Atopica – My Hero

Atopica website

Tierce is getting into a bad way – it took longer this time, but we’re starting to see raw patches where he’s getting past the cone and the shirt.  I know it doesn’t do any good, but I’m still kicking myself for having him given the 3 year rabies shot.  I firmly believe it knocked his immune system all to hell.

From the website –

As with all drugs, side effects may occur. In a field study, the most common side effects were gastrointestinal signs. Gingival hyperpla­sia and papillomas may also occur during the initial dosing phase. ATOPICA is not for use in dogs with a history of malignant neoplasia, or with a demonstrated hypersensitivity to Cyclosporine A.

Gastrointestinal signs are right.  Tierce barfs up that pill at the slightest provocation.  It’s gotten to the point where he gets at least 2 full pills of Apo-Metaclop to counteract it – the normal dosage needed being 1/2 a pill an hour before the Atopica.  We’re hoping that the nausea will abate with regular application of the Atopica.  Especially when the pills cost $4 each ($58 for 15).  Guess what, Tierce.  YOU’RE FUCKING EATING THEM!

First we have to give him the small pills.  That’s easy – it just takes a piece of bread with the pill squished inside.  But the Atopica takes a lot of cheese to slide it down his throat.  Half the time he figures it out and does a tongue roll worthy of a hooker tying a knot in a maraschino cherry to swipe the cheese off the pill so he can spit the pill out on the floor.  We have persevered so far, but it is an uphill battle.  Right now, we’re on Day 5 of pill giving.  It took a week and a half or so last time for the pills to have an effect on him and I just. can’t. wait.

I’ll admit that I feel a bit let down.  I was hoping that the reaction to the rabies vaccine was the only problem he was going to have with allergies, but we could be looking at Atopica for the long term, at least during the summer months.


  1. This comment isn’t about the allergies. It’s about the picture of Tierce instructing dance at the recent SCA training.

    Maybe Tierce would have the aptitude to do dancing with you. It might be sufficiently interesting to him…

    Here is link to “dancing with the dogs info”, otherwise known as canine freestyle.

  2. My vet recently changed the type of heartguard meds they use. They went from the chewy kind to a hard pill that is alleged to taste good. The first time i gave Yoshi the pill, he kinda sucked on it for a while then spit it out. The small piece was put into a bit of cheese and he ate it. this month’s pill, i was taking no chances. I purchased a pill cutter and cut it in half. Then i put each half into a bit of cheese, increasing the cheese to pill ratio. He gobbled it up!

    so maybe.. try a pill cutter?

    • Thanks, Maura

      This is a great idea that I’m thinking about pursuing. Atopica is actually a gel cap with powder, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be divided up into two “servings”. I might try that tomorrow and see if it helps to spread out the effect of the medication. So far, Tierce is keeping things down, but I can’t tell you how eager I am for these pills to kick in and for him to stop needing 3x the dose of antinauseants to keep them in his tummy!

  3. My cat use to rip her fur out by the bushels until I got fed up, did some intensive research, and decided to switch her over to a fully raw diet. No more commercial kibbles!!! A buddy of mine also swears by it with his pooch, and he’s got rid of the hot spots and “fur gnawing.” Check out this website.

    I make all my kitties meals (we affectionately call it “The Goop”.) It’s a bit of work and takes some getting use to, but the benefits out way the vet bills, the medication hassles, not to mention the heartwrench of watching your beloved pet self-mutilate.


    • Unfortunately, this did nothing for Tierce. He was on a raw diet for several months, but the only thing that worked was the Atopica. I wish a raw diet was all he needed!

      Thanks for the tip, though and I do agree that a well-balanced raw diet is an excellent way to feed your pet.

  4. Can Tierce eat peanut butter? I buy the “only ground-up peanuts” type and Pepper adores it. The really great thing is that the peanut butter sticks to the pill and the dog can’t lick it off to spit out the pill later.

    When Pepper has to take pills, I take a glop of peanut butter, put the pill in the middle and let her slurp it down. To make sure it goes down, I let her lick the rest of the peanut butter off my fingers afterwards.

  5. We’re experiencing an allergic reaction like I’ve never seen before on our female shiba. She eats a raw diet and still, she suffers! She just turned two this year, when it started.

    What were the indicators of turning to Atopica? I asked my vet to look into it, we’re scheduling Tsuki for some tests and possible week of steroids to see if it is a true allergic reaction. (if the explanation is in a previous post, I apologize, I couldn’t find it!)


    • Hi, Jen,

      We started Atopica in September 08 and Tierce was feeling much better by October 16. This time it’s taking a lot longer – we started again on the 4th of July and today he’s showing a lot less scratching, but he’s damaged the skin on his legs so much we cannot remove the Elizabethan collar yet. He is still scratching a bit, but it’s not as bad. We will continue the Atopica once a day until the 15th, when he has his next vet appointment.

      My vet is Dr. Chris Forbes of Mill Bay Veterinary Hospital, Mill Bay BC. She recommended Atopica because it is not Prednisone or another steroid which will have serious side effects. She *really* doesn’t like steroids if she can avoid prescribing them for this. So far, the only side effect that we have noted with the Atopica is nausea. That is controlled with a tab of Apo-Metaclop an hour before Tierce gets the Atopica pill. Apparently, what the cyclosporine in the pill does is bond with the chemicals released in the allergy process and renders them incapable of producing the allergic reaction.

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