Friday, August 7, 2015

Astonishing Secrets - The Itchy Pet with Lumps

Welcome to another addition to Dr Liz's Astonishing Secrets series - which is all about giving loving pet owners information they need to help them help their pet until they can get to a vet.
"You can blame the bee you ate for those lumps"

In the past we have covered painful ears, emergency pain relief, hot spots and helping lost pets.

This problem usually occurs on a evening (when vets are usually closed) or on a Sunday, but it can occur at any time during the day.  When my father's dog Jenna got this condition when I was a young vet, it was the only time that I saw my father panic.  My dad was usually a very calm man whom all the animals that I brought home gravitated towards.   But when Jenna started running around in circles suddenly one Saturday afternoon, and then came out with large red lumps all over her body, he was distraught. 

Recently, I received a phone call from one of our animalclinic family members, Bella whose owner was equally distraught.

Meet Bella!  Isn't she beautiful? 

Well she is, but one Sunday morning her owner rang me to say that she had lumps all over her body, and was acting a bit strange.  She was a little bit itchy and appeared distraught. She did not have have any trouble breathing, and she was otherwise alert and aware.

Bella had an anaphylatic reaction to something, the most common or likely was an insect bite (and the most common is a bee sting)
Is this an emergency that needs immediate veterinary attention?

In some pets yes!

  •  If you are unsure, 
  • if your pet is having trouble breathing, or 
  • if their gums are not as pink as they should be
  you need to seek urgent veterinary attention.
However, in many pets, giving them a dose of antihistamines whilst you are organising a vet visit is not going to hurt them, and it may help them.

For a full list of suitable antihistamines and their doses go here. 

Common ones that are easily available from the supermarket as well as your local chemist are:

Claratyne (drug name - loratidine)  Usual strength is 10 mg.  A cat dose is 5 mg (half a tablet), and a dog is anywhere from 1 tablet to 2 tablets once a day.

Telfast (drug name - fexofenatidine) Usual strength is 60 mg, 120 mg and 180 mg capsules.  Dose is 5 to 10 mg/kg, which means a cat would get around 60 mg, and a 20 kg dog an 180 mg capsule.

Please be aware that these medications are not registered for use in animals, and you will accept the use of them in your pet at your own risk - there is always the potential for an adverse reaction in any pet, or worse, no improvement at all.

If at any time you are not sure, or if you vet is easily available, please take them along promptly for emergency treatment.  The medications we give are much stronger, aswell as we are able to give any other supportive medications such as intravenous fluids and oxygen. Yes, it can be that serious, so if in any doubt, please take your pet to a vet asap.

I am Dr Liz, the mad vet from Bellambi.  Do you have any questions (that are not urgent?), feel free to post them here or via email.

And watch those bees!