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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16139
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My put is 1 now and has hives all over and redness and

Customer Question

My put bull is 1 now and has hives all over and redness and swelling by his private area what can I do to help?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Pit bull
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am very sorry to hear about your poor fellow's hives and swelling near his privates.
The most common cause of sudden hives, swelling or red spots is an allergic reaction.
This is usually related to an insect bite or sting. Sometimes we never figure out the cause because the bite/sting is covered up by diffuse swelling.
Treatment is based upon stopping further allergic reaction with antihistamines like Benadryl and sometimes cortisone if the reaction progresses.
Is his breathing and activity level normal?
Any vomiting or diarrhea?
Any difficulty breathing?
You can give him Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants or acetaminophen as they can be toxic for dogs) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours. You'll need to give it for at least 72 hours (3 days) to allow the allergen time to clear. If you stop too soon the reaction will recur.
Dogs take a really high dose of antihistamines compared to people, so don't let the amount worry you. They require more than we do. This may make him a little sleepy.
You can also apply a cool compress to the worst areas and/or give him a cool water bath with an oatmeal based shampoo to soothe his skin. The cool water will close skin capillaries and reduce inflammation and oatmeal reduces inflammation. Lather gently, let it sit for several minutes and then rinse with cool water.
And then you'll need to watch him closely for any progression of symptoms. That includes difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea.
The swelling/redness should resolve slowly over the next 24 hours or so.
In extreme allergic reactions they can get shocky and collapse but you should see difficulty breathing and vomiting/diarrhea first. Those types of severe reactions are very rare.
Most reactions are managed just fine with antihistamines alone.
Because you know now that he has these types of reactions you should keep Benadryl on hand at all times.
If you notice progression of his symptoms don't wait, have him checked on an emergency basis.
If you'd like you can have him checked by his regular vet tomorrow. They can give a cortisone injection which will lessen symptoms faster. But if he seems to be doing well then I would just call them and let them know so it is on his record for future reference.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you see it? It's awful
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No other symptoms super happy otherwise
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Did you get my photos?
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the photos.
That is a very nasty allergic reaction and as raw as it is I believe that your fellow has been licking and chewing quite a bit as well, which will predispose to a secondary bacterial infection.
He needs an elizabethan (lampshade) collar so he cannot reach these areas to stop him from continuing to traumatize them.
This is probably related to atopy (an inhaled allergy), flea allergy dermatitis, or a food allergy rather than a single insect sting.
Even if you don't see fleas I do recommend using protection. Flea bite allergy is the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog scratch so I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. Frontline Plus, Advantage II or Advantix are excellent. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic. Unfortunately even after the fleas are gone the allergic reaction can continue for weeks and I will discuss controlling that reaction below.
Other allergens can be inhaled (like grass pollen, dust mites or molds).
You can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those (they also help with the symptoms of flea allergy). In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If his symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of his problem.
You can try:
1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with acetaminophen or decongestants as they can be toxic for dogs) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pounds of body weight once or twice daily.
OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.
OR 5) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at 1/2 mg per pound of body weight orally every 24 hours. That would be one 10mg tablet per 20 pounds of body weight. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because dogs cannot tolerate decongestants.
Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. Give the one you pick a week trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use.
Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 80 pound dog could take 1600mg of EPA per day.
Cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin. Do not bathe your fellow for 2 to 3 days before or after applying flea control products or the bath will interfere with the product's efficacy.
Food allergy is very possible with him as well if he seems to be itchy all year round. Dogs can develop allergies to any protein or carbohydrate so even if he is only fed one thing that can be what he is allergic to. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" can be affected.
Make sure that the food that you put him on is a true hypoallergenic diet. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your dog isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your dog if those happen to be allergens for your dog. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food. 
Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin and then adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try. As far as permanent diets I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination. Purina Pro Plan Turkey and Barley or Nature's Recipe Vegetarian or Venison are pretty good products. I know that this isn't easy from personal experience (my dog is allergic to wheat) and it is time consuming, but worth it.
If you choose to try testing/treating him for a food allergy I recommend that you try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. You should see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.
Cortisone ointment applied to the very itchy places (as long as they aren't raw) twice daily may help as well if needed. Some sprays have alcohol which can be painful on raw skin and lead to more inflammation. I don't like oral steroids but topical directed at the problem areas can be very helpful and are less likely to cause side effects.
Another option if the antihistamines and omega 3's aren't enough is a product called Atopica. It suppresses the immune system a bit so it decreases allergic symptoms but it doesn't have as many harmful side effects as systemic steroids. Another option is a brand new drug called Apoquel (generic name oclacitinib) which interferes with the allergic pathway. It works very quickly to stop the symptoms of an inhaled or flea allergy, but it is NOT effective against food allergies. Most dogs are reported to be much more comfortable in a day or so. Unfortunately it is on backorder now due to overwhelming demand, but it is something to keep in mind for the future if he continues to have trouble.
If you are interested discuss these medications with your veterinarian as they are prescription products.
Another option if you are interested, is trying immunotherapy. Your fellow would need to be tested to determine exactly what he is allergic to, and then he is given small amounts of the allergen to build up his tolerance to it, increasing the amount of allergen in the injection incrementally so that his immune system no longer responds to it. This isn't a quick fix, it takes time to slowly build up their tolerance and as he develops new allergens things may need to be added, but it is an option.
If it's been a while since his last exam parasites like cheyletiella, demodex or sarcoptes mites should be looked for by your veterinarian as well if he isn't improving as they can lead to very itchy skin.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He had the same thing but not as severe when he was 4 months they have him prednisone and simplicef which helped. I feed him science diet regular puppy food is that ok
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
See his handsome little face :-)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
He is a very handsome fellow with a very sweet face.
It sounds like he has had previous allergic symptoms which responded to anti-inflammatories (prednisone) and an antibiotic (simplicef) to treat the secondary infection. These are fine for controlling very rare, once every few years allergic symptoms.
My concern is that he is a young dog, and allergies tend to worsen over time as he becomes more allergic to more things so if these episodes continue then we need to look at drugs that are less harmful for him long term and preventing symptoms rather than reacting when he gets miserable. Thus my listing of other options.
There is nothing wrong with Science Diet regular puppy food, in fact it's a very high quality food. But if he's allergic to one of the ingredients in it then it's not the right food for him. If he's always been fed this diet and it's been several months since his last episode then a food allergy is less likely however.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry, I see that you would prefer a phone call and I am not set up to offer that for you.
I can opt out if you would prefer to work with an expert that is set up for calls.

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