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I have noticed within the last week or so that Phin has been rather itchy. Some days I dont notice it at all, and others (like tonight) he has been crazy itchy. He has been on the same food (even same flavor) for months (wellness turkey and potato). Yeti and Phin get Spot Farms treats. They finished their last pack of turkey meatball and I got them a bag of chicken nuggets. Besides those two things, they hardly get any table scraps, and when they do its usually fruit, meat, or peanut butter. Phin is on an antibiotic currently for a staph infection. He gets a pepcid with a pea sized amount of PB and then I either mixed in a very small amount (tablespoon or less) of PB with his meal or a hard boiled egg. Besides that, his surroundings have not changed much. We did get new carpeting a week or two ago. I, for the life of me, cant figure out why he would be itchy.  I am curious if your dogs have every been itchy, and if so what was going on!

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I've never been a fan of the combo steroid + antihistamine drugs like Vanectyl P or Temaril P.  If you only need them for 1-2 months a year, I'd go with prednisone by itself and Claritin by itself. Then the dosage for each can be adjusted as needed and you can stop or start each one separately. I've only ever heard of the GP prescribing these combo drugs; the vet dermatologists prescribe the meds separately, and I do think that cost/profit may be part of the reason. Buying plain generic prednisone at the drugstore (not from your vet) and OTC Claritin is probably cheaper. And definitely much cheaper than Apoquel. 

Thank you for such a helpful response!  I do give him loratadine instead of the brand name Claritin to keep costs low.  If I buy plain generic prednisone from the drug store, do I look for the same dosage as the Vanectyl P that I was previously using?  Usually, I start with a high dosage of Vanectyl P for the first couple days and gradually decrease the dosage to 2 pills every other day - will it be the same for the prednisone?

You would need a prescription from your vet to buy the prednisone at the drugstore (which they must give you by law) and the dosage instructions would be included with the prescription. There would be a tapering off involved, similar to what you've been doing with the Vanectyl. 
I also bought generic loratidine instead of Claritin. 

Thanks again, Karen!  I will talk to my vet about obtaining a prescription.  

Yes, when patent expires on a drug and it becomes generic the drug manufactures do things like creating a combo drug so they can renew the patent and keep it expensive. Generic prednisone is dirt cheap. So is loratidine. There's no real advantage to a combo drug. 

I wasn't able to get a prescription for prednisone from my vet - she basically said she would not be comfortable prescribing it without doing additional tests on Jasper (blood work, xrays??) which would be even more costly.  I tried to be persistent but just ended up taking the prescription for Vanectyl P since I wanted something that day to help with his itching.  I left pretty upset and am not sure how I feel about my vet now - we have been going there for almost 6 years and until this moment I was very happy. 

I'd be upset, too. What a crock! Vanectyl P is prednisone...with antihistamine added. Why is she comfortable with that without doing further tests, but not with just the prednisone part of it? I hate to say it, but it sounds to me like her main interest is $. I personally would look for another vet.

Until now I have never felt that she has been about the $ - she never pushes the food they sell there, suggests additional tests/vaccines/prescriptions, etc.  I honestly was not expecting this reaction from her, but it has definitely left a bad taste in my mouth and I will likely be searching for another vet.  Thanks again for all your help!

And X-rays? To prescribe prednisone for an itchy dog??? WTD???? 

That vet would be so fired! Not only for flat out lying to me and for assuming that I'm too stupid to see what happened right there. I would also send them a letter telling them why you're firing them. 

That said, I looked and vanectyl p has prednisolone vs prednisone in it. But I can't imagine that it makes any difference. We use them interchangeably in humans (prednisolone if the patient needs liquid or prednisone tablets.) 

I always say that not all vets (or doctors or nurses or anything really) are created equal. Someone had to graduate at the bottom of the class.

Yes I totally agree with your last sentence! This has been very frustrating.

For future needs, you could give the vet a written request for a prescription for the precise amount of prednisone contained in the Vanectyl P already prescribed, or, in the alternative, a written explanation of why the administration of the prednisone in Vaneactyl P without the accompanying antihistamine requires what specific additional testing or examination.  If the request is denied again, you could complain to your State's agency that regulates veterinarians. You can go to www.avma.org for a list of all state requirements for compliance with requests for written prescriptions for drugs prescribed by vets. Personally, I would join Karen in just looking for a new vet. Good luck.

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