The Uses of Cyclosporine in Dogs

by Betty Lewis
    Cyclosporine should be given on an empty stomach.

    Cyclosporine should be given on an empty stomach.

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    Cyclosporine, also called cyclosporin A, Atopica and Neoral, is an immunosuppressive drug used for numerous conditions. For the dog with atopic dermatitis, cyclosporine is an attractive alternative to corticosteroids. Its use is relatively new in the veterinary community, making long-term potential side effects a bit of a mystery.

    Stopping the Itch notes cyclosporine is helpful for a number of conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, dry eye and several skin ailments, including the autoimmune disease sebaceous adenitis and discoid lupus erythematosus, a chronic skin condition with sores and scarring. However, cyclosporine is most commonly used for atopic dermatitis, where airborne allergens result in itchy skin for your pup. In the case of atopic dermatitis, Buddy gets relief from his constant itch without the negative effects of corticosteroids. The common side effects of cyclosporine include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. According to Dr. Ron Hines of, about 30 percent of dogs experience an upset stomach, but the symptoms tend to resolve in a week. Some dogs develop a thicker coat and shed more; other side effects include warts, calluses on footpads, and red or swollen ear flaps. Dogs should have blood panels every six months and pregnant dogs and dogs with a history of cancer should not take the drug. It has yet to be determined if cyclosporine has any long-term side effects. Always consult an experienced veterinarian about the health and treatment of your pet.

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    About the Author

    Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master’s degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.