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Minor allergic reactions would be local reactions on a dog or a cat's body where they have either had a sting or they have come into contact with something that they are allergic to and they have just had a local response. So, for example, you get a sting when you are out in the park or wherever you will get a local swelling to where that bite or sting has actually happened. It will not spread through the rest of your body and, given time and appropriate treatment, it will go down and not cause any further bother to your animal.

In bigger anaphylactic reactions, that is when the body may well be affected, so if you have an animal that has an allergy to penicillin, for example, or to a bite or a bee sting and just has an exaggerated response that is not common, most animals will be fine with that kind of thing, but if your animal does have an anaphylactic reaction where histamine gets sent throughout your body and causes swelling, then that is when there could be trouble and you really need to be seen quite urgently by your vet.

What histamine does, when you get an allergic reaction, the histamine is released into the bloodstream and in these anaphylactic reactions, it travels across over to other parts of the body, not just where the incident has happened, and then you get swelling of organs, or throat, for example, chest, wherever it is, and that can cause difficulty breathing, could cause obstructions, and really needs to be seen as an emergency and treated by the vet quite quickly with anti-histamine and appropriate anti-inflammatory.

With minor allergic reactions, it may be the case that you phone your vet, your animal is fine in itself, he has just got a swelling where the accident happened, where the reaction has happened, and your vet may advise you to give your dog some anti-histamine. It's quite important that you do not give him any anti-histamine. It has got to be one called chlorphenamine, which is the active ingredient of the well-known Piriton. Your vet will, if they know your dog, have an up-to-date weight for your dog, and they will be able to give you a recommended dose of the Piriton to use. Never use it without speaking to your vet, though, and if it still is not resolving, in response to that Piriton, you still then need to be seen by your vet.