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Forum Posts: 9
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2 March 2018 - 3:37 pm
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Has anyone heard if there is a class action suit against Apoquel? There are some studies it has been linked to some cancers. Helping a friend whose pup has mast cell and was on the med for years


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2 March 2018 - 3:48 pm
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No I sight here, but I bet if anyone has hrard of this it would be Karen (stubborn Pug Maggie)  or Jerry.  Stay tuned.

P@ease let your friend know we will be thinking of her and sending positive energy.  If we can support her in any way, let us know.  I already know she has a great support in you!heart


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!


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2 March 2018 - 4:02 pm
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I did do a quick Dr Google search “does apoquel cause cancer in dogs?” and, unfortunately, there were some links that indicated that was possibly the case


Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Here and Now

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2 March 2018 - 6:17 pm
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Great to hear from you Heidi! Sorry to hear about the circumstances.

Various members have mentioned Apoquel here over the years, but no mention of any class action…yet! A quick Googe search suggests there may be reason.

Search results for ‘Apoquel’


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2 March 2018 - 7:30 pm
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There is a label warning not to use if dogs have pre-existing malignant cancer since it is an immunosuppressant and may hinder the body’s natural ability to fight cancer.  I did have one client with a 4 year old Westie develop a splenic cancer after taking the drug 1 1/2 years and the company did work with her to defray the cost of treatment but ultimately there is no way to know for sure if the drug itself caused the tumor or just caused it to develop quickly.

Apoquel is a great drug for the short term but if used daily over months to years it can have other side effects including infections.  I have seen many UTIs, a pneumonia, and many resistant Staph skin infections.  A better drug is the newer Cytopoint injection.


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3 March 2018 - 7:07 pm
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Wow!  Gator is on this for his skin allergies, and the vet never mentioned cancer, or any other side effects.  I have been thinking it was like doggie Claritin.  Going to have to discuss this with the vet.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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3 March 2018 - 10:04 pm
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Ollie is on it for skin allergies, too. I’ll have to have a good long talk with his dermatologist. He has never showed any infections to this point.


Murphy is a five year old Lab/Chessie cross. He was hit by a car on 10/29/12 and became a Tripawd on 11/24/12. On 2/5/13, he had a total hip replacement on his remaining back leg. He has absolutely no idea that he has only three legs!

UPDATE: Murphy lived his life to the fullest, right up until an aggressive bone lesion took him across the Rainbow Bridge on April 9, 2015 and he gained his membership in the April Angels. Run free, my love. You deserve it!

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22 May 2018 - 10:58 am
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Hi all – I have a 9 year old jack Russell (Murphy) that has been on Apoquel since last summer/fall and just had a cherry-sized mast cell tumor, along with the swollen lymph node next to it, removed from her neck yesterday.  It is in a spot just under the jaw where me or my family would never have missed it.  What’s scary is the tumor literally “popped up” out of nowhere about a week and a half ago.  Now we are awaiting biopsy results for both the mass and the lymph node to determine grade and stage.  According to my vet, my dog will need chemotherapy.

I am convinced the Apoquel is the culprit in my dog’s case and will address it with my vet later this week when we go to get the drainage tube taken out of my dog’s neck and hopefully have biopsy results.  In particular, I would like to know whether veterinarians keep track of incidence of tumors/cancers in dogs whose tumors arise after being on Apoquel.  Are they seeing a pattern now that this drug has been on the market for a few years.

While it is too late for my dog , I want other people to be aware of the potential dangers of using this drug.  Clearly from surfing the web a bit, I am not alone.  How do we get Zoetis to answer for this and get the word out to other unsuspecting dog owners?

The Rainbow Bridge

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22 May 2018 - 11:31 am
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Hello Jeanette,

Welcome. Your future posts won’t need approval so post away. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog, and hope the pathology reports come back with good news.

I know there’s been talk about Apoquel here and elsewhere on the web, but mostly about how it was designed to stop itching by preventing histamines from spreading in the body. As far as I understand about Apoquel, long term use can lead to infections because it’s an immuno-suppresive drug, but I don’t see much about it being directly linked with mast cell cancers. Two good veterinary blogs about apoquel side effects are:

Skin Vet: Apoquel safety: how Apoquel is like fine wine – Part 2

Here’s what Dr. Plant says to one reader with concerns similar to yours:

I am sorry to hear about the diagnosis. It may still turn out to have low grade malignancy after the biopsy. For instance, mast cell tumors are very common in dogs, representing 20% of all cutaneous tumors in dogs. But they can vary quite a bit in their malignancy. Overall, Apoquel hasn’t been demonstrated to increase the risk of developing cancer, but hopefully your veterinarian will report your pet’s findings to Zoetis once the biopsy is done. No conclusions can be drawn from one patient since many dogs develop cancer, but there is a process in place for identifying potential problems with drugs after they are released based on a large number of reports.
Best wishes for a successful surgery,
Dr. Plant

Another vet blog, Pet Dermatology Clinic, says:

We don’t know long term side effects of Apoquel in dogs, time will tell.  The product insert warns that Apoquel may exacerbate neoplastic conditions.  There is no good evidence of this as of yet, we will keep monitoring.  I would recommend Apoquel over cyclosporine in a dog with previous cancer.  Comfort and quality of life are absolute considerations when deciding which medications to use.

Some members here are using Apoquel so hopefully they will chime in soon. 

Keep us posted about your pup OK? And thanks for sharing your story with us.

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