There's been a lot of excitement over the past several months thanks to a new product we now have available to treat itchy dogs with allergies to things in the environment - a condition known as atopy or atopic dermatitis. This new product is called Cytopoint and it is an antibody that targets a molecule called IL-31 (IL stands for interleukin). IL-31 is a protein that causes many pets with atopy to itch, and so by blocking it, the pet isn't itchy. Because it is so specific to the IL-31 molecule, it doesn't interfere with the rest of the pet's immune system like some of our other treatments do (such as prednisone). And as an antibody, it is degraded or broken down gradually in the body thru protein degradation pathways, as opposed to being metabolized in the liver or kidneys. Thus, the treatment is extremely safe. Most pets will experience relief for approximately 4 weeks, though some may be affected for up to 8 weeks! On occasion a dog will not get much relief from this product as their itch isn't induced by the IL-31 protein - but this is the exception rather than the rule, and even if it wasn't terribly effective for your pet, it isn't detrimental to your pet to try it. If your pet has a secondary yeast or bacterial skin or ear infection, these conditions will need to be addressed for Cytopoint to be effective. If you're interested in learning more about Cytopoint, please visit the manufacturer's website, or give us a call to schedule an appointment for your dog.