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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20632
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Our dog was either bitten or stung on the face by something

Customer Question

Our dog was either bitten or stung on the face by something tonight. It was after hours for our regular vet, so we took him to an emergency clinic, after administering some Benadryl first. They examined him and said it was probably a snake bite, but they didn't see any specific bite. They wanted to charge us over $ 1,000 for overnight observation and another $ 1-2 thousand for antivenin treatment. I must admit that number one we can't afford that, and number 2, they offered no proof of a snake bite for sure.
I have examined the back yard very carefully where this happened shortly before bedtime and I cannot find a snake, dead or alive, any skin, or other stinging insects, so we do not know for sure what it is.
We left with an antibiotic, a pain med, and went to the drugstore for more Benadryl, and have administered a dose of that. He will not allow examination of the side of his face where the problem is, unless we restrained him, and I don't want to hurt him further at this point. They said they administered a pain injection, although I don't know what it is.
He is panting, and cannot get comfortable and is whimpering. He has not slept yet at this point. I have stayed awake all night so far observing and trying to comfort him. Is there anything that I can do beyond what I am currently trying at this point, and what would you recommend when normal business hours return, and I can visit with someone in a regular clinic?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
What dose of Benadryl did you give?
How much does he weigh?
How long ago was it given?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I could not get a pill down him so I administered approximately 25mg equivalent (10+ mL) in liquid children's Benadryl, via oral syringe approximately 3 hours ago. The scales at the vet showed 22kg, I believe. I don't know the conversion rate, so I guess about 45 lbs.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
btw, he is short haired, and looks more like a boston terrier/boxer mix, he could even have some pit in him....I don't know for sure, but the rescue papers show him as a border collie mix, so a bite or sting should be easier to see with little hair there.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
First, as I am sure you can appreciate, you will be limited with what you can do at home for this. Still, if they did give pain relief via injection (which the most common ones usually lasts 24 hours and if they used the steroids it should help with pain and reduce the swelling), we at least should have that starting to work its way into his system and start providing him relief.
Now the main focus on what you can do ( & therefore why I asked) is getting the Benadryl on board to reduce any allergic reaction component of his signs. So, as long as his gums are pink and he is breathing comfortable; then we want to give this every 8 hours. If he is 22kg, then he can have a maximum dose of 88mg each time. So, if you are using the children's liquid (12.5mg/5ml) that would translate into up to 35ml each time. Therefore, if you only gave a low dose of ~10ml, you could consider giving another 10-25ml if you wished. Be aware the more we give, the more drowsy they can become. But in his situation, this is not necessarily a bad idea, as it could let him settle and get some rest.
Further to that, since his other signs are suggestive of stress, anxiety and general discomfort; we need to make sure we are keeping everything as calm as possible. So, we need to make sure he is somewhere quite, calm, and dimly lit. If you find he can settle with the additional Benadryl, then you can try a cool compress on that side of his face. We don't want to stress him out, but cool compressing can be soothing and reduce inflammation/swelling.
Overall, we are always limited in what we can do at home in situations like this. But if he already has pain relief on board, then we'd want to take the above approach reduce inflammation and help him settle until morning. And if he is still showing signs once his vet is open, you will them to ring the ER to see what injections were given, as severe stings can sometimes require steroids to reduce the reaction and get them settled.
Please take care & all the best for Norman,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there a way for me top get the steroids for him without another visit that I cannot afford? Are they available at pet care stores or somewhere else? Do they require a prescription? I gave him two more syringes worth of Benadryl just now, which I believe equates to another 25mg or so.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,
Good, we will need to see how he goes with that additional dose (which can take 30 minutes to 2hrs to take effect). Otherwise, unfortunately steroids are prescription only and can only be dispensed (or a prescription written) by a vet that has physically examined Norman. Therefore, in regards ***** ***** situation, you would need to speak/ring the ER vet that saw him as they would be legally allowed to dispense this for him if need be.
Please take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK. Thank you. Do you think the antivenin is necessary since we do not know what kind of snake, or if it was even a snake bite at all, for sure? They said they were 99.9% sure, even though they couldn't see any punctures.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome,
That is actually a tricky question because we cannot ask Norman what has happened and what stung/bit him. If there was a bite or a suspect bite, then anti-venom is always advisable as a means of erring on the side of caution and so that we are sure we are covering that base. But if there is no bite and we aren't sure, then its a situation where we consider treating just in case but cannot say if its really necessary. So, without punctures, it would be considered a prophylactic treatment just in case but may not be required.
All the best, *****
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about Norman. How is everything going?