Urticaria and anaphylaxis

1st April 2017


Urticaria (also known as hives) is a common outcome to an allergic reaction. You’ll see small raised bumps in the skin, which in short haired breeds are particularly noticeable as the hair will stand proud.

They are particularly evident on the face, muzzle, forehead, above the eyes and over the ribs. They are often triggered by abnormal reactions to drugs, chemicals, insect bites and food with the swellings forming within just 15 minutes.

The good news is that these reactions are not normally life-threatening and will go away by themselves. Very occasionally, the swelling can affect the throat and larynx and make breathing difficult.


Has your pet ever had urticaria?

If you think you’ve come across this before, it’s a good idea to let us know. Next time you are in, mention it to the vet so we can discuss the possible causes.



A more severe allergic problem, called an anaphylactic reaction, is extremely dangerous and needs immediate veterinary attention.

Bees, wasps, antibiotics, vaccines, certain drugs and foods can cause anaphylaxis in susceptible animals. The most common symptoms to look out for are sudden onset vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, blue coloured tongue, pale gums, cold extremities and fitting.

If you notice any of these signs and you think your pet is suffering from an allergic reaction, there is no time to lose. You should call us immediately.

Luckily anaphylactic reactions are extremely rare.