CytopointⓇ Injection for Dogs: What to Know About the Allergy Shot       

Four minutes
Jan 22, 2024

Did you know dogs can have skin allergies? They’re just like us! And like in humans, dog skin allergies can be incredibly irritating. But a relatively new allergy injection for dogs called Cytopoint promises relief from the itchiness of allergic dermatitis. How does Cytopoint work, and how safe is it for your pup? Keep reading to find out!

What Is Cytopoint Injection for Dogs?

Cytopointis given as a subcutaneous injection. That means it’s injected just beneath the skin rather than intravenously or intramuscularly. If prescribed, your vet will administer a dose once every 4 – 8 weeks. The size of the dosage depends on your dog’s weight.1

According to Zoetis, the company behind Cytopoint, this drug was designed to “target and neutralize one of the main proteins that send itch signals to your dog’s brain.”2  The University of Wisconsin-Madion’s College of Veterinary Care goes into a little more detail, explaining that Cytopoint uses “engineered antibodies” to supplement the ones produced by your dog’s own immune system.3

Is a Costly Dog Itch a Concern?

Pet Insurance Can Help

To get even more specific, those engineered antibodies are called lokivetmab.1 It’s a protein created in a lab to bind with IL-31, a chemical messenger that sends signals to your dog’s brain when it’s time to be itchy. Skin allergies like atopic dermatitis cause an excess of IL-31 to be produced, leading to pruritus (the medical term for itchiness).1,2 By binding with IL-31, lokivetmab prevents it from interacting with the receptors in the brain, thus stopping the itch signals from firing.1

Cytopoint Injection for Dogs: Side Effects

It’s natural to be uncertain about any new drug, especially if you’re going to be giving it to your beloved pet. So are there any side effects to be concerned about?

Early clinical trials observed, at worst, that Cytopoint eventually lost its effectiveness.2 More recent research has shown that, while rare, some dogs may experience additional side effects, including:1

The most extreme side effects can be triggered by — ironically enough — allergies. If your dog is allergic to Cytopoint, they could experience severe lethargy, weakness, trouble breathing, facial swelling, or hives.1 Your vet will likely want to observe your dog after their first injection to see how they react to the drug (that’s why you can’t get Cytopoint for dogs at home), but keep an eye on them once they return home, too.1 Any adverse reaction should be reported to your vet immediately.

How Long Can a Dog Stay on Cytopoint?

Cytopointis meant to be administered as needed when symptoms arise.1 That means, depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, it could become a lifelong treatment. Your vet will want to schedule a follow-up between 4 and 8 weeks after the first injection.1 They’ll assess how well the treatment is working and, if necessary, schedule another dose in 4 – 8 weeks’ time.

What Is the Average Cost of a Cytopoint Injection?

The price per injection will vary depending on your dog’s size and weight. The larger the dog, the higher the dose, and the more expensive it’s likely to be. That said, Barron’s Magazine reports the average annual cost of Cytopointranges from $1,200 – $2,400.3

Does Dog Insurance Cover CytopointInjections?

Yes! Most dog insurance policies will cover qualifying prescriptions recommended by your vet, including Cytopoint. With a plan from MetLife Pet, you could get reimbursed for this and other qualifying expenses, from the routine to emergency. Find out if pet insurance is worth it for you and your dog, or fetch a free quote to see how much you could be saving on the care your pup deserves!


A MetLife Pet Policy May Help Cover CytopointⓇ Costs

See What's Covered

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

1 “Cytopoint for Dogs,” PetMD, 2023

2 “Cytopoint,” Zoetis Petcare

3 “Cytopoint: Questions and Answers,” UW Veterinary Care [PDF]

4 “Canine Atopic Dermatitis Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments,” PetMD, 2020

5 “Pruritus – Itching and Scratching in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals

6 “A Dog Eczema Drug Costs $1,200. The Human Equivalent Is $43,000,” Barron’s

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