Allergic to Flea Treatment? (treating hives in dogs)

Allergic reactions are pretty uncommon, but if your dog suddenly develops severe itching and skin swelling do you know what to do?

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I went to the vet and my puppy received a dosage of Revolution for fleas. After that his scratching got worst and he got bumps on his stomach and ears. I don’t know what to do to stop this reaction or could it be something else? I have applied cortisone to try to calm his itching.

Melissa writes in with the next question and she says that she went to the vet with her puppy who received a dose of Revolution for fleas and after that his scratching actually got worse. He got bumps on his stomach and ears and she didn't know what to do to stop this reaction or could it be something else?

She's applied cortisone to try and calm his itching, but what's the cause and what can we do to prevent these or to treat these lumps and to treat the itching that the little puppy has developed.

Flea Treatment Side Effects

So we'll start off by saying that Revolution contains the active ingredient called selamectin, and it's primarily used to treat and prevent flea infestations, although it's also active against some other parasites as well. And like any drug, as I have already discussed in the previous question about the isoxazoline class of drugs which includes Bravecto, for any drug there's a small risk of side effects.

Allergic reaction

It really does sound like this puppy has had an allergic reaction to the Revolution that's caused itchiness and hives.

Of course it could be that the dog was also stung by a bee or had an insect bite or something at a very similar time and that's caused the reaction. We can't say for certain that it was the Revolution, although I'm not a big fan of coincidences and that would have to be up there in the concerns.

Revolution side effects

Now, while an allergic reaction is a possibility, there are other potential side effects to selamectin and that includes, going off food, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea. You can even get labored breathing, twitching and even seizures if we're having an allergic reaction to any kind of product, or any insect bite or anything like that.

These side effects, they really are considered very rare and generally affecting less than 1 in 10,000 animals so it's not very common.

Treating an Allergic Reaction in Dogs

Treatment of an allergy really depends on how severe it is and treatment in dogs can include a number of different things.

It can include antihistamines, and that can be an antihistamine injection or tablet’s or creams, and also steroids and that can again be by injection, it could be tablets, and creams.

If a dog is having a severe allergic reaction, then adrenaline is going to be the thing to give. So just like with people who have peanut allergies, for example, they'll carry an EpiPen around and that contains adrenaline which is for the treatment of severe reactions. So in the same way if we've got a dog or a cat who's having a severe allergic reaction, then adrenaline may be something that we need.

Although it's very, very rare that that's the case and the best treatment is going to be based on an examination of the patient by the vet to see what works best.

Also if we know that a dog has had allergies, if we're talking about something like to a bee sting, and they just get a little bit of itchiness and a bit of hives, then it would be appropriate to have some treatment on hand to give without needing to necessarily consult with your vet. Provided of course that the treatment was doing the job and things weren't getting worse despite giving that treatment.

Preventing future reactions

Now what do we do with this puppy? I think that's based on the vet’s examination. It doesn't sound like it was a severe enough reaction to need any more serious intervention and injections, but there are a number of things that can be given.

We also want to avoid this happening in the future, obviously. So it might be a good idea to avoid this class of drug in the future in this specific puppy.

Talk to your vet about which other products are appropriate and that's really going to depend on where you are in the world, depend on which parasites are present in your local area and what the disease risk is for diseases that are carried by parasites as they are different. Parasites can be fleas, it can be ticks, it can be sandflies and diseases can be things like Heartworm Leishmania, and Lyme disease.

So there's a number of different things to consider and depending on all of those risks depends really on what the best class and the best product to use in your specific individual dog in your specific individual area.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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