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Published: Nov 02, 2011

Many humans have allergic reactions, ranging from mild to severe. Our pets can also experience these severe reactions which can prove to be fatal if not properly treated. Anaphylactic reactions are serious conditions that occur when a pet's body reacts negatively to a foreign substance.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, before a pet has an anaphylactic reaction, it will have had previous exposure to the substance its body is attacking. For example, a dog that is stung by a bee may later develop hypersensitivity to bee stings, so if it is stung again later, it may have anaphylaxis.

Signs that a dog or cat may be suffering an anaphylactic reaction include the animal itching its skin intensely, red skin or swelling similar to hives in humans, excessive salivation or drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and slowed or difficulty breathing. If an owner notices any of these signs, they should bring their pet to the veterinarian health clinic immediately.

A severe allergic reaction is deemed a medical emergency and immediate treatments are necessary to prevent severe complications and even death, according to VCA. While at the vet's office, an animal will first be stabilized to minimize shock, its airway and blood pressure will be watched as fluids and emergency drugs are administered. The animal will then most likely need to spend a period of observation at the clinic where it will be closely monitored.