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Unfortunately I found out my BC has a moderate bee allergy with symptoms that have bordered on anaphylactic shock. The emergency vet is advising that we have an epipen on hand (and doing everything possible to keep her away from bees) because her symptoms have progressed from the first bee sting last summer. However, my regular vet is on the fence because her initial symptom is quite generic which could lead to giving the epipen when it is not needed. My regular vet thought was to start with benadryl because she feels the epipen also has some negative side effects. Once stung, epipen or benadryl she would still need to be seen by the vet to be monitored.


She was stung last summer (which I saw) and this second time I did not see. Last summer her fist symptom was vomiting followed by being lethargic. This time it was vomiting again, then lethargic, finally heavy breathing and unsteady/drunken like gait which led to collapsing. Once at the emergency vet she began to swell and had a few hive like bumps on her face. They then gave her benadryl and a steroid.


I tried doing some research but have not found much about epipens for dogs. With people the rule of thumb seems to be if there are two or more systems of the body being affected, then you give the epipen because it could mean there is a strong indication of a systemic reaction. Also there seems to be a conflict with using benadryl first because it can potentially mask the anaphylactic reaction. And it seems you have a 30 min window to give the epipen or it may not work. In my case, the closest emergency vet is about 30 min away so that does not leave much time for a wait and see approach.


I just don't know if this information would hold true for dogs as well. The emergency vet did say that allergies for dogs are similar to humans.


If anyone has used an epipen on a dog or has any information, it would be greatly appreciated as I don't know which way to go with this.

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I don't have any experience, except mild stuff, with dog allergic reactions. I'm a paramedic and can give you the low down on a human reaction. If the vet says it is similar to humans, the info may help.


In humans, bee stings can progress to an uncontrolable state VERY quickly and get worse with every sting. There is a point where if an epi-pen and immediate care is not avaiable at the moment of the sting, death is imminent. No one knows when this kind of reaction will actually occur. It's a crap shoot.


In a human, any sign of, or combination of, respitory compromise, swelling, tongue or face numbness, lethargy gets the epi-pen followed by benadryl and a steroid like dexamethisone (sp?) Some patients know exactly what will happen to them and don't even wait for a symptom before injecting themselves because they want to stay ahead of the symptoms.


IMO, at first sign of a sting in your dog give her a benadryl. It is slow acting. If ANY of the signs i mentioned above show up, give her the epi-pen in a large muscle group. Do not wait to see if the benadryl works because it may be too late. Anaphylaxis is 100% deadly if the airway closes off due to swelling. I have seen it in a human more than once and there is a point of no return. Epi wears off very quickly with minimal after effects. I would rather be ahead of the game than behind the 8 ball racing to vets office because you waited too long. Anaphylaxis is no joke.


Talk with the E-vet about every possible outcome and also ask for literature. Vets are like any people doctor. They vary in how they practice, in what they believe and how to treat a patient. You will be the one with the dog when they are stung initially, not the vet. Asking a 3rd vet would not be out of the question on this one before making the proper decision. Minutes could mean the differance between life and death in the decision.


I hope this helps. Good luck.

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to say thanks so much for the reply. It was really helpful. I think I will do lots of asking around. For now, I am keeping her out of situations where bees frequent the most and waiting till evenings to take her out for walks. She is not happy about it, but I would rather that than an even more serious reaction. I know even with being as cautious as I have been, something can still go wrong so I would really like to have a plan in place.

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