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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28031
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dog's face and eyes have swollen. What could be the problem?

Customer Question

My dog's face just swelled up 15 minutes ago. Eyes are swollen and jowels are too. I have no idea what happen. Is there anything I can do
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.

Alfalfa either ate something that she was allergic to, was envenomed by a flying insect or snake, or took a medication that she was allergic to. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at a dose of 1-2 mg/lb(maximum of 50 mg at any one time) repeated in 8-12 hours if necessary is appropriate. If you happen to have prednisone at home, the dose is 0.5 mg/lb repeated in 12 hours if necessary. A corticosteroid such as prednisone should be more effective in reducing the urticarial reaction (swelling/hives). As long as Alfalfa's breathing isn't labored and she appears stable - good pink color to her gums and tongue, respiratory rate ~30/minute at rest - you needn't do any more that administer the Benadryl and/or prednisone. We expect these dogs to normalize within 36 hours.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It could not be a snake. She was indoors when it happened. A spider possibly?? Breathing is not labored (counted 26 breathes/minute) Her color looks good. I don't have pednisone. She seems comfortable but itchy.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Thank goodness. Yes, a spider is possible - and it doesn't have to be a brown recluse or black widow - the usual nasties. I suspect you should bump up her Benadryl dose to a full 2mg/lb but not to exceed 50mg at any one time. A cool wet towel applied to the swollen areas will be helpful as well. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

So she weighs 50 lbs, I need to give her 2 tablets (each tablet is 25mg) every 8-12 hours? What should I expect to see through the next 36 hours? She will survive if i don't take her to the emergency vet tonight?

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Yes, 2 x 25mg (50mg) is the appropriate dose every 8-12 hours (if needed). She may completely normalize within the next 36 hours. She didn't suffer the dangerous anaphylaxis type of allergic reaction. Her allergic reaction is termed a delayed hypersensitivity reaction and is rarely serious much less fatal. There's no reason to believe that her vital signs will change from when you last checked them. An ER visit is only indicated if you notice breathing difficulties, her gum/tongue becomes pale,and/or she becomes weak/ataxic - all quite unlikely. I recommend your setting your clock to waken every two hours to check on her. She'll probably be sleeping peaceably due to the sedative effects of the Benadryl. Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it!