Hives, Wheals, Urticaria, Angioedema, Oh My…
Updated: Mar 11, 2018
In plain English, urticaria (rash) ,wheals (circular swelling lesions on the skin) inflamed skin, and angioedema (swollen face) are all the quintessential symptoms of what we refer to as a “Hypersensitivity Reaction” or severe “ allergic reaction.” If you see these symptoms on your dog, go to your closest Veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.
This is an extreme allergic reaction that needs to be seen right away. This can be caused by anything that your animal is highly allergic to including food, plants, insect bites, and even reactions to vaccinations. These pictures are taken of patients that I have seen in the ER. The reason why we recommend seeking immediate medical care is that this swelling can also take place in the respiratory tract in the larynx (throat) and lungs. Many inflammatory factors can be released that can lead to wheezing and dyspnea ( difficulty breathing). We treat Hypersensitivity Reactions with Antihistamines, Anti-Inflammatory drugs, and Epinephrine.
If this is an extreme form of Hypersensitivity Reaction, also known as Anaphylaxis, we may need to help with breathing by supplementing with oxygen and use of drugs that help open up the airways ( bronchodilators, respiratory therapy). Most of the time, after a couple of injections, the swelling goes down and the animal is almost back to normal within about 45 minutes as was the case with the patients in these pictures.