Severe Allergic Reaction

by Katherine Gibson
(Wayne NJ USA)

Have you ever heard a dog bark in panic? Not the screaming yelps of pain, the "Help me!" kind of panic bark?


I came home from work, as I unloaded groceries in the driveway, I heard Sparky barking from inside the house. By the third or four bark, I realized I did NOT hear Dudley. I dropped the groceries there in the drive, Sparky's bark had a sharpness I'd never heard before.

Pushing open the front door, greeted by Sparky launching himself at me, and seeing Dudley lying on his side, chest heaving and tongue lolled out on the floor, turning from purple to blue!!

"Stay Calm! Think!" Air was getting through in both directions, but... I looked in his mouth, no object in sight. All exposed skin on his body was pink to deep pink, in patches, it was almost blood red. I grabbed a flashlight.

Checked his throat, nothing blocking it, but it looked odd. Putting the flashlight on the pink skin of his belly, I saw patterns- rash- HIVES-- Oh!! Allergic reaction!!

Lucky for all of us, Sparky gets seasonal allergies that can really close up his nasal passages, so I keep liquid childrens Benadryl in the house.

I grabbed the bottle,and dosed Dudley with what I hoped would work. (I have to admit not caring about making him groggy, I wanted him alive!)

Sparky is a chi-mix, Dudley is a pit-mix- so I doubled Sparky's dose,"that should work".

I got him up on the couch, raised his head on a pillow to help keep airway open and I waited. I know Benadryl works fast in moments like this. Not as fast as an epi-pen on humans, but pretty fast.

Come on Benadryl! Do your thing! The emergency vet is 40 minutes away, our vet is 20 minutes away but the doors closed 10 minutes ago.

Five minutes after dosing him, Dudley's tongue began to turn red, by seven minutes it was normal shade of pink. Then, we got in the car and went to the emergency vet.

The hives faded after the third dose, the next day- doses given 5 hours apart for a few days until the food that caused this had passed out of his system.

Now, through experience with Dudley, I figured this was food. The edges of his "lips" turn blood red when he is sensitive to a food-- this turned out to be a new treat- but the reaction didn't happen until he had his third one in five days. (every other day.) Needless to say, I tossed them in the garbage.

Sparky and Dudley were thankful I arrived in time and figured out something I could do. My alpha status went up a few pegs in our pack- I guess because I am soooo smart :-).

I am proud of Sparky's alarm barking marathon. My neighbor, Wilma, across the street had heard him barking for a few hours. She thought it was odd because he doesn't bark all day. She kept looking at the house to see if there was smoke or burglars.

I can laugh now-- I call it his "Lassie, what girl? Timmy fell in the well!" bark. Wilma and I decided to trust that he means it. If he ever does that again- she will call my cell and I will come home immediately.

Moral to the story: I pay much closer attention to ingredient labels. Trial and error is too risky. No red dyes, no smoke flavoring, not for Dudley's household. Gluten free is a bonus feature.

For humans and animals alike- you should consider keeping a bottle of children's benadryl in the house/first aid kits. It can make a difference- emergency care professionals are still needed- but it won't harm in proper doses and can buy some time- like it did for Dudley.

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Great advice!!
by: Susan D.

This is great advice. You never know when one of our beloved furry friends will become allergic to something. Even foods that they were not allergic to previously as happened with a friend of mine.
Thanks Katherine for sharing!

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