Therapeutic action of loratadine in dogs
Loratadine is a potent antihistamine that inhibits the production and action of histamines, substances that are released by the body on exposure to allergic agents. Histamines are responsible for causing various symptoms related to allergy. In general, some of the common allergens (allergy causing substances) include pollen, dust, insect bites and other foreign particles. An antihistamine drug therapeutically work by inhibiting the production and function of histamines in the body of humans as well as dogs thus, effectively relieving the allergic symptoms such as watery eyes, itchy skin and runny nose.
Indications of Claritin in Dogs
The main function of an antihistamine, loratadine is to block the action of histamine in an allergic dog. In general, histamine is a chemical substance released by the immune system of an allergic dog on exposure to inhibit an allergen. The common allergens include pollen, certain food components, insect bite and flea saliva to name a few. The common allergic symptoms in a dog include hives, reddish discoloration of the skin, and swelling of an affected area in response to an allergic attack due to the overproduction of histamine by the dog’s immune system. In severe cases, a dog can experience serious obstruction of the airways due to the swelling of the tissues in throat which could be life-threatening.
Atopic Canine Dermatitis
Atopic canine dermatitis is chronic disease that can be prevented and treated in dogs. The condition can get triggered by the inhalation of allergens, pollen, mold, dust mites and son on. The signs and symptoms of atopic canine dermatitis in dogs include over-scratching, hot spots, chewing of the feet and legs and subsequent hair loss. The condition requires a proper antihistamine treatment in addition to combination therapy. Claritin can help to relieve inflammation when used in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs, fatty acid supplements and diet modification. In general, different types of antihistamines work to alleviate the allergic symptoms in dogs.
Adverse reaction to vaccines
An annual checkup is usually done for most of the dogs in addition to immunization as it boosts the dog’s immune system and protects against serious diseases. In some cases, the dogs may over-respond and react to the routine vaccinations. The dogs commonly experience side reactions like sore muscles, lethargy and swelling at the site of injection. In severe cases, the dogs can experience anaphylactic shock and the vet administers loratadine in order to prevent swelling if the dog is a known case of vaccine reactions.
Mast Cell Tumors
Mast cell tumors occur due to the overproduction and aggregation of mast cells. In general, mast cell tumors occur commonly in dogs particularly in certain dog breeds such as Labradors, boxers, cocker spaniels and golden retrievers. The mast cells are part of the immune system that are produced by the body for defense in an attempt to protect the system against parasites. Mast cells are usually present in the intestines, skin, and respiratory tract. Dogs suffering from long term allergic conditions can suffer from mast cell tumors and the prognosis can vary. Based on the location and stage of tumor, the prognosis can range from good to poor. Claritin (Loratadine) is administered in dogs presenting with severe inflammation caused by mast cell tumor. This occurs due to the release of the inflammatory granules in areas like skin, digestive or respiratory tract by a mast cell tumor that causes severe inflammation.
Claritin (Loratadine) works for various types of allergies that lead to skin irritation, severe itching and skin redness in dogs. Allergic dogs present with common symptoms such as constant scratching, licking and biting. Hence, these conditions can be effectively handled by consulting a vet specialist who can determine the main cause. In addition to that, Claritin also works in allergic reactions caused by a snake bite or insect (bee) stings.
Administering Claritin to Dogs
It is always risky to administer Claritin (loratidine) to the dogs without a vet’s advice even though Claritin is safe to treat the dogs. In fact, anti-histamine medications work in only about 1/3rd of canines. Although, every dog’s response to a particular drug that belongs to a similar class varies, hence it could be best to administer various antihistamines before determining the most effective drug for your dog.
The recommended dosage of Claritin for dogs is approximately about 0.5 mg per 2.2 pounds of total body weight. Moreover, the dosage for every dog varies based on the total body weight. About half of a 10 mg tablet should be given once per day to dogs with less than 25 pounds while 1 full 10 mg tablet should be given once per day to the dogs with body weight over 25 pounds.
Claritin versus Claritin D in dogs
If the vet prescribes Claritin for your dog, then one should obtain regular Claritin and avoid Claritin D. Claritin D is unsafe and can cause toxic reactions to dogs as it contains pseudoephedrine as an active ingredient that has an ability to cause death of your dog when administered at high dosage. Hence, usage of Claritin D is contraindicated in pets and a regular Claritin should be administered only on vet’s supervision.
Side Effects of claritin
Some of the common side effects occur in dogs on loratadine usage although Claritin relieves various types of allergies in dogs. The common side effects in dogs caused by Claritin include: Dry mouth, headache, dry eyes, confusion, drowsiness, behavioral changes, rapid heart rate, changes in bowel movements and increase in thirst. Every dog’s response to medications varies and if a serious allergic reaction is experienced by your dog, then you should immediately discontinue the subsequent dose and seek a vet’s assistance.
Even though loratadine is free from major side-effects few dogs on an antibiotic or antifungal medication therapy may experience severe drowsiness. However, further testing may be necessary if the dog becomes drowsy even while not undergoing additional therapies.
Most of the vets don’t recommend Loratadine for dogs that are presenting with certain pre-existing conditions associated with either a kidney or a liver disease. Moreover, Claritin (loratadine) is contraindicated in dogs that are pregnant and nursing. Hence, it is always advised to consult a vet specialist before administering Claritin to the canine. In addition to that, one should ensure that regular Claritin is administered to the dog and not Claritin-D as it is unsafe and contraindicated in dogs.