Any emergency brings to light the importance of being prepared for any pet emergency. The time to prepare for an emergency is NOT while in the midst of one. Every pet caregiver should have an emergency kit nearby at all times. You also need to have the phone number for, and directions to, the nearest 24-hour pet care facility.
A severe allergic reaction can cause death in a matter of minutes. Swelling of the face and eyes as well as hives all over the body can quickly evolve into swelling of the throat, respiratory distress, and death. Any home care for a pet suffering from a severe allergic reaction is just a stopgap measure until you can rush the animal to the nearest veterinary emergency facility.
I have seen animals have acute allergic reactions from something they ate but that is rare. In my experience, the most severe allergic reactions are caused by insects (bee stings or spider bites) or from vaccines and other injections. In general, the faster the onset of signs, the more severe the reaction will be. A pet that develops hives a couple of hours after a vaccine or bee sting is much less likely to get seriously sick than an animal that reacts within minutes of an incident.
In my experience, the most effective holistic mode of treatment for an allergic reaction is homeopathy. Choosing the correct homeopathic remedy requires matching the specific signs the pet is showing to those the remedy treats. Not every acute allergic reaction manifests exactly the same way in every pet.
The homeopathic remedy Apis mellifica (commonly shortened to Apis) is the main treatment for facial swelling and respiratory difficulty. This remedy is made from the venom of the honey bee.
Arsenicum album (Arsenicum), which is actually made from arsenic, may be helpful if the pet is restless and weak, with or without hives.
Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus tox) comes from poison ivy and is best for hives with severe itching that is relieved by warm applications and accompanied by great restlessness.
Urtica urens (Urtica) is made from the plant stinging nettle and is great for hives accompanied by red patches of skin and an increase in urinations.
For an allergic reaction I would suggest using the 30C potency of the homeopathic remedy of choice and giving a dose every 2-5 minutes until the signs begin to resolve. As soon as you notice improvement, stop giving the remedy and watch the pet closely. If the signs start to come back, give another dose of the remedy. If the remedy has no effect after 2-3 doses then choose another remedy that more closely matches your pet’s signs.
Any situation that causes extreme emotional upset can be helped by a dropper full of the Bach Flower Remedy Rescue Remedy given orally. However, in my experience, this general treatment is too mild to alleviate any severe situation. It actually may be more helpful for the pet caregiver to treat themselves with this remedy so they can maintain their wits while helping their pet.
If the animal loses consciousness from the allergic reaction, the acupressure point GV 26 may help. I talk about its use here.
Have you ever seen an allergic reaction?