Signs of Anaphylaxis in Dogs
Signs of anaphylaxis in dogs depends on how the foreign substance gets into the dog and how sensitive the immune system is to that allergen. Signs can include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Extreme drooling
- Hives (red swellings on the skin)
- Swollen face or muzzle
- Extreme itchiness
- Blue mucous membranes *
- Difficulty breathing *
- Collapse *
* During anaphylactic shock. This is an emergency.
A reaction that begins as localized can progress to systemic (shock) in some cases, so even localized reactions should be treated as medical emergencies. Treatment should be sought immediately.
Diagnosing Canine Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is diagnosed through physical exam and a history of exposure to some sort of allergen. Skin and blood testing can be done to identify specific allergens when a dog is suspected to have allergies.
Treatment of Anaphylaxis in Dogs
Mild cases of anaphylaxis may be treated with corticosteroids to decrease the immune system’s activity and antihistamines like Benadryl to combat the histamine the mast cells are releasing.
More serious cases, like those involving widespread hives, a swollen muzzle, or difficulty breathing, require hospitalization and aggressive treatment with oxygen, IV fluids, epinephrine, atropine, aminophylline, and other medications as necessary. The emergency medications are meant to counteract circulatory collapse and stop the reaction.
It’s crucial to understand that each reaction is bigger than the last when it comes to anaphylaxis, so the inciting foreign substance should be identified if possible and avoided in the future.