Here is my Cytopoint review. My dog was ten years old. Since the age of about two, he was diagnosed with eczema. I initially bought pet insurance when he was a puppy but they denied all my claims related to skin issues because the vet noted a small pimple on his skin on his first check up. This isn’t a picture of my dog but this French Bulldog is so cute!
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Cytopoint Injection for Dogs Review
This is a post about how expensive pets can be! I think I’ve spent at least $10,000 on my dog.
I also wanted to share my experience with the Cytopoint medication and my Cytopoint review, since there seems to be lots of scary information about it on the Internet (like causing deaths, etc.). This Cytopoint review is by no means sponsored or anything but just wanted to share my experience since there are probably a lot of allergy suffering dogs out there!
Warning, you might not want to scroll down if you don’t want to look at really bad dog skin!! Stop reading! I am warning you!
My dog’s eczema is really bad. It’s hard to have a dog with a chronic disease. I worry that other pet owners will judge me for maltreatment of my dog when I’ve actually tried everything under the sun and have spent thousands and thousands of dollars to try and improve his skin. I worry that people will report me to the SPCA for being a bad pet owner!
It all started in the beginning when he started getting itchy. The breeder confirmed that my dog’s sibling was allergic to chicken.
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He’s had good months and bad months, and since 2014 he has basically had bad skin continuously. He scratches so much that sometimes I can’t sleep because I hear him scratching and licking his paws. He goes into another room to scratch oftentimes because he knows I’ll ask him to stop scratching.
I have to vacuum every day because he scratches and there’s a pile of skin flakes on the floor (I know, it’s gross). His skin is thickened on his chest because of the constant scratching and there’s hair missing on his sides and paws because of scratching and licking. He also has a very pungent odor because of his scratching and chronic skin infections. I’ve tried many, many, different things for my dog’s eczema.
I’ve spent thousands, THOUSANDS of dollars for his skin.
What I’ve tried for my Dog’s Eczema
I have tried a number of things for my dog’s eczema.
I took him to a pet dermatologist (yes, there’s such a thing) and he was confirmed to have allergies to dust, pollen, dander, grass, and trees. After paying thousands of dollars I tried an oral immunotherapy (a sort of regimen where you take the allergen and increase the amounts ingested so my dog will be less allergic to the allergen) but it didn’t work.
I took him to a vet specializing in acupuncture. She thought maybe his stress was contributing to his allergies. It didn’t work.
Raw Food “BARF” Diet
Some vets thought it was the food that was causing him to be itchy, so they recommend a raw meat diet. He’s been on raw rabbit, raw ostrich, raw kangaroo, raw beef, raw bison, and even pasteurized pork and sweet potato. With the raw food he lost a lot of weight (it’s basically like the Atkin’s diet for dogs) and became very lean but the itching didn’t stop.
The best diet for him was the pasteurized pork and sweet potato but the supplier stopped distributing the product. His raw dog food was almost $5 a day, so I think at one point he was eating better than me in terms of cost on a daily basis.
Vegan Dry Food Diet
He’s also been on a vegetarian dry food diet from Natural Balance. It didn’t worsen his skin but it didn’t improve his skin either.
I also drove one hour each way once a week to take him to a Japanese micro bubble bath by Thera-Clean and went with him about six times.
He was quite relaxed with the baths but it was just too much driving and there wasn’t any improvement with his skin. It also basically wiped out my Saturday mornings for six weeks. Obviously, this was before I had a baby!
Antibiotics and Antifungals
My dog has been on multiple antibiotics to treat his skin infections. His skin infection occurs because the skin is so dry and it is being scratched so often that bacteria can hang out and cause trouble. He’s also been on courses of anti fungal medication as well. They solve the problem for a short duration and then it comes back.
Weekly Chlorhexidine Baths
I still give him a weekly chlorhexidine bath which helps keep the bacteria at bay. It hasn’t cured his skin but it ‘maintains’ it.
He takes an oral steroid about three times a week to keep the itch at bay. He takes it regularly (long term).
He’s tried Benadryl too but that made him too sleepy.
Quality of Life
It got so bad that I was worried about his quality of life. Of course, he loves to eat and seems very happy eating, seems happy going for walks, but in between, when he’s scratching, he looks miserable.
His compulsive scratching was affecting his quality of life and MY quality of life. It was frustrating, to say the least and I felt helpless that I couldn’t help him stop his itch.
Out of frustration, I decided to take him to the vet again for an attempted treatment for another flare up. The vet acknowledged that having a dog with severe allergies can be very frustrating and said there’s a new medication approved on the market in Canada called Cytopoint. It is an injectable medication given every 4-8 weeks (which means if it works, I would need to give it to him for life) that blocks his desire to scratch himself.
Cytopoint is a biologic therapy and is actually manufactured antibodies. Apparently, there are minimal side effects and it shouldn’t affect his kidneys or liver (that’s what the drug manufacturer says, but there are probably always side effects with any drug). It doesn’t heal his infections but just stops the itch and provides the time for his body to heal from the skin infection (if you treat the skin infection).
The cost depends on your dog’s weight. Because my dog is under 20lbs, the cost wasn’t very much and was under $60 for the medication plus another $25 to inject the medication. This is about a $100 a month cost per month.
Given that I’ve basically tried everything, I decided to give it a try. He also started on some antibiotics again to stop skin infection he currently had.
Within 24 hours, I noticed that he wasn’t scratching as much as before. There was probably a 70-90% decrease in the amount of scratching (depending on the day). He licked and scratched a few times but it wasn’t in a compulsive manner that it was before.
I did give him a bath the day after the vet (they recommended it) and he seemed like his usual itchy self after the bath. It settled down after a few hours. He was drowsy the first day after the injection and ‘didn’t seem himself’ but this resolved on its own.
Also, he developed a new ‘sore’ on his back near his collar that developed by itself. I pointed it out to my vet but he didn’t seem worried. After about a few months this sore disappeared. As you can see on the first day he has more scaliness and scabs, after a week, his skin was soft again after two chlorhexidine baths with conditioning.
On week three he seemed to be licking more, I could hear him licking at night, but by week four this seemed to settle down. I took him to the vet on week five to be reassessed and have another injection of Cytopoint. Given that his allergies are year-round, hopefully, this will continue working for him to improve his quality of life.
Here’s a picture of the first day after Cytopoint:
As part of this Cytopoint review I’ll share some pictures. As you can see my dog has lots of dry skin and the skin looks thickened.
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Here’s a picture 14 days after Cytopoint:
Here’s a picture 30 days after Cytopoint:
His skin is less red and in some areas there is fur growing back. Again, not much change to his chest area.
My hope is that he will grow all his fur back, just like it was back in 2014. Nonetheless, I’m very happy with the decreased scratching and licking, and his quality of life seems much better.
For my Cytopoint review, I think it’s worth it for the $100 every 6 weeks if it improves his quality of life and helps decrease the amount I need to vacuum! Quality of his life is what matters to me, and he seems to be happier these days.
Here’s a picture about 5 months after Cytopoint first started!
As you can see, his hair is growing back (!) and his skin is soft and not thickened anymore. I’m going to continue with this as he isn’t itching as much as he was before and his skin is sooo much better. H
e still has missing patches of hair on his flank and the vet said he probably will never grow that hair back, but now he doesn’t have to wear a shirt anymore outside or inside. His quality of life is remarkably better.
He does seem to wheeze on occasion and I’m not sure if this is related to his atopic dermatitis or the Cytopoint injection (I read the side effects and it does not note ‘wheeze’ as one of them) as he may have asthma now, but the vet does not seem concerned and the occasional wheezy cough is not distressing him.
Unfortunately, you can’t order Cytopoint from the vet pharmacies available online (I order my dog’s Vanectyl-P online and my vet agrees it is cheaper to order online), but you can get your dog’s heartworm and roundworm medications for much less than you would at the vet.
My vet recommended flea and tick prevention to rule out a cause of his itchiness and to protect our human baby from roundworms and heartworm.
Cytopoint Side Effects
I am not sure what the Cytopoint side effects are, but about a year or so after he was on Cytopoint he ended up with possible lymphoma and passed away.
He was an older dog already so I am not sure if this was a direct relation to Cytopoint or just him being more frail and having chronic disease all his life.
Have you tried Cytopoint before for your pet?
What is your Cytopoint review?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.