Cyclosporine for dogs is recommended when the dog is affected by an autoimmune disease. Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant, available only through prescription. The compounds of cyclosporine will affect the calcium ion uptake.
Uses of Cyclosporine for Dogs
The generic cyclosporine is an immune system suppressant that will work on the calcium ion uptake, which is involved in the white blood cells or the lymphocytes. By affecting the white blood cells, the immune system will not function at its full capacity and won't attack the cells of the dog's body. Cyclosporine is used in dogs with autoimmune diseases such as:
- Hemolytic anemia
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
The oral cyclosporine can also be administered after a kidney transplant, helping the pet to accept the organ more easily.
FDA Approval and Other Names
Even though oral cyclosporine is not FDA approved for use in pets, it can be administered as an extra label drug by vets. Topical cyclosporine is FDA approved for use in pets. Cyclosporine may also be found under the names Atopica (the topical cream) and Optimmune.
Side Effects of Cyclosporine for Dogs
Cyclosporine may have a number of side effects including:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Stomach ulcers (oral cyclosporine)
- Skin rashes, especially to topical cyclosporine creams
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Secondary infections, as the immune system is suppressed and cannot respond to the foreign cells that may attack the dog's system
- Lymphoma, if the treatment is administered over a long period of time
Cyclosporine may also interact with other drugs, so let your vet know if your dog is taking any other types of meds. Generic cyclosporine shouldn't be used in pregnant and lactating dogs, because there have been no studies conducted to show that the meds are safe. Cyclosporine cannot be administered in dogs under the age of 6 months or small dogs that weigh less than 4 pounds.
Cyclosporine is available in the form of gelcaps or tablets of 25 and 100 mg. Cyclosporine injections are also available. However, the right dosage can only be determined by the vet, based on the dog's health condition, his size, age and breed. When administered as a topical ointment, cyclosporine is typically applied twice per day. The meds should be administered after meals, to protect the stomach and prevent gastric ulcers.
Treating Secondary Diseases
The treatment with cyclosporine for dogs will weaken the immune system, which is beneficial, because the immune system will not attack the dog's body. On the other hand, the weakness will also result in vulnerability to numerous infections. These secondary infections should be detected as early as possible and treated, so that the dog won't have other complications.
Typically, a dog under cyclosporine treatment will be under close monitoring. Blood tests will be performed to evaluate the dog's condition and to establish whether the dosage is correct or should be changed.