t apply it. And the instructions DO NOT say “…to wash your hands after you apply it to your cat or dog …” Of course they don’t, because you don’t apply it. This is fear mongering. Atopica has possible side effects as do other drugs and as does not treating a dog suffering from the torment of itch that might leave him with open sores on his body.

    Oh, and by the way, the Vet who prescribes Atopica for my dog? A certified Homeopathic Vet.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Therein is the reason to make sure your holistic or homeopathic vet is truly holistic! There is a difference between hanging a shingle out that says holistic and actually practicing holistic medicine. Most purely homeopathic vets would shun Atopica for its long term immune suppressing symptoms whereas conventional vets who happen to practice holistic or homeopathic medicine on the site don’t mind so much.

    • The presription I’ve just received for Capsule form of Atopica say on the directions “Wear protective gloves when handling, Wash hands thoroughly after dosing”. My understanding is that the drug can leach in small amounts into your skin and possibly compromise your own immune system. My dog does not have skin/itching issues. He has Lupus (polycystic arthropathy with platelet involvement) which produced severe lameness and inappetance. He has been on Prednisone for 7 months now and on Azathiaprine since September. When we try to decrease the prednisone he becomes symptomatic. The long term effects are harsh for prednisone so the goal is to try to wean him off the prednisone and azathiaprine, then back to the lowest possible dose of atopica to maintain him at a symptom free/safe level. I am quite uneasy about him going on this drug.

  27. Kerowhyn

    Having read the above article and comments there is some things I have basically determined. Atopica is apparently effective. I have had my cat, Sirci, on it for going on 8 years now and have seen no detrimental side effects as you have listed. My dog, Ramey, has also been on it for her grass allergy. If 1/2 of ALL dogs develop cancer in your statement above in reply to Bob, then why bother using the fact if its not directly related to the drug? Sounds like scare tactics to me. Another thing I see repeated is ” Please consult a Homeopathic vet.” If you yourself are a veterinarian that is so concerned about us all using the Atopica then why don’t you actually list homeopathic suggestions that might be as effective or at least give suggestions. It great you being a cheerleader and scare monger for all natural vs chemical but at least be useful about it. Instead of just saying how bad and scary it is give us some other outlet for us to suggest to our vets that would be better. I also see no citations, journals, links, or even data shown to help prove your claims. Where is your proof? Where are these studies? Should we just take your word because you’ve got the fancy “Dr.” title? Please at least give us suggestions to something homeopathic that works for this problem other than “Please consult a homeopathic vet”. Not everyone has access to one. My nearest neighbor is 1/2 a mile down the road let alone the nearest homeopathic vet is 4 hours away. Give us something useful if not then why bother at all? I’d rather my pets have a slightly shortened life full of happiness and love than a longer life filled with misery and horrible bleeding rashes that could lead to them becoming anemic and dying faster than any fungus toxin. On another note, Penicillin comes from fungus/mold and look at the wonders its done.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Hi Kerowhyn
      On Dr Khalsa’s behalf, we’d like to say it is nearly impossible to recommend a homeopathic remedy for allergies because they are a deeply seated, chronic condition that require a “constitutional remedy.” This is a remedy that is selected based on the individual dog’s symptom picture and that could indicate one out of hundreds of possible remedies. We can give remedy suggestions for simple acute cases, but not chronic cases. As for research, did your own vet provide you with research studies conclusively showing atopica to be a safe and effective long term treatment option? If not, you just took his word because of his fancy Dr title.

    • Schumway

      Amen Kerowhyn! Our dog is finally comfortable and happy, thanks to Atopica, which he’s taken for 4 years without any issues. Years ago when this first started, I spent a few weeks trying the “nontraditional treatments” but that was about all I could take of looking at his oozing sores be hearing him whine himself to sleep at night. I don’t need to feel smarter than traditional medicine so badly that I’m willing to watch my dog suffer.

  28. Merion Markstrum

    My dog is using the cyclosporine ointment for dry eyes. Is this known to have the same kind of problems? If so what can be used instead of it.

    • b bowles

      There isn’t anything else effective for dry eye – the alternative is that your dog will go blind, though there are ointments that will help with the pain and itching in leaving it untreated.

      My English Springer Spaniel is now 13yrs 4 months. When he was 8, he was diagnosed with dry eye and put on Optimmune; he has 6 month check ups where his tear production is low normal. His sight has deteriorated somewhat over the years, but he is not blind – if I’m some distance away in a field I need to both shout and wave my arms so he sees me, but he has no trouble seeing his toys or food.

      Less than a year later he developed a skin problem that led to massive amounts of scratching, and hair thinning to the point of actual loss in places. He also smelt bad, really bad. It was distressing as he always had the most beautiful coat; the vet spent months trying to find something to fix the problem, and I filled him with versions of fish oil. In the end he did a selection of lab tests; the root of the problem was a grass allergy, his resulting scratching had let an unusual bacterium into the skin. The appropriate antibiotic got rid of the bacterial infection, but we needed to control the allergy lest the problem recur – we live in the country, surrounded by pastureland, and also have a large garden. Avoiding grass was not an option. He suggested Atopica, and my dog has been on it ever since (also a particular brand of fish oil which did wonders in restoring his coat once the underlying problem had been fixed). He’s in good condition for his age; he developed laryngeal paralysis this spring, but at present it’s causing no problems.

      Without the Atopica I think we would have lost him years ago, he was quite visibly distressed by the state he was in. Now he’s happy and healthy, with only some slowing down for his age, and we feel reasonably confident that we will have his company for a little while yet. While obviously it would be better to achieve this happy outcome without resorting to such strong drugs, in some cases there are currently no other options that work. Keeping dogs permanently on steroids causes problems, too, and doesn’t address the underlying problem.

      • Pat

        After reading all the posts about food allergies and drugs I’m wondering if anyone feeds a natural raw diet? Most skin conditions are caused by commercial foods. My dogs are happy and healthy on raw.

        • Kerstan A.


          A proper species-appropriate RAW diet is absolutely CRUCIAL in the maintenance and overall outcome of your pets health and longevity.

          Don’t forget that vaccines can and do contribute to chronic itching, biting, allergies, etc.

          Glad to know your dogs are happy and healthy, Pat! :-)

  29. Andrea


    I have been looking at every web site available trying to get some clear answers on Atopica and cancer.

    I have used Atopica for years now. All my dogs have/had severe allergies to the point of bleeding, re curring infections from them biting/scratching themselves raw. All are/were under the care of very competent Dermatologists. We tried everything available and nothing worked until we began using Atopica. We’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a Homeopathic Vet, Accupuncturist, Regular Vet and Specialists. Before using Atopica our dogs had no quality of life and my husband and I agreed that quality of life is better than them and us being miserable.

    BUT ……….

    I am now going through the pain of losing Lili my little Scottish Terrier to Hemangiosarcoma at 7 years old.
    We lost Riley at 7 years old to Oral Melanoma and Katie at 9 to Digital Melanoma, three months apart.
    All were taking Atopica for many years. However every time we tried to taper off the flare ups got worse and worse and took longer and longer to control again.
    I am aware that cancer is prevalent in Scotties but I am convinced that Atopica is the cause of these cancers. Being an immune suppressent, it does not pick and choose which cells to suppress, it suppresses all of them.

    So to those of you who question it’s use , in my mind, you are between a rock and a hard place.
    If the allergies are mild and can be controled with other meds and antigens I would never use Atopica but when NOTHING else works you don’t have any choice.
    Now the ironic thing is our Vet says the best way for Lili to fight this is to boost her immune system.
    I immediately went out and bought a bunch of K-9 Immunity and other stuff only to come to my senses and realize that that was a huge oxy moron ! Oh well, I guess I can give it to Stu and hope it it helps him in the future.

  30. Carol

    Westie – 9 years young – Atopica 50 mg capsule, every other day. Has been on Atopica for FIVE years. Dosing is as needed and we adjust depending on the dog’s level of allergy. Sometimes he needs only 1 pill every 5 days.

    We tried a zillion things before considering Atopica . . . this dog was balding and RAW BLEEDING skin on all four paws, lower legs and much of his skin. I would have rather had him euthanized than to continue on with the horrible allergies. Yes, prednisone worked – that’s not a good choice for long term care. After trying MANY alternatives, we very gradually introduced him to Atopica. My derm vet started with drops and worked our way up gradually to a therapeutic dose. She eliminated the possibility of yeast, fungus, flee bites and other conditions before we proceeded with Atopica. It was determined that he is allergic to grass.

    After starting Atopica, we did have some problems with blood in the stool and urgent poops (voiding in the house if he couldn’t get outside fast enough) . . . but that was cured by eliminating ALL wheat in his diet. It was actually amazing that this side effect instantly disappeared.

    I did contact the nearest (one and a half hour drive) homeopathic veterinarian. I talked at length a couple times on the phone. I made an appointment for an initial consult (2 month wait) and asked what treatment options they might employ. The answers was: buying THEIR dog food. and going back and forth (1.5 hour drive) for regular massage. I told them that I make our dog food and would be happy and willing to adjust or totally change the ingredients – but was informed that I would not be capable of balancing the food and should buy it from them. (1.5 hours away) There was NOTHING in our conversations that reassured me that going to the homeopathic vet was going to be beneficial. I was informed, however, that the initial consult would be $500. I’m not fee shy – but I really do like to know what I’m paying for.

    I don’t like the scare tactics of the above article. I’m not even sure what, exactly they are trying to say. And if half of ALL dogs die from cancer as indicated by the doctor in one of the comments, then how can the users of Atopica blame this med for their dx after a short time on Atopica????? Don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t trust pharma’s either . . . I am forced to make a best judgment . . . but my dog is living a happy, healthy, life because Atopica has worked well for him. Just thought I’d share my experience here. Again . . . this dog was so bad he’d better off euthanized than to go without a good treatment option.

    • Bonnie

      I agree with all the Atopica supporters. My dog has many environmental allergies. It took awhile to get him tested and started on allergy injections. That helped but did not fully control his flare ups. Then we had prednisone but a new veterinarian who replaced my old one advised it was toxic for long term use. He warned that Atopica also had side effects. My dog sees him every few months. He has been on Atopica for months and didn’t have a breakout until after I switched to once every four days. I will go back to every three days now. He gets his shots once every 3 weeks. I am aware there are risks for every medication. I refuse to let him not go outside when he loves the outdoors. I also refuse to let him break out in hives and scratch himself to the point of bleeding. Holistic crap does not work on severe allergies. Even if his lifespan is somewhat decreased I will know that I gave him a higher quality of life. If he ends up getting something terminal that is not easily fixed I will gently have him put down. I have three dogs and he is the most affectionate and mellow one. He developed allergies at one years of age. He is now almost 8. Unless of until there is a sufficient alternative he is staying on the medication!

      • anne

        I agree. I have just been advised to start my dog on ATOPICA after all else has failed. My 7 yr old labrador has no fur, infected wounds, and scratches, bites, nibbles herself continuously, making her quality of life dreadful. Her symptoms were initially managed with steroids but she now has horrendous side effects from those. She has gone from being a shiny happy vibrant dog to a scabby miserable dog who looks neglected. We have tried absolutely everything, and if ATOPICA does in the end work I will be elated, and keep her on it. If her life expectancy is reduced, then at least she will have had a decent quality of life, instead of the misery and pain she has been through already. I have been informed that the side effects are different in dogs than humans anyway. And surely a holistic approach is looking at the whole being, including emotional well being, and if my dog is emotionally happy and enjoying her life without this dreadful suffering then we are willing to take the risk. Until you have experience of a dog with a severe allergy (in our dogs case dust-which is impossible to eradicate) you cannot warn against such drugs. If a human relative was taking ATOPICA following transplant I’m sure any holistic relative of theirs would not advise them to stop taking it!!

        • Dogs Naturally Magazine

          Anne, isn’t that why you put her on steroids? To make her life better? And what was the result – her symptoms were initially managed but then she became sicker. You’ve just summarized what’s innately wrong with conventional medicine. Drugs like atopica will make you dog look and feel better in the short term – but in the long run, those toxins are going to rear their ugly head somehow and either manifest as a worsening of symptoms, meaning she will need greater amounts of medication (that’s the best you can hope for), or drive those toxins out of the skin and into her internal organs where she may develop cancer, liver disease, heart disease or kidney failure.
          I have a dog with severe allergies and she has never been an atopica and never will be. She isn’t cured, but she is managed with homeopathy and NAET and looks and feels much better – without dangerous drugs and side effects. You feel like you need this last resort because you have exhausted all the other options that conventional medicine has to offer, and seen them all fail or sicken her. I don’t know what makes you believe atopica will be different in the long run, but I truly hope you’re not about to learn an expensive lesson in the limitations of conventional medicine. You believe that those who advocate holistic medicine all have healthy dogs – but the truth is, we’ve all been where you are now. Some of us have seen the light in time to save our dogs while others have lost our dogs and vowed to find a better way. Your path is your own to follow and you’ll do whatever you can with whatever tools you have today. Tomorrow, you might see things differently, as you learn and evolve, like we all do. Best of luck with your dog and your decision.

          • Paul Archer

            I have read through the posts above. I have 3 year old beagle who has Is afflicted like many others here. Have tried the shampoos, and holistic food. At great cost due to them all being imports to the country where I live.

            None of them worked. Steroids were the only thing that seemed to help. Because of the side effects associated with long term use we have switched him over to Atopica.

            I can’t comment on the effectiveness yet as it’s only day 2.

            I would like to comment on the response to Anne’s post above. The way you write your Email comes across as if you are on a crusade against the Atopica pill. When asked about examples of holistic methods that have helped, you gave a stock standard response of every case is unique. You might as well just say, “have blind faith in the healer”.

            I’m fully expecting you to give a vague, political response to this post (if at all) however, please restore some credibility by detailing the symptoms of your dog and what you have done through your holistic/homeopathic methods that have helped, and over what timescale.

      • Carol

        My miniature pinscher has taken Atopica for 7 years. He needs it daily but I can skip a day here and there. He was diagnosed with eonsynophilic stomatitis granuloma, which is very rare in dogs, that caused raw painful areas in his mouth and throat. Prednisone worked but as soon as it was stopped, the problem would return. A veterinarian specializing in dermatology prescribed Atopica starting daily with the hopes of maybe slowly reducing it to once or twice a week. Everytime I have tried to cut it back, the symptoms return. He will be 13 years old next month and has no adverse effects from the Atopica. It is very expensive but keeps him comfortable and able to eat. He will take it the rest of his life.

  31. Christian L (UK)

    Draw your own conclusions; my 7 year old black lab has been on Atopica for about 5 years now and it certainly seems to be holding her severe allergies at bay, good news, sort of. she has also just been diagnosed with a facial tumour which is inoperable and highly rare. so rare that two of the vets who have seen her have never seem it before in their combined 45 years of practice and the highly qualified surgeon has only seen them “once or twice”. without the Atopica she scratches till she bleeds – hobsons choice me thinks!

  32. Jen

    Hoping to shes some positive loght on Atopica for those who are thinking of using it.
    I have a 4yr old Basenji female who has horrible seasonal allergies and an over active anal gland due to allergies.
    We started with Benedryl, that wasnt enough. We tried prednisone which worked but she gained a ton of weight and my vet didn t want to keep her on it because of side effects.
    He then switched us to Atopica PLUS allergy injections. We did a blood test to find out exactly what she is allergic to.
    From there they create a serum to inject into that is made up of what she is allergic to. We follow an injection schedule that decreses over time.
    Along with the Atopica which will decrease over time as her body build immunity to her allergies.
    On bad days still have to give her prednisone.
    There were a couple of things my vet warned me about with Atopica.
    The main one to avoid was upset stomach. He warned me to never give it to her in the morning on an empty stomach, and either one hour before eating at night or 2 hours after any meals.
    When I did not follow this rule she puked or had diarreahea. When i follow these rules she doesn’t.
    My Vet DID warn me about the long term and short term effects. and also said that if she was closer to 6 he probably would not follow this for an elderly dog.
    The side effects from ATopica greatly out weighed the side effects from ALL the other drugs and out weighed her pain and uncomfortableness.
    So this is the second year we are doing this allergy regiment and a HUGE differnce is seen from the first year. Her allergies are definitely starting to get better (or less severe).

  33. Dee W.

    I have a terrier with supposed inhalant allergies. His skin would flare up and he itched like mad, eventually until he went bald in places. I didn’t want him to have to go on steroids because of their known bad side effects so we tried so many things…. OTC antihistamines of various types, various holistic supplements, shampoos, waiting until winter in case it was seasonal..Nothing worked. Finally I decided that him living a comfortable life on steroids was better than a miserable drug-free life.
    However, instead of steroids the vet gave him Atopica and an antihistamine. The results were amazing and fast. He was back to his silly, fun-loving self without having to stop and itch literally every 30 seconds. His skin looks great and he barely itches. It is so good to see him so well after having to endure a horribly uncomfortable life style.
    I do not want my sweet boy to develop medical conditions or die early because of the meds, but I honestly can’t let him live a life of endless itching and red skin.

    • susan

      My thoughts completely! I plan on regular appointments with her vet(one that I trust) to follow up so that if she does develop a condition, we can catch it early.

  34. Kaley

    I have a shih tzu who has had allergies since she was six months old! She was on venecyptyl p for six months and it worked very well for her however she was on the highest dose possible. I was very worried about the long term side effects and that’s when my vet put my girl on atopica. It’s been working great so far she eats way less and doesn’t drink as often. I did notice the first couple times I gave it to her she puked but I was told to put the pills in the freezer, ever since she’s never thrown up:) sometimes you have to realize that quality of life is better then quantity!

  35. Tracee

    We have our 3 year old rescue Boxer on Atopica at a current dose of 50mg bid until his allergic meds kick in. He was allergy tested. We give that med under the tongue rather than shots. His itchy/scratchy insanity started a few days after we got him home from the rescue. He has been on multiple antibiotics, antifungals. Half his hair fell out at one point. He is on special food. The Atopica helped noticeably for awhile then the dose had to go up. Can’t wean him down
    Yet. I just want to be able to pet him so he doesn’t bristle. However, this does greatly concern me. We lost our previous (love of our lives) Just in Jan. He had Cushings Disease which was very late in getting diagnosed due to our inept vet. He had seasonal allergies and was given cortisone injections. I fear that those injections are what pushed him into Cushings. My current vet is against cortisone for that reason. So, then I wonder about the Atopica causing a impaired immune system. ? Def need to ask more question and what labs need to be done to make sure organs are okay..

  36. kirsten zielinski

    my dog was on it for 2 days..maybe 3.. in that time he vomited so hard he was vomiting up blood and had diarrhea so bad he was pooping blood. that was in 3 days.. i feed raw but it isn’t the food it is environmental allergies.. i am hoping that someday they find something he can take to stop the scratching but at 12 yrs old i am pretty sure he will be dead before that happens..

  37. christi

    My English bulldog has allergies and itches like crazy and is yeasty. He’s so miserable that he can barely walk on his feet. He has been on prednisone, ketoconazole and cephalexin too many times to count. The vet just prescribed Atopica and he has been vomiting, not eating and not feeling well. I stopped giving it to him today. Soon as he gets off of the meds he is miserable with allergies again. We have tried the special dog food and it didn’t help.

    • Mary

      Read up on http://www.herbsmithinc.com/Home I have found relief with my westie going with Herbs and cooling foods.

      • Donna

        Hi Mary, I also have a Westie and she has skin lesions and was so very itchy. My vet put her on Atopica 3 weeks ago, and she has had a lot of relief. I saw your suggestion about Herbsmith and went to the website. I spoke to my vet, who is looking into ordering the products as I am very interested in homeopathic remedies. I will hopefully start her on those products soon. I will not continue with the Atopica after reading all the side affects long term. Thank you so much for your suggestion.

      • Kellie

        I also have a Westie who is suffering terribly with his feet. If he doesn’t get on Prednasone quickly when he flares up, he also gets skin lesions on his belly and legs. We’ve done two food trials with no relief at all. He’s at the vet with my husband as I’m typing this and I’m actually hoping she prescribes Atopica this time so he can stop suffering. I will, however, check into the Herbsmith you mentioned and see what she thinks about that as well. I don’t want to put him on anything that will shorten his lifespan or make him ill in the future…but I also don’t want him to continue to suffer with bloody, swollen feet that he can’t walk on.

    • Michelle

      We have done the food allergy tests and our dermatologist vet has our pug on Atopica and Fluconazale for yeast infections. She was scratching herself raw and is already showing great improvement after only 3 weeks, She has us giving the capsule FROZEN. Since doing this, she has had no tummy upset at all.

  38. Dove

    I have a 3 year old rescued German Shepherd that came to us with BAD anal fistulas. The 100mg of Atopica seems to have shrunken them and prevented the odor/discharge and she has stopped constantly licking them.She has a total new lease on life. But like others, I am now concerned that I might be putting her at risk for worse things. I looked through all the postings here, and my question is what homeopathic solution is there for severe anal fistulas? I am totally willing to give it a try. Thanks!

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Because this is a chronic condition, a consult with a homeopathic vet would be best.

      • mayra

        my dashound(3 years old) is in atopica, 5omg since january 2013 for his skim problems. her skin look well but since i ve been reading the posting about atopica i’m convern.
        i live in san juan, puerto rico is there a holistic veterinarian in my town?

      • Scott

        Homeopathic? Seriously? Diluting an ingredient down to effectively nothing is supposed to somehow cure something? Natural is one thing, homeopathic is the worst kind of pseudoscience. Shame on you.

        • Dogs Naturally Magazine

          Hi Scott
          Did you know that two thirds of the drugs that are currently available on the market have no known mode of action or are ineffective? Now that’s pseudoscience.

          • Scott

            Evidence? Journal citations, please?

          • Scott

            And that’s a nifty piece of mis-direction there, too. You put a nonsense claim out there, thinking you’re putting ME on the defensive when you neatly side-steped my original post. Homeopathy is pure nonsense – there is no peer-reviewed evidence for its efficacy. Common sense tells us that diluting something to the point of there being nearly no trace of it cannot possibly do anything. People have demonstrated this time and again by drinking huge amounts of homeopathic “drugs” to show that not only do they not help, they don’t harm – because they’re essentially water.


          • Scott

            No reply? Please provide evidence for your claims.

      • abby

        I used cyclosporine in pill form for my german shepherd with anal fistulars. Worked to help reduce them however when they came back we changed his diet on request from the vet to a raw diet and I can say they never returned.

  39. Kim Conner

    My Maltese who is 10 yrs has suffered from skin allergy & chronic ear infections for last couple years. After many attempts with steroids & antibiotics, she developed diabetes 6 months ago. With diabetes she cannot be given steroids and has been so miserable. Tried hydroxyzine and hyperallergenic diet to give relief and 10 days ago was prescribed Atopica. She seemed to have relief after just a few days on Atopia & antibiotic and was acting like a puppy again. This past weekend I noticed blood in her urine (quite a bit) and frequent trips to pee pad or outside, then next day seemed like she is not urinating or drinking normally. I am debating whether there is truly anything out there to help my Maltese. What to do, keep giving her Atopica & see what happens?? She does seem to have relief from allergies but from what i have been reading, i think this could be poisoning her!

  40. Dr. Khalsa

    It’s great that Remy is feeling better and he certainly deserves that.

    As far as Atopica, it has hardly been used long enough, although now they are dispensing it like aspirin once was ( so it is now being used frequently), to know what the long term side effects will be in dogs. It works so very well because it does suppress the immune system so much. Common sense tells us that with one in two dogs getting cancer nowadays an immune system is a very important thing.

    The real problem is all the allergies and autoimmune disease that we are seeing in dogs nowadays. Thirty years ago it was a rare thing. Now it is an epidemic. We have to get to the root of this and begin to raise our pups in a way that avoids confusing and improperly programming their immune systems. I think I have to write an article on that.

  41. Caroleigh

    Hi – just wanted to check in with an update on Remy (from a few comments up). He has been taking Atopica 25 mg. 1X / day for app. 6 weeks. He had a recheck appt. with the vet. dermatology specialist just a few days ago (our 2nd visit). Remy appears to be doing very well on this medicine. He has shown significant improvement, most especially in the swelling and tenderness / soreness in his paws, which he has had continuously since first showing symptoms of SLO. His paw-puffiness is now completely gone; his paws look and feel normal. Now I can see just how carefully Remy had been moving, trying to protect his feet from being bumped – because now he is walking normally and seems noticeably happier. He has completely stopped taking both the methylprednisalone and the pentoxifylline. Assuming he continues to stabilize and remains symptom-free, he will be off the azathioprine, as well, within a month. Then he’ll be on only Atopica and his high-dose EFA supplement, and the dr. would like to reduce the dose / frequency of Atopica. It will be a while longer before we can tell if his nails are growing normally, but he’s had no splitting or fracturing and the new growth looks good so far. This is all a big improvement.

    I spoke with the dermatologist about the things I’ve been reading that worry me about this drug. He is considered the leading specialist, and definitely the vet with the most experience using Atopica, in our area. He told me that he has not seen long-term negative effects from the use of cyclosporine in dogs. For instance, he said that dogs have not shown the same negative effects as some humans have – and the expectation that they might has led to new learning about canine renal and liver function and how it differs from a human’s. He said the long-term negative effects of steroids and azathioprine are more worrisome to him than Atopica, and he really wants to get Remy off of them.
    He also said that it appears to be the case that dogs with lupus-type auto-immune diseases sometimes go into remission after treatment with Atopica and can stop it completely, only using it after that on an as-needed basis. Much like Jim described above, our goal is to only use it if / when Remy has a flare-up.

    I am still feeling cautious about this drug, and I do not take its use lightly, but it is the first thing that has really helped Remy. And, it has allowed him to stop taking other drugs that I know are harmful to him in the long-term. Remy’s problem is not allergies and itchy skin, but an auto-immune disease – some variant of SLO with vasculitis, or possibly an expression of lupus. Is there an effective holistic treatment for auto-immune illness in dogs? Our attempts to find one have not been successful.

  42. Mike

    Hi..our 8 3/4 yr old Boston Terrier was put on Atopica (50mg) during the second week of November 2012. After returning from a 3 week holiday visit with family…we discovered a very large lump located where the submanidbular lymph node would be (It grew from nothing apparent to a very large lump in 3 weeks, but has since seemed to remain fairly stable in size over the last month)..so we immediately took her to our vet. an aspirate was done…but the results were inconclusive. Our vet put her on anti-inflammatory meds for 10 days…but there was no difference in size. Even though I have definitely shared my concern that our dog potentially developed lymphoma…the vet seems to dismiss the idea..and keeps offering a salivary gland problem of some sort. He absolutely did not inform us about the increased risk of cancer due to Atopica being an immunosuppresent .;.and it is very troubling to me that she has developed something that looks like many of the enlarged submanidbular lymph node examples that I can find approximately 2 months from starting Atopica.

    why would our vet prescribe Atopica without disclosing the potential short and long-term effects? Why would he not have a sense of urgency? He did refer us to a specialist…but that is it. The aspirate was the only test..no bloodwork…no samples of any kind. What should we do? If it is indeed diagnosed as cancer, would stopping the atopica allow the body to fight it off or would it be too late? what would our recourse be if it was cancer? Two months is NOT what I think of as a potential “long-term” effect.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      You might consider stopping the Atopica and finding a classical homeopathic vet to treat not only the allergies but any potential side effects from the Atopica. You should also ask for bloodworm to help ease your mind.

      • Harmony

        If you are homeopathic veterinarians you should know you should not make medical recommendations (“You might consider stopping the Atopica and finding a classical homeopathic vet”) without an examination of the patient.

  43. My 4 yr. old dog was put on Atopica for cats .05mg. Liquid. She has been having urinary tract infections and had a bladder stone removed. One month later, she may be making crystals again. Is this Atopica bad and why would a Vet give a dog cat Atopica. Please help!

  44. Jim

    My dog has periods where his feet become so sore he can hardly walk, and his nose starts to be eaten away. We tried everything and were then recommended Atopica. Within a few days there was a huge improvement, and within two weeks we were able to take him off it. We only now use it in 2 week periods when his immune deficiency gets really bad. We have experienced NO side effects and he is very happy. All medicines carry some risk and there are probably many thousands of cases where this drug has been used successfully without a problem. This report is scaremongering. Another thing, it always amazes me how homeopathic remedies are quickly replaced with conventional medicines when it comes to life or death situations.

    • Kura

      Thank you Jim. I was thinking the same thing. It has been so nice to watch my baby boy, Jack finally relax and not chew himself all day and night now that his is on Atopica. He is still his crazy self even in his ‘advanced’ age.

  45. Caroleigh

    My 5 year-old, 10 lb. poodle has SLO, an auto-immune disease, and has had one very painful episode of vasculitis inside his ears. We have tried various treatments over 3.5 years. He could not tolerate the “standard” regimen for SLO, Doxycycline / Niacinamide; we’ve seen the best results from alternating medrol & azathioprine, with pentoxyfillene and high-dose EFAs. We have tried several different combinations and dosages of these meds – he was pretty stable (though still w/ abnormal nail growth and sore paws)for app. 1 year but then 6 weeks ago lost about 5 nails. My vet referred him to a derm. specialist who really wants to get him off the steroids and has started him on Atopica. He told me it was very safe and effective and a much better option than perpetual steroids. I hate having Remy on so many meds, but every time we have tried to reduce them or eliminate one, he has regressed. I took him to a homeopathic / holistic vet for a year. We tried all her recommendations with no success, which was very discouraging. Remy is now taking 25 mg. of Atopica daily while weaning off the pred and azathioprine. The derm vet’s plan is for him to stop those completely, remain stable for a time on daily Atopica, pentox, and EFAS, then reduce the Atopica and pentox (w/goal to eventually eliminate pentox)to as low a dose / frequency as possible. Remy seems to be tolerating the Atopica well (no noticable side effects 3 weeks in), but after reading this article, I am very alarmed. This drug sounds awful and dangerous! But are steroids worse? What other options does Remy have? Thank you -

    • Caroleigh

      Remy is on a high-quality, gluten-free diet. He has had no vaccines since his 1 yr. puppy booster shots.

  46. Helen M

    Just had a 5 lb yorkie put on one a day and then 2 Atopica for the time being. Dematologist Vet Clinic, Maitland , Fl thought Cushings but no it is not tests prove. Only thing that will get bad of the horrible rash is steroids. Now, we have to see how the atopica does. She is 7 years old and had trouble for one year and half. Antibiotics have quits working. Use to they did, now they keep her from breaking out only 2 weeks when she goes off the antibiotics. Simplicef 100mg 1/4 tablet a day has never even stopped her completely at all and on for a month under the vet. So they said Atopica it has to be now. Then I read this. We are going to see, my husband and I, what happens after 5 weeks. If not good, then maybe steriods, prednisone it will be and that is even bad. I have heard bad things about it. So which is the better? Neither it looks like? I do not want to burn up her bladder. She has had a rough time. She is on Solid Gold Holistigue for 2 months, no other foods, did not do any good at all. She went the Blue Lamb route, the Natural and then to Solid Gold. All that is left is a prescription solid dry dog food at the vets in a large bag about $65 for her. I wonder if anyone has heard of it. I had told the vet we could not just keep going from one to other that we should give Solid Gold Holtistigue a change. Of course, she has to have a 1/4 spoon to get pills down peanut butter but he said no milk product such as cheese at all so we could not get it down her and forget a syringe. She fights liquid antibiotics. We are at our wits end

  47. David


    I have a 10 lb male yorkie that had a liver biopsy come back yesterday & it showed that he has chronic hepatitis. My Vet prescribed today for starters, prednisone & one 25mg capsule a day of Atopica. I’ve yet to read anywhere where this is used to treat liver disease. Is this a bad thing for him to take for liver disease or does my Vet know a secret with this medication that no one else really knows or uses?


    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Do you have a holistic vet in your area? You might want to run, not walk for that second opinion before giving those pharmaceuticals.

  48. Ina

    Just read this and I’m freaking out. My dog has been on atopica for 17 days. I am stopping now. Is 17 days enough to cause such serious damage???? I haven’t noticed any side effects so far, but I am not risking anything anymore! Please reply ASAP.

  49. Bob

    You say that “one out of two dogs will develop cancer” Is that dogs that take atopica or is that just a generalized statement?

    My yellow lab died in April at 12 from pancreatic cancer after being on atopica for about 2 years. It was the only thing that worked for her allergies. Our vet did regular blood work to keep an eye on any side effects but I’m just curious if this drug is what caused the cancer or if at 12 pancreatic cancer is not uncommon for a lab to get.

    I can’t help but think that this drug, THAT IS SUPER EXPENSIVE and works great for allergies may have had something to do with her getting cancer.

    I will have to research this NAET stuff you are talking about as well as look at the youtube stuff you mention.

  50. des gannaway

    My 3 yr old Shepherd/Black Lab mix has perianal fistulas and rectal polyps. Surgery is not an option due to diseased tissue. Vet put him on Atopica and metronidazole 4 days ago. He does not seem to be doing better. He is agitated and in pain. I’m concerned the drugs may be doing more harm than good. What about Chinese herbs? How do I find an alternative treatment? Please help.

  51. Lucinda westover

    Did you get my post

  52. Lucinda westover

    Thank you thank you thank you. My dog “Bear” 6 came to me from a foster home from Colorado Beagle Rescue in July advertised as an atopic dog. He’d been abandoned in a back yard with another dig for over a month–no food no water had to fight for existence. Then thrown into an environment w 3 dogs 2 cats a gerbil and god knows what else for 2 years. Fought with all back on fostering list I adopted and have found no signs of anything other than initial stress causing everything you could imagine except doggy dermatitis. Of course no ones going to say anything cuz the vet is making money CBR doesn’t want to admit anything. Bear was suffering from stress and stress alone. I started obedience and guess what. No stress. . I too shuddered every time I dosed him so have stopped. Zero side effects except lack of fear when I’d lean down to pet. Needed your encouragement. Very very grateful to you.

  53. Anne

    Hi from Finland..!
    our dog is also eaten in atopic about 6 months, and now has begun to fear the dark, in the urine was blood, and is tired and depressed .. but inside the home is a happy dog. He is a Bernese mountain dog, almost three years old. A few days ago we finished eating the product (atopic) still do not get jogging (on the back of the soreness ..) because he does not want or dare to move outdoors as before, so he goes the back yard, “jogging”. urine test, there was nothing alarming … = (

  54. Kristy

    I am so upset as well. I have had my dog on Atopica for maybe close to 5 years and all of a sudden they start telling me they are going to monitor his blood every 6 months-to a year to make sure he is okay on the drug (Which I am fine with , I want to make sure he is ok) But I started looking up Atopica online wondering why they start doing this and found articles like this one and many more saying there can be serious side effects. I am really worried as well. My vet never told me about anything like this. I haven’t researched Atopica in a long time but when he started it and over the years I have been really happy with it and thought it was safe. Now I don’t know what to do?

    He has pretty bad allergies and takes one pill every second day (and its been like that for years) it usually works but lately it hasn’t been working and I dont know if his body is immune to it now?? He is actually on a very short-term dose of Prednisone to get him under control but i have stopped the Atopica the past few days since it’s not working anyways for some reason. (Although in the past years it has worked amazingly)

    My dog has also had kidney/bladder infections in the past with blood in his urine different times in the past with struvite crystals, I dont know if Atopica is what caused it or not??They could not give me an answer and it has happened a few times. And now he has some “skin tag” wart like things on his body which the vet said was from Atopica (which is another reason I started researching the drug again)

    Is it safe to wein him off Atopica and see how he does?? I don’t want him on steroids either that have bad side effects. Maybe try a food change? more baths?

    Any suggestions?

  55. tony

    Our Mini dauchshund has been on atopica, 25mg per day, for approx 4 years. He has recently had what the vet told us was a urine infection as there was blood traces in it. This has not cleared up with antibiotics and after further tests ( x-ray, ultrasound, blood and urine samples) we have been told that they can find nothing other than broken red blood cells in his urine that would have come from his kidneys. Despite being told to ‘keep an eye on him’ we are concerned that after looking up atopica on the net, this could have caused kidney damage and are now wondering what to do. Do we stop the atopica immediately or cut the dosage down? Is there anything that can be done to repair any damage to kidneys? We are losing faith with some of the ‘expert vets’ we see and just want our dog to be happy and free of any pain.

  56. Debra Gittleman

    Thank you for taking the time to explain this drugs potential problems. I would like to request a copy of your newsletter.

    • Ana ortins


      Since I wrote, my dog got worse. In fact, she has developed an enlarged lobe of the liver and we think she had a stroke. I almost lost her. She had trouble standing and as had diarrhea and vomiting. I have removed her from atopic a and antibiotics. She also no longer eats allergy dog food called Zd. If your dog s allergic to chicken, ZD is made with chicken and any kinds of dog food have chicken meal and or chicken by products. Despite making Zd more digestible, an allergy to chicken is still there, which took me two years and continued ear infections to realize. Now I give her homemade beef eals with well cooked carrots, broccoli and some rice. Make a big batch ahead. No more scabs on her skin for the last six weeks. Now I hope she continues to heal from her store like event. Lesson learned.

  57. Ana ortins

    I am so upset! Didn’t know about the atopic a my dog took the capsules for about one month, seemed to help . she has been off the pills for one month. but here it is a month later and her back legs give out on her , seems confused at times and her appetite isn’t great. She seems to have lost her strength. Is this reversible? It can’t be a sudden case of hip dyplasia.

  58. Deirdre

    My dog was on Atopica for a little over a year. Recently we ran out and I hadn’t had a chance to get the refill. Then the vomiting started and the constant urination. It didn’t dawn on me that she had been drinking so much more over the last year. Now she can’t control her bladder. She is having accidents on my bed and all over the house. Today we have an appointment at the vet and I feel I know definitively what is going on with her. Does anyone know if she can she be helped or is she deteriorating and we can help her. I don’t want to loose her. I think her kidney are failing.

  59. IRENE

    My german shepherd bitch is allergic to dust mite ,scots pine and beech tree, she was skin tested at 1year old ,at that time it was only dustmite,she was on Atopica for a short time until her vaccine which came from holland took effect,she only needed her vaccine for about 5years then she started scratching again her skin was a mess on atopica again ,she had been on for over a 1year and still scratching suggested to vet that she must be allergic to something else can the skin specialist please see her again he said that no matter what she was allergic to Atopica should damp it down, but he did get her to skin vet again ,he discovered that she was a bit less allergic to 1 dustmite but was now allergic to scots pine and beech this was added to her vaccine last dec and her skin is improving so much i have now got her off atopica, however she has warts, thick skin that looks like an elephants and verruca like lesions as well, she also had a lump removed from the inside of her thigh which was benign,it is only through reading this site that all this can be caused by Atopica hthe thickened skin is peeling off and warts and verrucae are also recedeing she will never ever be on this drug again, for a dog who has been on it for a good few years i am lucky still to have her

    • Dina

      Can you please tell me what thE vaccine From Holland is called and how to get it? Many thanks, Dina

      • I am sorry I did not see this request for information until now the vaccine is produced in Holland it is requested by the skin vet who tests to find out what your dog reacts to not all dogs have a good result on it in which case you stop it is called Artuvetrin At the moment my gsd bitch who was on Atopica for a number of years as I described in October post, looks wonderful her coat and skin is lovely the warts have disappeared however she has kidney damage so while I can understand how it feels to see your dog scratch and chew itself to bits and think Atopica is the answer there are side effects from it which are not being made clear about this drug each and everyone of us wants what is best for our dogs to say it is scaremongering is not true the damage it can do is not being explained to dog owners.This post is probably too late to be of use to Dina but it may help others. I live in Scotland

  60. Theresa

    Omg, my lovely black gad has just been prescribed atopica and she has been acting weird since taking them. My vet said they would be the best medication to help her anal infection, please advise

  61. sandy weinstein

    i feed my dogs a combo of dry and raw. i have raw rabbit and raw venison in my freezer. however, the baby, 2yrs old, will not eat raw, unless it is freeze dried raw….she wont even eat her kibble if raw meat has touched it…..so spoiled….

  62. Rachel Ellis

    Dear Doc, My friend has a dog that was diagnosed with LP Rhinitis and put on ATOPICA for life……any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Rach

  63. sarah s

    I live in Malaysia, and our vet practices holistic medicine, at least that’s what his card says. My 5 year old pug has had puppy mange, a host of skin problems that go away for awhile and then come back with a vengeance, and recently stones in her bladder. I assumed they could be flushed out, but the vet said surgery was the way to go, when he showed me the stones, it was more like sediment, and i believe with the right meds she could have past them out without pain in time. she’s been on steroids so many times i cant keep count. I’ve tried raw food, cooking organic food, neem, everything out there, sometimes there’s improvement but it never lasts. After her bladder surgery, they put her on steroids and antibiotics , and her skin has flared up so badly it weepy, bloody and a sight for sore eyes. the vet says its a food allergy and she on prescription diet now…what should i do?? Any help would be so appreciated:)

  64. Diane SMith

    My dog has been on Atopica for almost a year now. We lowered the dose over the winter, but has been back to 100 mg a day. It has helped her, but would like something that would be better for her than this. Before atopica she hardly had any hair on her back and it is now nice & thick. She still itches a little but not much. I also use Malaket shampoo and sprays on her and brush her alot. What would be good for her to get off the atopica? and would work for her.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Not to sound like a broken record, but you should consult with a Homeopathic vet, they will do phone consults.

  65. Verity Thomas

    My cat, a domestic short hair brown tabby was prescribed Atopica b/c the vet things he has Inflammatory Bowl Disease! My cat never ever had diarrhea prior to clavamox two months ago! It lasted for 3 weeks! It went away for a month after I started feeding him a home cooked diet of white rice and boiled chicken and a small amount of plain vanilla low-fat yogurt. Then it came back this month, lasting for 10 days and now a second time but this time the vet prescribed atopica and I inquired about purina forti-flora b/c I was convinced the cat’s system was out of whack from the antibiotic. I haven’t done any allergy tests, but all the other tests and blood work came back normal. NOw he wants me to get an endoscopy b/c prior to the diarrhea my cat tends to vomit several times a week. I wonder if the cat has a food allergy and that is why he vomits and the diarrhea was a result of an imbalanced bacteria in the intestines. Should I stop taking atopica? The cat has been on it for 4 or 5 days now and the diarrhea went away. I’m scheduled to see an internal medicine vet in two weeks for a second opinion and other treatment options. What should i do?

  66. Scott

    Our dog was on atopica for a few months. It did not work and we took her off of it as soon as we found out that ATOPICA IS LIKE CHEMOTHERAPY FOR DOGS. It broke our hearts that we could unknowingly give this to our dog that could harm her. Definately going down natural root now.

  67. Joeen

    I’ve been giving my Cocker Spaniel Atopica since June. He gets these scabs on his skin. I’ve eliminated beef, chicken and cheese from his diet and he still gets them. The Vet suggested Atopica but he was still getting the odd scab. A few weeks ago he had a bad outbreak after knawing on a beef soup bone so he was on antibiotics for 2 weeks. Scabs disappeared, as usual and that’s when I decided to take him off Atopica. I figured if he still can get a bad outbreak clearly this isn’t working. However the last few days of his last pills, I figured we’d finish the box, he started coughing. Now after reading this website I’m really worried. I hope to God I didn’t cause him to get something worse. Could you please tell me what I could do about these scabs.

    • Dogs Naturally Magazine

      Please consider treating this dog homeopathically. There are many good vets who can take good care of your dog without dangerous pharmaceuticals.

    • Scott

      Don’t worry take your Cocker Spaniel to a homeopathic vet they can give you dog something natural to cancel out the side effects of Atopica. He should be fine as he wasn’t on Atopica for that long.

  68. darren

    My lab is on atopica for quite awhile now and I would love an alternative treatment for him, where can I find that previously mentioned news letter.

  69. Nicole

    We had tried everything for our springer spaniel’s itching when the vet suggested atopica. I agreed hoping to bring her relief. She had a full work up the day before she took it and was perfectly healthy minus the itching. Within an hour of taking the medication she began vomitting. At first I wasn’t too concerned as I knew this was a possible side effect. Almost immediately after getting sick she appeared weak, then the diarrhea started followed by wetting herself, panting and a fever. That’s when I saw he lips and tongue had turned white. We got her to the. Et immediately and After two days of fluids she appears to be back to herself. We don’t know aboutong term damage ( she just turned four). After rerunning all of her labs it was found that her liver had been damaged. I shutter to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gotten her to the vet immediately. It’s back to the drawing board to figure out how to control the itching but I would encourage everyone to stay clear of atopica. It’s just not worth the risk

  70. Catherine Williams

    I am so glad to read this information about Atopica. My dog’s vet has been pushing for me to agree to put her on it and have refused. She tells me the side effects of the prednisone (which is working) has really bad long term side effects and she will not refill the RX. I have felt since day one this vet is more in the business of selling products than caring for her patients. This is exactly what I told my husband, but he liked her and she is conveniently located. I am telling him today I would prefer to pay more money and go to a homeopathic vet who is further away than take our dog back to this Vet. Thank you for posting this valuable information.

    • Victoria Cramer

      Go with your gut. Atopica killed my dog. Search until you find a vet that really knows.

  71. Janet

    My dog has been on Atopica since May of this year for an anal fistula. What other choice does she have? She went through a round of Prednison for another auto immune problem in February/March — it was so sad the effects that drug had on her. She is only 5 years old.

  72. Lance

    I truly think ATOPICA is KILLING my dog! I would rather give her baths every other day than watch her throw up and have diarrhea for two days..we told the Vet all this was going on and she said open the capsule and give her half! She is sicker than ever! I feel horrible that we are a part in this horrible treatment! NOT ALL DOGS can handle this drug..mine sure can’t..

    • Victoria Cramer

      Get your dog off ATOPICA! It killed my 10 year old cairn terrier- Lymphoma.

      • Diane

        Our 6-year-old cat died from lymphoma after being on Atopica since last spring. She was sick for only 10 days or so and the vet could not figure out what was wrong with her. An ultrasound found lymphoma and she had to be put down. I’m heartbroken and am convinced that Atopica killed our cat. It’s listed as a rare (2 percent) side effect after long term use on the NIH website.

  73. Deva

    It is not your fault and the EPA is even finding that the Spot On products that we use for ticks and fleas cause cancer of the liver too. Obviously I do not believe in using Atopica. Sometimes liver tumors grow very slow. You can look at my site http://www.doctordeva.com and click shopping links and look at Double Helix Water and you can get information on their site which you will be sent to directly from mine. You can see on my site what I say about it. Used in conjunction with VITAL VITIES from Deserving Pets it has been successful in slowing growth and even eliminating some cancers.

  74. Tracey

    My pug has been on Atopica on an as needs basis for the last year or two. Unfortunately we just learned today that he has an inoperable liver tumor / cancer. I am devastated to learn of the connection.

    • Susan

      My pug was diagnosed with an inoperable mouth tumor while taking Atopica. I would not recommend this drug to anyone!

  75. cherie

    My dog, Cairn Terrier, is also on Atopica. I am trying to get her off of it. She is taking one pill every three weeks now. I have been trying witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, and steriod spray from my vet. Have you found anything else that works?

    • A real curative and easy solution for dogs with allergies is NAET and you can read about it on my site under Eliminating Allergies and under Holistic and then Click NAET. Also my book, Dr. Khalsa’s Natural Dog has a section on allergies and discusses many options. I have found NAET to be the easiest, most pleasant, affordable and most effective treatment for allergies in both dogs and cats. I do this procedure via a phone consult and have treated patients all over the world. See Consulting with Dr. Khalsa and scroll to testimonials below for some examples. If you look at the AHVMA for a vet near you also look for a logo that says that they do NAET. There are not many but there are vets that you may find that do this locally.

      • kathie

        my akita was just diagnosed with sebacious adonitis and the dermatologist has put him on oral atopica as well as vitamin for his coat and ketoconazole. what else could be done? he is losing his fur and is so itchy. only been on it 3 days and was not aware of the dangers.

  76. Coraspartan

    So what do you suggest as an alternative treatment for dogs with severe allergies? My black lab has severe allergies–to dust, grass, and mold. Atopica is the only thing has given him any sort of relief.

    • NAET is the very best treatment for allergies. I have a newsletter and you could e-mail me and request a copy of it. Also make sure your dog does not have malassezia – a yeast….. I am going to have something like 40 youtube videos out soon and there will be a whole series on allergies. Watch for it at the end of the month. It will be on the dogandcatvitamins.com you tube channel

    • Dave W

      I have a 6 year old Golden Doodle who has been on Atopica for 4 years now at 2 pills a day every day. He is 110lbs and takes the highest dosage. He has swollen gums and has a lump on his paw that is not cancerous. I really want to take him off this drug but as soon as he misses a pill or two he gets itchy and gets flare ups. Before the pill he had almost no hair and now he has a healthy fluffy coat. How do I get more information on this NAET treatment? Any help would be great we spend almost $400 a month on these pills and before that around 10,000 or trying to find out what he had which in the end was sebecepus Adenitis.
      Thank you

      • Dave I have a goldendoodle too. I am in western NY and she has Sebecepus Adenitis too. I’ve spent almost the same on her trying to figure out what she has. Currently she is on prednenzone, doxy, and niancinimides. The Vet is recommending a switch to Atopica. Like you said, she is been shedding like crazy and now has a very thin coat. I am encouraged to hear that your doodle has grown hair back, but the swollen gums and lumps makes me scared. What do you think? Thank you.

      • Laurie

        Dave, I have a male pug who has been on Atopica for 8 years at 35mg 4x week. While it has helped to keep his itchiness under control it has never stopped it completely. He is also on ketoconazole 100 mg daily. In April he began rubbing his face incessantly. After seeing the dermatologist for what I thought would be yet another yeast infection it turned out he had a huge amount of gingival hyperplasia which is a side effect of the Atopica. We went to Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital for treatment. They had to not only cut the gums away but removed 19 decayed teeth that has been swallowed up by the gum tissue. This was a traumatic experience for all of us! The tissue is already beginning to come back so we are seeking a second opinion this week and I am determined to remove my boy from this medication. One more issue that I feel was a side effect of Atopica…he has had over 40 mast cell rumors removed in the past 4 years. I do worry about removing him because he does have some relief and if it was an absolute cure I would probably keep him on it for comfort alone but he is still itchy part time. There has to be something else out there…I wish you luck but keep an eye on his gums.


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