What are the Different Uses of Cyclosporine® for Dogs?

brown dog with mouth open

Cyclosporine® for dogs, also known as Atopica®, is an immunosuppressant drug that is most commonly used to treat skin rashes and irritation in canines. It is effective in stimulating the production of tears, and because of this, Cyclosporine® is used to remedy the eye condition keratoconjunctivitis sicca. To lower the risk of organ rejection, Cyclosporine® is given to both canine and human organ transplant patients .

The dosage of Cyclosporine® for dogs varies according to the size of the canine and usually ranges between 25 to 100 micrograms. Cyclosporine® for dogs can be administered in pill form or by injections. In some cases it can also be applied as a topical ointment.

dog with a stick

Atopic dermatitis, a skin condition caused by allergies, is often treated with topical Cyclosporine®, in ointment form. This condition may be triggered by any number of substances, including pollen, dust mites, fungi, and mold. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis can include excessive licking, scratching, hot or red ears, or spots.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a medical condition that is also treated with Cyclosporine® for dogs. KCS decreases tear production, causing inflammation, which can result in scarring and decreased vision. KCS may display itself in a number of ways, including chronic red eyes, or a thick, yellow discharge and film over the corneas. Dogs with KCS are often prescribed Cyclosporine® ointment, which encourages the production of tears in dogs.

Dogs who receive kidney transplants are also likely to be prescribed Cyclosporine®. All organ transplants, in animals and in humans, come with the risk that the body’s immune system will reject the new organ. As an immunosuppressant, Cyclosporine® shifts the immune system in the direction of immune tolerance and thereby lowers the chances that organ will be rejected.

two black dogs

One of the biggest benefits of using Cyclosporine® in dogs is the fact that it is an immunosuppressant. At the same time, however, this can cause a number of problems. A suppressed immune system cannot fight infection as effectively as a healthy one, and, therefore, dogs on Cyclosporine® are more likely to develop infections. Dogs on Cyclosporine® should be closely monitored for infection or sickness.

There are a number of side effects from using Cyclosporine® in dogs, some serious. Cyclosporine® may cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach ulcers, as well as loss of appetite. Skin rashes are a common side effect of topical Cyclosporine® creams. Lethargy is also not uncommon. If Cyclosporine® is prescribed over an extended period of time, lymphoma may develop.

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