Since September 2015, the doctors at ADRC have been using an innovative new therapy to help reduce clinical signs associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs. The product, named Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic, is a first-of-its-kind antibody therapy. Some dermatologists call it CADI for short. At ADRC, we also refer to it as anti-IL-31 monoclonal antibody for 2 reasons. First, it contains an antibody that specifically targets and neutralizes interleukin-31 (IL-31), a key protein responsible for sending the itch signal to the brain. Second, for years we have offered allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) and the names are too similar; thus, we needed a distinction for communications.
One might ask how the therapies are different. The anti-IL-31 monoclonal antibody injection is simply another medication in a repertoire of therapies including steroids, Atopica® and Apoquel that help reduce itch. The doctors at ADRC view all these medications as short to mid-term “crutches” to improve quality of life. Alternatively, allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) is the only therapy that specifically addresses the true underlying allergy. It comes in an injection or oral formula. ASIT is given on a regular basis to improve the immune system’s ability to tolerate environmental allergens such as pollens to grasses, trees, weeds and molds. Our goal is to use ASIT as the safe, long term therapy and reduce the overall need for a pet to receive medications such as steroid, Atopica®, Apoquel or anti-IL-31 monoclonal antibody.
What you should know about anti-IL-31 monoclonal antibody: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted a conditional license for Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic to be available primarily to veterinary dermatology specialists to gain more experience and understanding of its use in clinical practice. This will help the manufacturing company prepare for full licensure. The injection is administered in-office, once-monthly, under the skin, and only after thorough examination and determination by the attending dermatologist that the product is appropriate for your dog. It has been shown to be safe and effective in decreasing itching within one day and remains effective for most patients for one month. Dosing can be repeated monthly if necessary. Reported adverse reactions to the product were similar to those of a placebo.