Down with Dermatitis: Atopica Allergy Medication for Cats and Dogs

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By: CertaPet Staff Updated: April 21, 2021

Down with Dermatitis: Atopica Allergy Medication for Cats and Dogs

Understanding Atopica

Allergies aren’t fun for anyone. You have to endure a constant runny nose, itching all over, and allergic reactions to the smallest of things. Not to mention the fact that it worsens dermatological conditions.

Well, your dogs and cats can suffer from the same thing, but the difference is they can’t tell you. Imagine how painful and irritating that must be for them?

The good thing is that your local veterinarian can prescribe your furry friend an allergy treatment called Atopica. Atopica for cats and dogs can help cure and relieve the pain of skin allergies, eczema, dermatitis, and more.

No one deserves to be itchy all the time! That is why throughout this article we are going to give you all the information you need regarding what Atopica is, how it can benefit your cats and dogs, why it’s important that you obtain a prescription from your local veterinarian, the dosage, side effects, and more.

What is Atopica?

Atopica, or also known as Cyclosporine, is a form of medication that is used as a treatment for dermatitis, skin allergies, or skin lesions on your dog or cat.

Senior bulldog with allergies resulting to skin rashes and hair loss needs cyclosporine for dogs

Skin allergies can also include itching, licking, scratching, skin infections, chewing, gnawing, sleepless nights, hair loss, and a terrible odor. They are, the majority of the time, caused by the immune systems incorrect response to everyday things such as food or the environment.

So, why is this medication recommended? 

Cyclosporine is a mycotoxin and works to kill any bacteria that may be harboring in your dog or cats immune system.

Benefits of Atopica For Dogs

Cyclosporine/Atopica has many incredible benefits for your dog or cat and can help eliminate those awful allergy symptoms that drive them crazy day in and day out. But, before we get to the benefits of the medication, what is Cyclosporine/Atopica best for?

  • Allergic reactions
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Atopic eczema
  • Sebaceous adenitis
  • Non-regenerative anemia

Now that you know what conditions Cyclosporine/Atopica works best for, here are the benefits of the medication and this form of treatment:

  • Reduces itching and skin lesions in both dogs and cats
  • Proven to be effective in both cats and dogs
  • Allows you to control your pet’s condition and symptoms without turning to steroids
  • Is completely safe to use over an extended period of time without any serious side effects
  • Controls feline atopic dermatitis effectively
  • Comes in the form of either capsules or oral dosing syringes.
  • Both dogs and cats don’t mind the taste, but it can also be combined with food
  • Relieves pain caused by the symptoms of allergies and allergic conditions
  • Is calming and soothing on the dog or cats skin, and reduces inflammation caused by the symptoms

Atopica Dermatitis/Dermatitis Atopica: Why You Need A Veterinarian’s Prescription

Cyclosporine/Atopica is a very powerful medication and should not be given out lightly.

That is why you can’t, as a pet owner, but it over the counter at pet stores or online. Cyclosporine/Atopica is a veterinarian prescribed treatment and can only be recommended for your dog or cat under their supervision and examination.

The reason that you need a veterinarian’s prescription is that it should not be given to a dog or cat that is under 6 months old as it can be harmful to the growth of their vital organs.

It is also highly dangerous to children and adults and should be kept out of reach at all times.

Available for Feline Fur Children: Atopica for Cats

Cyclosporine/Atopica for cats is administered through an oral dosing syringe and is used to control, reduce, and heal allergic dermatitis, eczema, and other skin diseases including broken skin on the body, face, and neck.

Not sure what allergic symptoms look like on a cat?

Cat scratching its head needs atopica for cats

Signs of an allergic reaction for our furry friends include itching, licking, hair loss, chewing of the skin, and skin lesions. It’s possible that these lesions may also appear on the face and neck.

Cyclosporine/Atopica works by calming and soothing he cats skin that has suffered from the allergic reaction by blocking the cells from responding to the infection (itching).

This form of treatment is FDA approved for cats and can be obtained through a prescription from your local veterinarian.

Can I Give Apoquel to My Dog?

If you are thinking that Cyclosporine/Atopica might not be right for you and your dog, then you can try Apoquel.

Apoquel is a form of medication that instead of targeting the cause of the allergic infection, it suppresses the symptoms that may occur such as itching caused by dermatitis. It works by interrupting the signal pathways that tell your dog’s cells to inflame and itch.

Before you decide to consult your local veterinarian about Apoquel, here is some information that you should know about the medication.

Age/ size of dog

You should not give Apoquel to your dog if they are under 1 year old as it can have serious effects on the growth and development of your furry friend.

The dosage of the medication that will be prescribed will depend on the size or the body weight of the dog. Your local veterinarian will determine the correct dose.

Medical conditions

Apoquel is great for any conditions that have symptoms of irritating and painful itching for your dog. It is most commonly used to treat dermatitis, but it can also be used for eczema and other skin allergies.

Do not give to your dog if they are breeding, pregnant, nursing puppies, or have a serious infection.

Interaction with other medications

Apoquel can be used in conjunction with other medications. These medications include:

  • Anti-infectives
  • Parasiticides
  • Antifungals
  • NSAID’s
  • Allergen-specific immunotherapy

If your dog is on any medication for a serious illness or disease, then consult your local veterinarian before purchasing Apoquel.


Apoquel works to eliminate the symptoms caused by allergic diseases such as dermatitis. While it doesn’t get rid of the cause, it provides relief to your dog while you and your veterinarian try to work out what is causing the allergies.

Compromised immune systems

As this is a newer form of medication, there are risks to giving it to your dog.

One of these risks reported by some dog owners is that long-term use of the drug has compromised their pet’s immune system, and therefore weakened it. As with all medications, there are side effects to taking it long term.

Atopica vs Apoquel: What’s the Difference?

It is important to establish that Atopica and Apoquel are not the same medication, and though they are similar, they are also different.

Atopica is a medication that is veterinarian formulated to affect the immune system. It contains micro-emulsified cyclosporine that suppresses the T cells in a dog or cats body.

Apoquel is a newer form of treatment that works to control pruritus. This form of medication interferes with the dogs or cats pathways that control their itchiness.

Other differences include:

  • Atopica can take up to 7 days to work in your dog or cats system, whereas Apoquel works on the first day.
  • Atopica inhibits the immune reaction to allergic symptoms, whereas Apoquel decreases the itching.
  • Atopica treats the cause of the itching, whereas Apoquel only suppresses it.

Cyclosporine: Atopica Generic? What You Need to Know!

If you are looking to purchase a generic form of Atopica, then you are looking at Cyclosporine capsules.

What’s the difference?

Cyclosporine capsules are a modified version of Atopica and are used by veterinarians to treat atopic dermatitis in dogs, a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the skin.

This drug is not FDA approved for cats, however, a lot of veterinarians still prescribe it for treatment.

Side effects may include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the lips
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Change of hair coat

Before choosing to go with the generic brand of Atopica, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.

The Atopica Debate

There is much debate surrounding Cyclosporine/Atopica, and if it is a safe and effective form of medication for dogs and cats.

The answer to that is that it is controversial as it has had wonderful results on some pets, and life-sustaining effects on others.

Throughout this article, we have given you the benefits of using this drug, but you should also be aware of the other side of pet owner’s opinions who believe that Cyclosporine/Atopica should not be administered to dogs and cats.

The FDA has had reports of adverse events occurring after administering the medication to dogs and cats, and have stated that instead of healing their pet, their condition has only worsened, and they are experiencing many side effects, with vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy were the main three with over 6000 complaints. Other issues pet owners have raised is that their pets are more prone to infection on this drug.

So, should you be using it for your dog or cat if it is so controversial and highly debated about amongst pet owners and veterinarians?

The answer to that is do nothing until you have conducted thorough research and consulted with your local veterinarian or two.

Atopica Dosage for Dogs and Cats

If you have decided that Cyclosporine/Atopica is right for your dog or cat, then it’s important that you get the dose of the medication correct.

The dosage will depend on the body weight of your furry friend and can either be given in the form of Atopica capsules, Cyclosporine capsules, or an oral dosing syringe.

Here is the recommended dosage of Cyclosporine/Atopica for dogs and cats:

Weight Dosage

4-9 lbs









100mg + 50mg


1000mg + 100mg

For cats, the Cyclosporine/Atopica dosage is usually 3.2mg per lbs or 7mg per kg. If you are unsure of the dose, then consult your local veterinarian.

What are Common Atopica Side Effects?

As with any medication, Cyclosporine/Atopica can have side effects on your dog or cat that you should keep an eye out for.

Clinical signs that you, as a pet owner, should look for regarding side effects of cyclosporine include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Otitis Externa (commonly known as ‘swimmer’s ear)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Lymphadenopathy – swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Gingival Hyperplasia – overgrowth of the gums

If your dog suffers from any of these side effects whilst taking Cyclosporine/Atopica, then consult your local veterinarian immediately as the dose may be wrong, or the medication may not be best for your dog or cat.

Know the Dangers of an Atopica Overdose or Allergic Reaction

Whilst taking this form of treatment, Cyclosporine/Atopica, it is absolutely imperative that you get the dose of medication correct otherwise your dog or cat can suffer from an overdose. Similarly, they can also have an allergic reaction to the drug itself.

Symptoms to look for in a Cyclosporine/Atopica overdose or allergic reaction include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Increased urination

If your dog or cat is experiencing any of these symptoms whilst taking Cyclosporine/Atopica medication, then take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Is Atopica The Only Way to Help The Pain in Your Dog?

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  • Helps relieve dry, itchy skin → no more excessive itching
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Dogs itch.

Their digestive health sometimes fails them causing them to be nauseous or unable to eat certain foods. They might be allergic or have skin allergies with dry, itchy skin. Their coats become a little dry due to the fleas and ticks.

If your dog does or has anything of the above, consider Honest Paws Restore CBD Dog Treats.

Honest Paws Restore CBD Dog Treats helps with allergies and the itching. No one should have to endure pain, especially our fur-babies.

With these delicious treats, your pooch has a fighting chance to feel good and lead a happier life.

Besides, most pet owners claim they would die for their dog so surely they will do anything in their power to ease their pain.

Whether canine or feline, no fur child deserves to be itchy all the time!

No one deserves to be itchy all the time, it would just drive them insane!

The same goes for dogs and cats, and you have the power to help them. Cyclosporine/Atopica is a form of medication that targets the immune system and helps to eliminate allergic diseases and their symptoms such as dermatitis, eczema, and more.

If you think that Cyclosporine/Atopica is right for your dog or cat, remember that you can only buy the medication if it is prescribed to them by a veterinarian.

Consult them first, and see if it is the right form of treatment to stop that irritating itching once and for all!

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page

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