Anaphylaxis in dogs is not just an ordinary or even a severe allergic reaction to something that your dog has ingested or has been injected with. It goes well beyond the severe stage, as it is the most sudden and violet reaction that will ever attack your dog. Without exception, if it is not treated as a life threatening emergency, it may be the last reaction to anything that your dog will ever have. Although it is considered rare, it will be anything but rare if it attacks your dog as it can literally take their life right before your eyes.

What is it?

Anaphylaxis in dogs is a very sudden and extremely violent allergic reaction that is most commonly associated with a recent vaccination. Although this may be true, it by no means is the only potential cause. In fact, there are several potential causes and they are referred to as anaphylactic allergen reactions. These forms of allergen can be the result of some type of drug totally separate from a vaccination, an insect sting, as well as some type of food.

There are also some in the medical community that suggest that the actual cause outside of a vaccination may be a type of rubber or plastic your dog has come into contact with, but this has yet to be documented. However, whatever the actual cause is, it is triggered by antibodies that your dog’s immune system has recently produced. These antibodies can cause inflammatory cells such as basophils and mast cells to release substances that cause this violent reaction. Anaphylaxis in dogs in reality is not much different than a common allergy in its overall nature; it is just much more severe and violent.

When your dog has a common allergy, it will start to appear very slowly and will generally appear as a rash, some type of itching, as well as respiratory problems and congestion. But in the case of Anaphylaxis, it will be very rapid and life threatening.

Most all allergens are made up of complex proteins that will never cause any real problems for your dog. However, there are some instances where these allergens are identified by your dog’s immune system as very dangerous, and as a result, they release a vicious attack against them. Your dog will produce antibodies that are bound or joined to the cells in their blood that are referred to as basophils, as well some tissue cells, and these are referred to as mast cells. Both of these cells are capable of releasing very powerful chemicals, and in the case of anaphylaxis in dogs, this is exactly what happens.

Your dog’s system, for reasons still not fully understood, has suddenly identified what would be considered a common form of allergen as something that they have never seen before. Once these armies of chemical are released, it can do immediate damages to your dog’s regular heart functions, their blood pressure, as well as their blood permeability. This entire chain reaction that is occurring in your dog works like this. The mast cells that are living in their connective tissues become damaged, and once they are damaged, they release two substances; heparin and histamines.

Histamine is a critical to your dog, but in this case, it is causing the inflammation to occur. The next thing that may occur in your dog’s immune system as it is exposed to an allergen for the first time is the production of IgE antibodies that will stick to your dog’s mast cells. When they meet this same allergen for the second time, even if it is several years down the road, it causes the mast cells to basically disintegrate.

Once they disintegrate, it frees the heparin as well as the histamines. However, there can be cases when this entire chain of reactions occurs the first time your dog comes into contact with an allergen, and the result is still the same. In either case, this mass release can be life threatening.

Symptoms:

Anaphylaxis in dogs, although it is considered to be a rare occurrence, is a condition that all dog owners should become very familiar with. Whatever the actual cause is, you will have to react very quickly to the following symptoms if your dog has any chance of surviving this violent allergic reaction.

The first symptom that you will see is a very sudden case of both diarrhea as well as vomiting. This does really not need to be described, simply because you will know it as soon as you see it, as it will literally be explosive in nature and will be unlike anything you have ever seen. Both of these symptoms are your dog’s natural defense mechanisms to eradicate the offending material form their body as soon as possible, especially it is something that they have ingested. In some cases, this may totally eliminate the dangers, but you cannot wait to see what happens.

If it is the result of reaction to an insect bite or from a vaccination, it will not be eradicated and this is why you cannot wait. The next symptom will be shock, and this also something that you may have never seen before but you will understand it even if you are not sure exactly what it is. Shock will cause your dog to lose their mobility and in some cases, become totally paralyzed. It can also cause severe muscle twitching and will be an absolutely frightening experience.

Your dog’s heart rate will also immediately jump which is a sign that they are having a very difficult time in eliminating whatever is attacking their system. If you do suspect that your dog has developed anaphylaxis, there is one other symptom that you can quickly look for. Check your dog’s gums, the inside of their mouth, as well as their limbs. If they are cold, you have just confirmed this potential killer and you need to seek professional help as quickly as you can.

Treatments;

Anaphylaxis in dogs is a life threatening emergency condition, and the first thing your veterinarian will do is place your dog on life support. This will include establishing an open airway for them to breath, as well as give them oxygen and intravenous fluids to help increase their blood pressure. If your dog can survive the first hour after this emergency treatment, in most every case they will have an excellent chance of surviving.