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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32762
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Our 3 year old 30Kg Labrador appears to be suffering from pollen

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Our 3 year old 30Kg Labrador appears to be suffering from pollen allergy as he has been scratching his body and mouth and nibbling his legs since late March. We have him on Piriton (chlorphenamine) and it appears to be having some effect, but is it safe for long time use (all summer)? Also would Loratadine work as well and is this safe? What dose would you recommend?
His meds are Stronghold and Milbemax appart from annual vacs.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
To answer your question directly, yes, chlorpheniramine at 4-8mg/kg every 12 hours up to a maximum dose of 0.5mg/kg every 12 hours is safe and can be given indefinitely. Loratidine is also safe and can be given indefinitely at a dose of 0.5mg/kg every 24 hours. Whether it would work as well can only be known by trial and error.

Most important, however, is to recognize that atopic dogs - those allergic to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc. - don't reliably respond positively to antihistamines. Our studies suggest that just 10-30% of atopic dogs will benefit from antihistamines. Those also administered essential fatty acids seem to do better. A mixed omega-3 and omega-6 canine fatty acid supplement can be purchased over the counter or from Billy's vet. Patience is required because those fatty acids can take 8-12 weeks to kick in.

Please consider the new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) which is likely to revolutionize how we address atopic dogs. This drug has all the benefits of glucocorticosteroids such as prednisone (the holy grail of atopic treatment but not without its side effects) without the adverse side effects. We're currently having trouble keeping it in stock here in the States, but perhaps you'll have better luck finding it at your UK vet.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the prompt reply! One part didn't make sense to me "........chlorpheniramine at 4-8mg/kg every 12 hours up to a maximum dose of 0.5mg/kg every 12 hours.." Your maximum 0.5 is less than 4 to 8, so which is correct?

Thanks, Alan

You're welcome, Alan. A 30kg dog should receive the maximum recomended dose of 0.5mg/kg every 12 hours which is 15mg every 12 hours for Billy.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Michael, you have been most helpful. Smile. Use left and right arrows to navigate. How's the weather in California, or need I ask? Here in Somerset England we are still waiting for summer!

It's my pleasure, Alan. We're going to be in the mid 90F's today here in San Diego. I don't know whether to say "eat your heart out" or not. You might enjoy the Somerset weather. I grew up on the beach in Southern California and prefer the heat over the cold.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Speak to you soon.

Please disregard the info request.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Michael - do hope you are not affected by the fires raging at the moment. We are seeing awful pictures from the San Diego area!


We have started Billy on the omega-3 and omega-6 canine fatty acid supplement so we'll see how he responds. His skin irritation seems to have deceased now, however, as the weather has turned cooler and wetter. Apparently Apoquel is also in short supply over here. Can only get on prescription but was holding off due to the cost of seeing the local vet. If Billy gets much worse again we will take him along and try to get a prescription. Cheers, Alan

Thank you for the update, Alan. No fires were I live, thankfully. Be patient with the fatty acids; they can take 8-12 weeks to kick in.