Finnigan is a year and 5 months and while he has had his share of problems and cause to go to the vet, he had never up to this point had anything that could be deemed an emergency... until last night. Finnigan is fine, not good as new yet but should be soon.

So last night I was watching tv and Finn was sleeping at my feet as usual until my husband and I walked out on the balcony leaving Finn inside for only about five minutes. He was moved to lay by the back door and as we were walking back in, I saw through the window that Finn ran from the back door to his bed a couple feet away. When we walked in he was laying down with his ears back looking very guilty, but also a little odd. As my husband and I stood there wondering why he looked funny his face puffed up and turned red. I instantly called our vet's office knowing that they gave a number to an emergency vet (it was after 9:30pm) then I called the emergency clinic. They said we should bring him in as it may continue to progress. We didn't have any Benadryl (which is now on my list of things to keep stocked) so all we could do was get him to the clinic as quickly as possible. The clinic was only 6 or 7 minutes away and when we got there his nose, lips, eyes and neck were swollen. His eyes were tearing and his nose felt warm. He looked like a Sharpei. The vet gave him 2 injections at 10pm (Benadryl and Cortisone) and we waited until 11 to see how he did. They said the swelling was going down so they brought him out to sit with us. When he came out the swelling had only gone down a hair. Finn was on my lap for a couple minutes before he suddenly threw up twice. There sat his dinner from 7:30pm. Then he whined so my husband took him outside and he instantly had diarrhea. The vet came out and said it could be part of the allergic reaction though she'd never seen one throw up after getting the shots. She said he looked otherwise healthy and his gums didn't indicate dehydration but if we wanted her to, she could check his blood and put him on IV fluids if he was dehydrated. At this point we had already spent over $200 so we opted not to. She didn't seem to think it was necessary and just told us if he continued to vomit or have diarrhea he'd have to come back. She did however say to withhold food and water for at least the next 12 hours as it could cause vomiting. I understand that but if we are concerned that he may become dehydrated, why are we withholding water? Without knowing whether or not water will cause it to happen again this seemed ridiculous. We took our puffy puppy home with instructions to watch for increased swelling, hives, unusual behavior or the aforementioned vomiting and diarrhea. She also said to continue to give him 50mg of Benadryl every 12 hours for the next 48 hours so we had to pick up some Benadryl from the gas station.

I staid up with Finn because I wasn't comfortable not keeping an eye on him so soon and while he was still so puffy. The vet had said this was a moderate reaction and it may take up to 48 hours to go away. Since it was already 11:30pm, I called and left a message for my work letting them know I would not be there in the morning, assuming I would get no sleep and I would need to be home at 10 this morning to administer his Benadryl. Having just spent $200 and not having any vacation time to use, this was a tough decision to make, but when my boy is in need, I am there.

I gave Finnigan a couple laps of water (don't tell the vet) and we laid on the couch. He slept and I gave hip a little water every hour or so because he really wanted water and kept licking his lips. Finally around 3:30am I fell asleep too then woke 30 minutes later. He was still breathing and nothing unusual was happening so though he was still very puffy (maybe 30% better), we went to bed.

I took him out this morning and he peed but nothing else. I gave him water and half a dog biscuit. He's still puffy (50% less) and his gums seem a little pale and tacky to me. I gave his water bowl back to him and he's doing fine with that. I also gave him his 50mg of Benadryl, and now we wait some more.

The most bothersome part about all this is that I don't know what happened to him. In those few minutes we were outside, what went wrong? We have nothing on the floor aside from shoes and socks so I can't imagine that we dropped something he could have eaten. He was licking his paws just before we went outside so I thought maybe he had walked in something earlier and licking it caused a reaction but that seems unlikely and if it were chemical ingestion I think he would have thrown up sooner and don't know that he would have swelled up so much. The most likely cause seems like an insect, especially because of the rate at which he turned into the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. We are on the 2nd floor and never see bugs in our apartment. In the 2 years we've lived here I think we've had 2 cockroaches and a few tiny spiders, but even those were in the summer. We looked around and didn't find a bug but I guess it's possible that a bug came in and he ate it but not before being bitten or stung. Whatever caused it, I just hope it's not still here. What if that were to happen when no one was home? What would have happened if we didn't take him to the vet? I've been leaving him out of his crate half the day while we're at work and we leave him out when we're out running errands but this has me worried.

So that's our excitement. No sleep, too much money and the most pathetic looking puppy dog. Even so, he was adorable an everyone at the vets office fussed over him and one tech sat on the floor so he could climb in her lap while they waited to see if the shots were going to take effect. I took a picture when we got home and this morning but when he was at his puffiest I wasn't thinking about pictures so I'm sorry I can't share that with you.

Thursday night:

Friday morning:

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Comment by Alice on February 6, 2010 at 5:27pm
We do get spiders here including Black Widows. A spider or a bee seem the most likely cause. We didn't see any but that doesn't mean they are not there. Even a bite from a very small spider could trigger an allergic reaction. We get a lot of Scorpions here too but not really in the middle of the city where we are, it's more in newly developed areas. I have never seen one in or near our apartment. Can you spray for insects when you have dogs? I don't know how you would prevent them from getting into the poison.

I guess we'll never know for sure what got him but I hope it never happens again. He is back to his normal, kissable face, playing, peeing less and eating with no problems. I gave him 25mg Benadryl last night and have not given more. I will if he shows any signs of a reaction but I'd rather not give it if it's not needed, especially at a 50mg dosage.

Thank you all again. I'm so glad to have all of you to talk to. :)
Comment by Geri & Sidney on February 6, 2010 at 4:23pm
I now have a box of Benadryl in my doggie first aid box and a box in my hiking backpack, thanks to all the great advice posted here. Better to be prepared, just in case!
Comment by Alyssa & Chris W. on February 6, 2010 at 12:09pm
Oh my goodness! I'm glad he's doing ok now. That sounds like it was so scary. I hope nothing like that ever happens to him again. I think the hardest part is not knowing what happened. :-\
Comment by Jenn on February 6, 2010 at 8:21am
Poor little guy. It's always scary when something like this happens. You become extremely paranoid about everything. My little Dakota decided to test her limits several times as a puppy, landing her self in "emergency" vet visits on more than one occasion. Just relax the best you can. I know it's hard, but think about all the dogs that get through life without problems! Perhaps Finn has had his fair share now. Good luck and keep us posted!
Comment by Geri & Sidney on February 6, 2010 at 12:46am
They say you are always within 3 feet of a spider...
We have them inside our home all the time, unfortunately. I think its a SoCal thing. Black widows too >_/body>
Comment by Mickey & Mushu & Essa on February 6, 2010 at 12:27am
Wow, what a night you had. I am glad Finn is ok. Mushu went through an insect phase when she was a puppy. She "played" with all kinds of flying insects including several bees until they don't move any more. She never got stung. So could it be some kind of spider instead?
Comment by John Wolff on February 5, 2010 at 11:53pm
So: are dogs known to have the same kinds of allergic/anaphylactic shock reactions to honeybee stings as humans are?
I've heard that honeybees kill more people in the US each year than any other wild animal. Not sure if wasps are included in this.

Some spiders (Brown Recluse, Hobo) can cause nasty bites with necrosis, but I've not heard of strong allergic reactions to them. Black widow? I don't think you'd expect one in your house.
Comment by Alice on February 5, 2010 at 7:43pm
Thank you all for the information and Joanna, I will keep my eye out for recurring side effects. My best guess is that it was a bug and most likely he bit it (as animals love to do) and it did bite or sting his mouth. Not having seen any bugs in our apartment though that does worry me, especially to leave him home alone and risk having that happen when we're away. We're hopefully moving into a house in the next couple months and that will probably worry me more since he will then have access to a yard, but most dogs do so I can't dwell on the what if's" too much, although if there is trouble, Finn will find it. I think Kerry was right about him being the Dennis the Menace of dogs or maybe more of a Steve Urkel. :)

I first gave Finn the 25 mg tablet and there was still swelling. After giving him the second 25mg tab two hours later the swelling went down to almost nothing. 50mg is high, I wouldn't even take that much but it obviously helped which is why the vet recommended it. We are to keep giving 50mg every 12 hours for the next 48 hours.

Our regular vet called because the emergency vet informed them that we brought Finn in last night and they wanted to know how he was. I told them and they did say that the injections he received would cause him o pee more and that he may not want food or water. he definitely wants water and I'm sure he wants food but I haven't given him more yet. After discovering that he had thrown up during the night I'm being very cautious with the food. I may give him half of his dinner and see how that goes. I'm glad it's I'll be bale to keep an eye on him over the weekend at least.

I always have Benadryl at home but I have the one with decongestant in it (the blue pill) which he cannot have. I'll have to put together a doggy first aid kit.
Comment by Sam Tsang on February 5, 2010 at 7:16pm
Let me clarify a few things. I AM NOT a vet, only worked as a PA, so all the info is human protocol :)

Diphenhydramine dosage should be 1mg per lb. Since pembroke is around 25-28 lbs, like John said: a regular 25mg diphenhydramine tablet should be sufficient. This is a dosage to keep the swelling down, not for emergency lifesaving use. Always tell your vet what type of OTC and Rx you've given thus far.

In Alice's case, it was an emergency, Finn swelled up like a shar pei, intravenous 40mg diphenhydramine was used because it works way faster than a tablet. The purpose was to keep the airway open.

An epi-pen is a measured dose of epinephrine, it comes in 2 sizes, adult (60lb+) and jr (under 60lb), they are 60-100 bucks a shot and have an expiration date, it can save a life by opening the airway temporary, you still need to take the patient to the emergency room for proper treatment. Learn how to use an epi-pen properly. The pen is prescription only, you can get one via your vet or physician.

Prednisone is a steroid, it's used in rounds and the side effects are awful, always follow your vet's instruction.

An emergency
Comment by Joanna Kimball on February 5, 2010 at 7:08pm
I am glad he is doing better.

Just FYI, he may continue to react for several days or even a week or more. Watch his belly and his face for hives and his face for swelling, and give the benadryl again anytime he looks like he's starting to flare up again. I've had dogs get bad insect bites before and the ones that caused facial swelling like that often seem to cause recurrent reactions.

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