Anaphylactic Shock in Dogs
Anaphylactic Shock in Dogs: Learn about Anaphylactic Shock, including how it affects your dog, and what options are available to manage this condition.
Anaphylactic shock is a serious, uncommon and exaggerated allergic reaction to some foreign substance that a dog comes into contact with,called an "allergen." If not treated quickly, anaphylactic shock can be fatal. Many things can cause anaphylaxis in dogs, depending upon the make-up of the particular dog’s immune system. These include drugs, flea and tick preventatives, venomous bites, oral or topical antibiotics, anesthetics, drugs prepared from animal products, diagnostic agents, mold, pollen and ingredients in food. An anaphylactic reaction usually happens suddenly, within moments after a dog touches, inhales, ingests or otherwise is exposed to the allergen. Without prompt treatment, anaphylactic shock almost always causes seizures, collapse, coma and/or death. Owners should always be aware of their dog’s behavior, so that they can take him or her to a veterinarian right away when something seems to be going wrong.
There are countless potential causes of anaphylactic shock in dogs, depending upon the particular animal’s immune system. The inciting allergen may be saliva from an insect bite, venom from a snake bite or a bee sting, a particular medication, topical parasite treatments, an environmental allergen (mold, pollen, grasses, chemicals, dust, etc.), some component of the dog’s diet, a vaccine or virtually anything else. The substance, called the allergen, is perceived as foreign and harmful by
For most people, the phrase “anaphylactic shock” conjures up images of a life-threatening allergic reaction to a bee sting or some other trigger that causes rapid throat and bronchial constriction. Anaphylaxsis manifests somewhat differently in dogs than it does in people, but it still is a potentially fatal medical emergency. Anaphylactic reactions in people typically affect the throat, trachea and upper airways, because the reaction normally starts in the lungs. In dogs, anaphylaxis primarily targets
Anaphylactic shock is not particularly difficult to diagnose. However, it is essential that treatment begin before formal diagnostic efforts are made, because timely treatment is the most important factor in whether affected animals will survive.Virtually all cases of anaphylactic shock are diagnosed based only on history and physical examination. Treatment must begin immediately, if not sooner, if a dog experiencing an anaphylactic episode is going to have a fighting chance of recovery. Once the animal
In most cases, the first step in treating anaphylactic shock is to place an intravenous catheter and aggressively administer fluids to the dog at shock dosages to restore blood volume and counteract the dangerously low blood pressure caused by peripheral circulatory failure. Intravenous administration of epinephrine usually is the next step in treating anaphylaxis. Epinephrine causes an increase in heart rate and constriction of blood vessels; it also helps to block further release of those