Anaphylactic shock in dogs is a veterinary emergency that requires quick action to avoid fatal consequences for the animal. This is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can be avoided and it is vital to ensure that as a dog owner you can recognize the symptoms.

In this article we will discuss what is anaphylactic shock in dogs. In addition, we will see its causes, symptoms and treatment. It is important that if you think your dog is suffering anaphylactic shock that you visit the nearest vet immediately.

What is anaphylactic shock in dogs?

Anaphylactic shock in dogs is a serious allergic reaction that occurs immediately when the dog comes into contact with the allergen (specific food, sting or chemical). The allergen, therefore, is the substance to which the dog is allergic. The form of contact by which the dog comes into contact with the allergen can vary, for example, by inhalation, ingestion or any general exposure to it.

If anaphylaxis in your dog is not treated immediately, it can lead to cardiac arrest, the closure of the animal’s organs and, in the worst case, death.

What can cause anaphylactic shock in dogs?

There are several substances that can cause a dog to go into anaphylactic shock. Among these we can highlight a well-known drug: penicillin.

Other common causes of anaphylactic shock in dogs can be venom transmitted through bee and wasp stings. Some dogs may also experience anaphylaxis after vaccination, especially in puppies, although the latter is fortunately a less common cause.

What are the symptoms of anaphylactic shock in dogs?

An anaphylactic shock may present, initially, as a local reaction. This local reaction can be found at the point where the allergen came into contact with the dog. This area may appear red and swollen, and the dog is likely to feel some pain and itching.

However, when anaphylactic shock occurs acutely, the reaction is generalized. In this acute case, the whole body will be affected almost immediately or within an hour. Symptoms of anaphylactic shock in dogs include:

  • Agitation.
  • Nervousness.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weakness.

A dog experiencing anaphylactic shock may also have difficulty breathing, releasing stridor. Stridor is a sound that we can identify as very sharp, caused by an inflammation of the larynx.

If a dog in this case does not receive immediate treatment, it can fall into a coma and die.

Anaphylactic shock in dogs: treatment

As we have already mentioned, anaphylactic shock in dogs is a veterinary emergency that must be attended to by a professional at a veterinary clinic as soon as possible. A vet will have the necessary medication to treat this shock, which includes; adrenaline, antihistamines, or corticosteroids. The vet himself may even need to perform specific medical procedures, such as fluid therapy or oxygen administration.

Therefore, if you suspect that your dog may be suffering anaphylactic shock, take her immediately to your veterinarian. If the dog stops breathing during the journey: consider artificial respiration or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Precautions against anaphylactic shock in dogs

If your dog is in anaphylactic shock, the first thing to do is stay calm and interact with the animal as you normally would: trying to convey calmness. If your dog feels that he is nervous, he will take on that tension and increase his breathing, which you should avoid.

Any movement of the animal’s body must be done with great care. You must make sure that your dog adopts the position he wants and requires, where he can breathe easily. The only time you should intervene is if your dog, we repeat, stops breathing on the way to the vet.

How to prevent anaphylactic shock in dogs

There is no way to know exactly which substance is capable of causing anaphylactic shock in dogs. However, there are ways to avoid situations in which this shock can be triggered. For example, never give your dog medication or vaccinations without professional supervision.

In addition, if our dog has shown an allergic reaction to a drug before, it should be recorded in his medical history and should never be administered again. You can also ask your vet for an allergy test for your dog, in this way you will make sure you have his allergies controlled. Also, pay attention to it in natural environments and never allow your dog to play with bees or wasps.

Lastly, always make sure you have an emergency vet number on hand; specifically when traveling with your dog.