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It's The Most Allergic Time of the Year!

by Katie McKay | Dec 01, 2015

This is Daisy (and Roxanne of course). They are buddies and since it’s such an adorable picture, I wanted to show it to you so you know how Daisy looks on a normal day....she's on the right.
Daisy and Rox









 

Daisy’s mom sent me an email when she got home from work.  She said, “ok I just came home to this! She was fine this morning!” 
Daisy1

 Daisy2

Daisy3
For those of us that know Daisy, we know that she makes friends with EVERYONE and I do mean EVERYONE.  She knows no stranger, including the wildlife in her backyard, the deer, the birds, the bees….and well….the bees. I would bet that Daisy tried to befriend a bee or a hornet or maybe even a little spider and got herself some souvenir fang marks. Although this appeared to be a pretty straight forward case of dog vs. stingy or bitey thing, I cautioned Daisy’s mom to keep a close eye on her to make sure this allergic reaction didn’t continue to evolve in to something more serious.

Allergic reactions are simply the body’s immune system over-responding to something foreign or something it thinks is foreign and shouldn’t be there.  The site at which the allergic reaction happens attracts cells that release histamines. Histamines are actually designed to help the body deal with the irritating allergen, however they also are what causes our allergic symptoms, like sneezing, swelling, itching…oh the itching!  You take ANTI-histamines, like Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, etc to dampen the effects of the histamine….in other words, to keep it from getting out of control.  Calm down immune system!!! Sometimes your dog can have an allergic reaction and you won’t even know it, but sometimes you see things like poor Daisy’s face. It all depends on what’s causing the reaction and also that dog’s individual immune system response to it. Some reactions are very strong, too good in fact, causing what’s known as anaphylaxis. This severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction happens within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen and progresses quickly causing symptoms like an itchy rash, throat swelling, and low blood pressure. I can’t express enough how important it is to know how to check your dog’s vital signs, respiratory rate, pulse, and circulation using gum color and capillary refill time. For refreshers on vitals, check out What’s Normal and First Aid with Gracie Lou and the Red Cross's first aid app for your phone on Be a High Tech Pet Owner

Mom checked over Daisy’s eye and mouth to make sure we didn’t see anything else obviously wrong with her and gave her Benadryl to help with the reaction.  Daisy went to stay with Grandma for a few hours while mom went out just to make sure thing did not get worse.  By the next morning, Daisy’s eye and beautiful face were back to normal.  Whew!

The very next day I received a picture from Dakota (formerly Baz). His mom said, what happened??
Dakota1

It looks like Dakota has had the same issue as Daisy, easy right? Benadryl and we are on our way!  Not so fast.  Notice the difference in the location of the swelling.  In this case, I would be suspicious of a swollen or infected tooth (again, location and presentation is key!) Tooth abscesses can pop up very quickly….after all, our mouths are teeming with bacteria! Broken, infected and abscessed teeth may cause facial swelling, eyes to run, cause your dog to quit eating, become lethargic and even enlarge lymph nodes. Mom checked his mouth really well and didn’t see or smell (yes smell = infection) anything unusual, his spirits were good and he was eating and drinking well, so she gave him some Benadryl and watched and waited. The next morning, Dakota’s face was still swollen, so just to be on the safe side, mom took him to see the vet. They were able to get a good examination of his mouth, eye and check his lymph nodes. Luckily they still suspected an allergic reaction and thought he just needed some more time on anti-histamines.  Sure enough, Dakota’s cute little face is back to normal within a day or two.

I thought this was a great comparison story to share. Even though Dakota and Daisy have the same problem, they appear very different and easily could have been very different.  These are the kind of situations that make consulting Dr. Google for advice particularly dangerous. Be leery and careful of the internet and diagnosing your dog on your own. And keep up the good work observing doggie behavior and “not quite right” issues.

Enjoy the Fall!!  Except for spiders though, stay away from those.

Katie