DOI: 10.1111/vec.13319 ISSN:

Retrospective evaluation of hypersensitivity reactions and anaphylaxis in dogs (2003–2014): 86 cases

Fabrice T. J. Fosset, Benjamin E. G. Lucas, Cassandra L. Wolsic, Audrey C. Billhymer, Sidonie N. Lavergne
  • General Veterinary



To characterize anaphylactic reactions in dogs, including clinical signs, severity, treatments, prognosis, and estimated incidence. To determine whether glucocorticoids influence clinical recovery and survival.


Retrospective study between January 1, 2003 and April 28, 2014.


University teaching hospital.


Eighty‐six dogs treated for a type I hypersensitivity reaction. Nineteen dogs fulfilled the criteria for anaphylaxis, and 67 dogs had mild cutaneous reactions.



Measurements and Main Results

The estimated incidence was 0.04% for anaphylaxis and 0.15% for mild hypersensitivity reactions. The female:male ratio (2.3:1) was significantly higher (P = 0.032) compared to our source population (ratio of 1:1.158). Vaccines were the most frequent trigger for anaphylaxis (57.9%) and mild hypersensitivity reactions (28.4%). Seventy‐four (86%) dogs had cutaneous signs, and 11 (57.9%) dogs with anaphylaxis had no cutaneous signs reported. Forty‐two (48.8%) dogs received both an H1 antagonist and a glucocorticoid, 34 (39.5%) dogs received an H1 antagonist only, and 6 (6.9%) dogs received a glucocorticoid only. The majority of the dogs survived, and 1 was euthanized due to complications. Clinical signs associated with nonsurvival included respiratory signs (P = 0.006), particularly respiratory distress (P < 0.00001) and cyanosis (P < 0.00001), and circulatory shock (P = 0.005). The analysis of the interaction between etiology, clinical signs, treatment, and outcome did not show any association between pairs of variables.


In the current study, anaphylaxis had a relatively good prognosis, and cutaneous signs were not always present. Based on the present data, the use of glucocorticoids to treat mild type I hypersensitivity reactions and anaphylaxis in dogs was not associated with clinical improvement or survival.

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