Three cheers for new veterinary dermatology drugs

April 11, 2016

Allergy, Skin and Ear Clinic for Animals

You just got new additions to your arsenal against atopy, demodicosis and bacterial skin infections.

(Getty Images)Dermatologic problems in pets. Frustrating, to say the least. At the CVC in San Diego, Paul Bloom, DVM, DACVD, DABVP, discussed three important new drugs in veterinary dermatology that help resolve a few of your frustrations.

Oh, that oclacitinib!

Interest in oclacitinib (Apoquel-Zoetis) for dogs with atopic dermatitis skyrocketed when first introduced in January 2014. “This Janus kinase inhibitor has been quite effective on our pruritic dogs with minimal to no side effects,” says Bloom. But an initial supply problem meant very few dogs were able to actually receive the drug. The supply issues are improving, and Zoetis has assured the market that the product will be freely available by the end of this year.

The isoxazolines knock our socks off!

This newer class of pesticides is popular for pet owners because the three products available-afoxolaner (NexGard-Merial), fluralaner (Bravecto-Merck) and now sarolaner (Simparica-Zoetis)-are chewable formulations that are effective for flea and tick control in dogs. “Since I have many of my dogs bathed frequently, I now have oral medication that will be effective for fleas and ticks,” Bloom says. “And since fluralaner is effective for three months, it is ideal to use when performing an elimination diet trial on a dog.”

Bloom is excited for additional reasons, dermatologically speaking. “In addition, we now recognize that afoxolaner and fluralaner have some effectiveness for the treatment of generalized demodicosis in dogs, sometimes with administration of just one dose,” says Bloom. “Plus, some anecdotal reports suggest that afoxolaner and fluralaner may be effective in the treatment of scabies in dogs. Although I have not used sarolaner, there is a soon to be published study reporting its effectiveness against demodicosis after two doses. All three of these drugs will need further studies to confirm these observations concerning their effectiveness against these mites.”

Holy cats, that's convenient!

Cefovecin sodium (Convenia-Zoetis) is a one-time injectable treatment for bacterial skin infections and abscesses. Bloom thinks that used in very limited situations, such as for cat owners who cannot medicate their cats or for dogs that can't tolerate any oral antibiotics, it can be of value. “Used appropriately, it's been a benefit to a limited population of cat owners who have an inability to administer oral medications to their cats,” he says.