Dog Has Hives

by Dasha

Dog Has Hives on Head

Dog Has Hives on Head

My dog has hives on his head. Once a week or rarely one lesion occurs on his head or muzzle. Sometimes they occur on the abdomen. But every time it is just one lesion. They appear rapidly and disappear in few hours.

For example - we came in from a walk in the evening and in several minutes I noticed hives on his head, in the morning he doesn't have it. It isn't connected with our home, because hives occur when we live at our flat, or in the country house.

A month ago we were traveling to Switzerland and changed everything (food, bed, environment), but one hive occurred on his head even in Switzerland.

My dog has an elevated ALT level. And I started to do all tests after he had a pustular rush this summer. I wrote here a couple of times and all vets told me not to worry. So now we are on SAMe and last test showed ALT-95 U/l, but CK was 153 U/l (ref.less than 90). Vet said that it is nearly normal and we do not have to do anything. Dog also had eosinophiles - 8%.

I want to ask you can these dog hives be connected with any internal disease or it is just a contact allergy? Do we need additional tests? Do we have to get treatment?

My dog is 3,5 years, he didn't have any problems before. I still don't have a good answer about his liver. I afraid that he has a serious health problem and skin is just a manifestation of it.

Thank you.

Editor Comment Dog has hives on head

Dear Dasha,

Thank you for your question.

Let me address your dog’s blood work results first. I, too, am not terribly concerned about an ALT of 95 and a CK of 153. If your dog was my patient and
his physical exam and general well-being was unremarkable I would just monitor the situation, perhaps repeating blood work every 6-12 months or so. If these values did climb, then I would follow up on them.

Your dog’s elevated eosinophil count is interesting, however, because eosinophils usually increase in response to allergies, which fits with the hives, or parasitism. So after ruling out internal and external parasites with a physical, fecal examination, heartworm test, and maybe even some empiric treatment for some of the more hard to diagnose parasites, I would have to guess that your dog is allergic to one or more things that he regularly comes in contact with.

Dogs can develop hives because of something in the environment (e.g., pollen, dust mites, mold spores, etc.) but this does seem less likely since he’s had them after being in several, very different locations.

I can’t say for sure, of course, but I’d put money on him being allergic to something in his food. I know you switched his food, but surely there was some ingredient in common (e.g., a preservative, beef, corn, etc.) between the two. Take a look also at any treats that you give, grooming products, etc.

If you are interested in pursuing this, you could try him on a limited antigen diet (e.g., duck and potato). These are generally less allergenic than regular foods. He would have to eat NOTHING but this food (and water) for at least 6-8 weeks for you to know whether the hives are related to his diet.

Giving an anti-histamine like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) could also help. Talk to your veterinarian about what the correct dose for your dog would be. Allergy testing is another option, but since the hives themselves are not really dangerous, no one would blame you for just taking a wait and see attitude with this problem as well.

Jennifer Coates, DVM

Comments for Dog Has Hives

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Apr 17, 2012
why won't my hives go away
by: prince in gila county

We give him benedryl and tried changing his diet we have did all of the things told to us to do. His hives seem to go away and then in the middle of the night in our room with our door closed no food or anything for him to get into. Than them darn hives cover him from head to toe and he is itching like crazy. What can we do for him??

Jan 18, 2011
DOg has hives
by: Dasha

Thank you very much for answer and comments.
My dog is on natural food all the time. I make him cereal with veal, turkey, vegetables (beet, cabbage, carrot).
Concertning the worms, I gave him Melbimax when all that started.
And recently I found out that after he scratches himself small nodules begin to apper under the skin in that areas. They dissapear in few days.
Can it be connected with liver?

Jan 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

My son's Lab had a similar problem with hives. It turned out that after alot of testing, medications etc...she had multiple allergies to her food. We put her on Natural Life Dog Food and she has not had any episodes in nearly 2 years.

So you might want to just start with changing your dog's food.


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