Allergy Shots For Dogs: Cytopoint, Immunotherapy, Cost, Side Effects & More

This content was reviewed by veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Racine, DVM.

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Golden getting a shot from two people holding dog (Caption: Allergy Shots For Dogs)

Allergies can be as frustrating for dogs as they are for humans. However, there are a lot of excellent options for treatment, including allergy shots for dogs. This effective treatment can help give your pup some relief and, in some cases, even cure him. We give you all the information you need to work with your vet to make the right allergy treatment decision for your furry friend.

Does My Dog Have Allergies?

Dog skin with redness (Caption: Allergies In Dogs)

There are few ways to determine if your dog has allergies. First, does your dog have allergy symptoms? Some common symptoms include:

  • Biting or gnawing at the skin
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Constant licking
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive itching
  • Hives or rashes
  • Itchy ears
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflap
  • Vomiting

If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, you can use an at-home dog allergy testing kit to help you determine the cause of the allergy. Our experts have a full review of the EasyDNA dog allergy test, so you know more about how it works and how to use it. But your best course of action is to visit your veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis, and you can share your at-home testing results with your vet.

Canine Allergy Treatment

Can dogs get allergy shots? Yes, vets use allergy injections for dogs to help deal with itchy allergy symptoms and teach a dog’s immune system to tolerate allergies.

You may have heard about dog allergy injections but don’t know much more. The most common anti-itch shot for dogs is Cytopoint. This shot for itchy dogs is not a dog allergy vaccine; it simply helps stop the itch.

Vet giving pill to dog (Caption: Best Allergy Medicine For Dogs)

Your vet may recommend immunotherapy. This dog shot for allergies can help make your dog less vulnerable to allergens and possibly entirely eliminate them.

Allergy shots for dogs with skin allergies are not the only answer. Our experts review the best allergy medicine for dogs, including Apoquel for dogs. Learning more about all the options can give you the information you need to feel informed. Then you can work with your vet to understand the pros and cons and other options that might work best for you and your dog.

Cytopoint For Dogs

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The dog allergy shot Cytopoint treats dogs with skin reactions to allergens or atopic dermatitis. One injection reduces itching within 24 hours and offers relief for four to eight weeks in most dogs. Some dogs may need year-round treatment with Cytopoint, while other dogs may only need Cytopoint seasonally.

How does it work? The Cytopoint allergy shot for dogs is a biological therapy that acts like your dog’s immune system. It has engineered monoclonal antibodies that are similar to the ones your dog naturally makes. These specific antibodies neutralize a protein that causes your dog’s body to itch, reducing scratching and allowing the skin to heal. The Cytopoint shot for dog allergies can be a helpful tool in your pup’s allergy treatment plan.

Immunotherapy For Dog Allergies

Immunotherapy allergy shots for dogs are another way to treat allergies. With this type of treatment, a vet injects small amounts of what the dog is allergic to, increasing the dose slowly, so the dog can learn to tolerate the allergen. The goal is to reduce medication and the need for symptom management until it’s no longer needed. However, immunotherapy only treats environmental allergies, like pollen, molds, and mites, and won’t work for food allergies or flea bite allergies.

Side Effects

You may be wondering what your dog’s reaction to allergy shots will look like. Each dog will have a different response. With Cytopoint injections and other allergy shots, side effects are possible and may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Swelling of the face

Check with your vet immediately if you notice any side effects as they may be a sign of a severe allergic reaction, and may need immediate medical attention.

How Effective Are Allergy Shots For Dogs?

Results will vary for each dog, but allergy shots can be very effective.

According to Dr. Scott Miller, an intern in small animal dermatology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, when it comes to immunotherapy, “Overall, 60 to 80 percent of dogs with environmental allergy will respond very well to allergy shots, often eliminating the need for other medications the pet may have been given to control signs.” He also said, “Young dogs may respond better to immunotherapy than do older dogs.”1 

UW Veterinary Care at the University of Wisconsin-Madison weighs in on Cytopoint’s effectiveness by saying, “Cytopoint does not work for every dog, but we estimate it helps in about 75% of cases. In some cases, the itch relief is dramatic and long-lasting; in others, it helps more modestly and/or may not last as long.”2

How Much Do Dog Allergy Shots Cost?

So, how much are allergy shots for dogs? Your location, your vet’s pricing, and the size of your dog can all affect the cost of allergy shots. The cost of living differs in different places, and dosing depends on weight, so small dogs and big dogs need different amounts, which can change the price.

In general, immunotherapy costs for the vet are around $5 to $10 per ml, and dogs can require 1-3 ml per month, and other supplies, like syringes, may need to be purchased. This can translate to a cost of between $300 and $500 for a four to six-month supply. Cytopoint averages $65 to $135 per injection. Your vet will determine the number of injections your pup will need, and they may also have additional costs for your allergy treatment plan.

Easing The Cost Of Care

Treating allergies can be very expensive. The best way to ease the cost of care is to cover your pup with pet insurance from day one. Our experts review the best pet insurance companies to help you decide what is right for you. Remember, you have to have your policy before diagnosis, so you don’t have limitations for pre-existing conditions.

Sources: [1] University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, [2] University of Wisconsin-Madison  

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