Allergies by Carroll H Weiss
The information that follows has been kindly provided by Carroll H Weiss, an expert on canine disorders and particularly those affecting Dalmatians.
Subject: : URTICARIA ("HIVES")
I always caution owners who take symptoms like "bumps" and project their impressions into a diagnosis without realizing some symptoms like bumps mimic a host of different underlying diagnoses.
The most loving and well-meaning owner can embark on an over-the-counter treatment of what they're convinced is the diagnosis and many dogs will worsen because of wrong or misguided treatment. On the other hand, today's rising costs of a vet visit is certainly reason to understandably hesitate to take the animal to a vet anytime the slightest symptom is seen.
Despite my concern at wrong diagnoses by any non-vet (and some vets,too, unfortunately), I must acknowledge my general impression is that "bumps" on Dalmatians most times are urticaria ("hives") and accordingly most times, they are symptoms of an underlying allergic/sensitivity reaction of the skin and coat to an offending allergen.
Various immediate treatments are today available for the hives. For prevention,it is important for the Dal's owner to be a medical detective and try to determine what the dog did, ate, walked through shortly before the onset of the hive reaction so that the underlying culprit can be identified and hopefully avoided for the future.
Hives can be localized to one area or bodywide. Some Dalmatians, for example, have extremely severe allergy to flea saliva and the bite of one flea will induce a bodywide cluster of hives, whereas the flea sensitivity is absent in a littermate who need a group of fleas and will develop hives only in that area.
But a *BODYWIDE* reaction, regardless of the underlying culprit, tells you the dog is extremely sensitive and has to be watched for future bodywide reactions.
Itching, one of the most apparent confirmations to an allergic reaction taking place, may be caused by the hive but often is surprisingly absent.
If (repeat "if") the bumps are indeed hives, most types of hives generally are self-limiting with or without treatment and will run their course UNLESS the dog comes in repetitive contact daily with the causative allergens (airborne pollens, fleabites, allergenic plants, some drugs, and the list goes on ad infinitum). But in very rare (thank goodness) instances the hives continue to progress and worsen in severity, and the underlying bodywide allergic reaction can penetrate to other body areas such as the throat where the "internal" hives can start throttling the dog's air intake and a life threatening situation quickly occurs. (This type of severity can be IMMEDIATELY relieved by an injection of adrenalin in an emergency room...)
For allergy-induced hives, treatment can be both symptomatic on a short time basis and/or preventative for long time avoidance (removing food allergens from the Dal's diet, desensitization for airborne pollens, dust mites, etc).
Antihistamines like Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton (both available as over-the-counter drugs) are very effective in relieving allergic symptoms like itching plus suppressing the allergic reactions while the offending culprits are present in the Dal's environment. They do nothing for prevention and are only symptomatic relief but in some Dals, that alone can be very welcome for the dog and the owner.
In humans, the complexity of this is shown by a history of hive reactions necessitating consult with both an
allergist and a dermatologist. In closing, please be reminded Susie Hughes' excellent article including hive
like reactions is linked on the DCA homepage for printout and reference:
The following useful article on allergies can be viewed and printed as a PDF file:- "Allergic Skin Diseases" by Lowell Ackerman published in 1990 and annotated by Carroll H Weiss.
Subject: Teldane and other antihistamines
The classical textbook allergic reaction involves the release within tissues of "histamine," a chemical which causes the detectable symptoms we all know as "allergic." In skin, the itching and redness of allergic dermatoses, the itching and tearing and conjunctivitis of eye allergies,etc.
It follows that the class of drugs known as "anti-histamines" work as their name implies. They're sort of antidotes to the results of histamine-release within tissues. That said, many antihistamines available without a Rx are being combined by the poverty-stricken <VBG>drug industry with decongestants, aspirin, cough suppressants, etc. to produce over-the-counter "shotgun" formulations for the common cold and flu.
BUT!!! In many instances, our Dalmatians don't need the other ingredients and in certain instances, the ingredients added to the basic antihistamine can be harmful to the patients, human or canine. The most recent example here in the U.S. was that of phenylpropanolamine (PPL) added to the combo products. A sufficient number of humans taking them for flu started having strokes (one of our longtime Dalmatian breeders, a lovely lady, had a massive stroke) and the Food & Drug Administration finally removed all non-Rx combo products off of drugstore shelves.
Ironically, PPL - alone - has been used for decades (and very successfully) for urinary incontinence of unknown cause in female dogs. It's been reported to be safer than the female sex hormone (estrogen) sometimes prescribed for that problem. Happily, PPL is still available in the U.S. for vets to prescribe for the incontinence.
Antihistamines exert an anti-itching effect often. That, alone, can bebeneficial when the Dal is scratching and biting incessantly because of fleas and skin allergies, although only a percentage of dogs will benefit from antihistamines for such purposes. Dr. Susanne Hughes, a nationally prominent Dalmatian breeder and superb vet in North Carolina, wrote a wonderful generalized article about common Dalmatian skin problems including the now-debunked "Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome." It'sonline at the following url: http://www.thedca.org/derm.html
The antihistamine Dr. Hughes recommends, "Chlor-Trimeton" (generic name = chlorpheniramine maleate) was discovered by the drug company for whom I worked for ten years. I thus knew this specific drug is very "safe" from humans unsuccessfully attempting suicide with entire bottles-full.
That's very reassuring to me when I have to play around and increase itsdosage for one of my Dals to see if a higher one will stop the allergic and/or itching symptoms. My current male has those and, happily, has stopped experiencing whatever is causing the itch with one 12 mg. Chlor-Trimeton in the AM and one at PM. I stop it every now and then to see if the biting returns and, it does, so he goes back on the drug again.
I'm not too happy with the ongoing medication but, still, I at least know this specific one has a history of above-average safety in long-term use as well as high dosages.
Finally, I have another excellent article on dog allergies for anyone who'll email me privately.
Carroll H. Weiss
Dealing With Allergy to Dogs
Some useful information from the welfare service regarding people and children who are allergic to dogs which may be useful to know:
"We get dogs into Welfare because of allergies but Petal Cleanse works in a lot of cases. It is just a l otion which is wiped on the dog. Good Housekeeping has said that in most cases it reduces the symptoms so much that little or no medication is required. The product is endorsed by the charity Allergy UK".
A useful tip if you know of anyone who suffers this problem.