Allergic Reactions in Your Pet: What to Watch Out For

Allergic Reactions in Your Pet: What to Watch Out For

This poor guy came to AHDC after his owners noticed his face and eyes were swelling. We do not know what caused the swelling, but after treatment by the AHDC team, this patient’s face returned to normal. Severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylactic reactions, can occur in dogs and cats (more common in dogs). The symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction is swelling around the eyes, muzzle/lips, severe itchiness and bumps that form under the skin. Boxers and pitbulls are most often affected with the type of reaction that forms large bumps under the skin. In our patient to the left, note the swelling around his eyes and lips. In addition to facial swelling and skin bumps, other signs include fast heart rate, excitability, pale gums, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and most concerning, sudden collapse. There are many causes of severe allergic reactions, although sometimes the cause is never found for an individual patient. Some causes include insect bites or stings, snake bites, fabric softeners or other chemicals or even some food ingredients. Anaphylactic reactions, although quite uncommon, are potentially life-threatening and need medical attention immediately. Once your pet arrives at the hospital, they will likely be taken to the treatment area to immediately be assessed by one of our veterinarians. One of our veterinarians will likely give injections of a steroid, an antihistamine and an antacid (it is very important to let the veterinary team know if your pet is currently taking any medications especially a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or aspirin). The steroid and the antihistamine will stop the swelling and itchiness. The antacid protects the GI tract during this shocking condition in the pet. In severe cases, the veterinary staff may need to place an IV catheter and give IV fluids. The allergic reaction will likely start to resolve in the first 1-2 hours and completely over the next 24 hours. The veterinarian will likely prescribe some medications to give to the pet for the next few days at home. It is possible for an allergic reaction of this type to happen again if they are exposed to the cause, but cases in which the cause is unknown, may never have it occur again.

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Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Bob  Sarsfield Photo
    Dr. Bob Sarsfield
    Veterinarian in Harrisburg, PA The chief medical officer and owner and has been with the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County since 1979. He started out working in the kennel and then attended Penn State University, which he graduated from in 1985. He received his DVM from Purdue University in 1989. His professional areas of interest include feline and canine medicine and surgery, ultrasound, and low level laser therapy. Contact the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County today and make an appointment ...
  • Dr. Heather  Balmer Photo
    Dr. Heather Balmer
    Dr. Heather Balmer (Zanes) is managing veterinarian and has been with the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County since 1999. Dr. Balmer first worked as a kennel assistant and then as a veterinary technician assistant. She received her undergraduate degree from Juniata College and her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. Dr. Balmer was raised in Penbrook but currently lives with her husband, Matt, and grandmother in Hummelstown along with their four-legged ...
  • Dr. Kelly  Allen Photo
    Dr. Kelly Allen
    Dr. Kelly Allen joined the staff of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in 2011. She is a graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA. She enjoys talking to clients about their furry family members. Dr. Allen has a keen interest in animal behavior and enjoys helping new dog and cat owners as they experience the joy (and sometimes frustrations) of introducing an animal into the family. She lives with her husband, Todd, and one ...
  • Dr. Jennifer  Fletcher Eckenrode Photo
    Dr. Jennifer Fletcher Eckenrode
    Dr. Jennifer Fletcher Eckenrode, CCRT joined the staff of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in 2011. She attended Colorado State University where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Originally from Boston, Dr. Fletcher grew up in Michigan. She has lived in California, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, and even Perth, Australia. She lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband (also a veterinarian!) and daughter, their Heeler-Lab mix, Colbie, ...
  • Dr. Audrey  Zajac Photo
    Dr. Audrey Zajac
    Dr. Audrey Zajac joined the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in July, 2013. She became interested in animals at a young age, spending her summers working on her grandparents’ dairy farm and riding horses at 12 years old. Dr. Zajac attended King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and headed off to Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, AL. After graduation, she returned to PA in 2009 where she worked with dogs, cats, and horses ...
  • Dr. Whitney  Wolfgang Photo
    Dr. Whitney Wolfgang
    Dr. Whitney Wolfgang joined the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in June 2016. Growing up in Hummelstown, PA, Dr. Wolfgang always knew she wanted to work with animals in some capacity. Early in her college career, she fell in love with veterinary medicine. She graduated from Towson University in Maryland with a dual degree in Biology and Animal Behavior. She traveled to South Africa for a veterinary experience with local community outreach and wildlife veterinary medicine. Dr. Wolfgang earned ...
  • Dr. Lloyd V.  Reitz, Jr. Photo
    Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz, Jr.
    Dr. Lloyd V. Reitz, Jr. grew up on his family’s fourth-generation dairy farm in Shamokin, PA. In addition to caring for cows, he grew up with a wide variety animals, including horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, and even a couple of emus. Dr. Reitz pursued a degree in Biology from Messiah College, graduating in 2001. He then continued his education at Bucknell University, obtaining a Master’s of Science in Cellular Biology in 2004. After receiving his M.S., he moved to Richmond, VA, and ...
  • Dr. Jamie  Putt Photo
    Dr. Jamie Putt
    Dr. Jamie Putt is a native of Harrisburg, PA. She obtained her B.S. in Animal Bioscience from Pennsylvania State University in 2001. She attended veterinary school at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and obtained her D.V.M. in 2005. Dr. Putt is a current active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry, the mission of which is to educate the public about the importance of oral health in animals. Her special ...
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