Itching and scratching due to allergies can dramatically diminish a pet’s quality of life. Pets are most often allergic to dust mites and grass, tree, and weed pollens (allergens). Several options are available to treat allergic skin diseases of pets, but only one targets the airborne allergens that most often cause the problem: immunotherapy.
You probably know somebody who has gone through “allergy shots” to manage their own allergy symptoms. Known as immunotherapy, or hyposensitization, this form of treatment is effective for most dogs with atopic dermatitis (“allergies”). Small amounts of allergens are given to the pet, often by pet owners under the guidance of their veterinarian. Over time, this allows your pet to tolerate natural exposure to the allergens.
In the past, an allergy test was required to begin immunotherapy. The accuracy of these tests is affected by many factors and false positive and false negative reactions are common. RESPIT was developed by a board-certified veterinary dermatologist as the “no-test” immunotherapy alternative for pets, emphasizing a practical solution derived from the assimilation of numerous studies. Instead of relying on allergy testing, RESPIT is formulated to include the most significant allergens in each region of the country.
Allergies tend to be a lifelong problem but through the use of RESPIT your pet’s allergies can usually be controlled. You will typically see improvement within 3 to 6 months, but for some pets it may take up to a year to see the full benefit. Your veterinarian may initially prescribe additional treatment for your pet’s comfort. The good news is that about 75% of pets respond well to immunotherapy. Some pets require treatment for life, others are able to discontinue immunotherapy after 3-4 years without relapsing.
Two routes of administration are available. Each product has advantages and disadvantages, but they are of similar efficacy.
RESPIT Oromucosal Spray is given by squirting a small volume of allergen extract between your pet’s cheek and gum every day. Allergens are absorbed across the mucosa of the oral cavity where they interact with the immune system. Consistent daily dosing is particularly important with this form of therapy, known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) in people. Pets less than 22 pounds receive 2 squirts and those greater than 22 pounds receive 3 squirts per day. Each 30 ml bottle contains a 14-21 week supply.
RESPIT Injectable is given under the skin (subcutaneously) every week. Many pet owners learn to give injections themselves under the guidance of their veterinarian. Beginning with 0.1 ml, increase the dose by 0.1 ml weekly until the weekly maintenance dose is reached (0.5 ml for pets less than 22 lbs. and 1.0 ml for pets more than 22 lbs.) Depending upon your pet’s individual response, your veterinarian may adjust the maintenance dose. Each 10 ml vial contains a 10-20 week supply.
Serious side effects are rare, but require medical attention if they do occur. Possible side effects include hives, facial swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or collapse. Less serious side effects that should be reported to your veterinarian include increased itchiness or redness, swelling at the injection site, and excessive panting.
Treatment should be given at a time when you will be able to observe your pet for 30-60 minutes.
RESPIT is available through licensed veterinarians who have a current doctor-client-patient relationship with your pet. As with any therapy, the first step is to make a proper diagnosis. If you would like us to send information to your veterinarian about ordering RESPIT, please provide us with the following information and submit this form to our office: