As many of you know, my pugs mean everything to me. Mavis, in particular, is my emotional support animal and I’ve never felt this connected to an animal in my life. She is my baby, my first dog raised on my own, and I would go to the end of the world to make sure she is healthy and happy. It began Thursday morning shortly after awakening. I noticed Mavis’s eyes and mouth had become swollen. I immediately gave half of a 25mg Benadryl, knowing the exact dosage to give (1mg – per body weight) from my days as a vet assistant. I thought things would clear up and that this reaction was a result of some type of insect sting or bite, but things only began to progress for the worse.
Around the time my fiancé, Caleb, came home for lunch at 12pm, Mavis rapidly began to deteriorate. She began breaking out in hives all over her body and swelling heavily. We rushed her to the nearest veterinarian (Animal Medical Center in Copperas Cove), who wasn’t quite sure what was causing this, but was concerned. Mavis was given dexamethasone, a steroid injection that lasts 24 hours, to help her immune system fight this. After waiting for her reactions to calm down a bit, we were “discharged” and told to keep giving Benadryl every 8 hours until hives are gone for 24 hours and to keep a close eye on her.
We were hopeful that this was the end of things and that she would start getting better with the steroid injection. She had been carefully watched the entire day, so we were racking our brains for an explanation as to why she was having such a serious allergic reaction. Things seemed to be okay until around 7:30 pm after Mavis ate. She again began swelling heavily on her face and hives covered her legs and stomach. We gave another half of a Benadryl and called one of her veterinarians to consult. After ruling out that the reaction most likely would not have been caused by an insect (due to all over swelling and hives and not localized to a specific location), we began thinking of things Mavis ingested. Since we watch her so carefully during the day and this first reaction happened between 5-9 am in the morning after eating and again around 7:30 pm after eating, we were led to believe that this is associated from her meal time.
She had been eating the same food for about three months, but we had just purchased plastic containers to store her food in and introduced it just a couple days prior. The next morning I took Mavis back into the vet for oral steroids because her hives did not dissipate. The next couple of days she battled continuos hives. We gave Benadryl every 8 hours and her steroid every 12 hours as directed, but she didn’t seem to improve much, other than reduced swelling. We bathed her in oatmeal shampoo and stopped her dog food in fear it may be food allergies. The shampoo helped a good deal with her skin irritation and have made quite a few changed to help prevent or further a reaction like this.
We believe that this is linked to the plastic containers we purchased to store her pet food in. I bought an IRIS 3-Piece Airtight Pet Food Container Combo and this is when things began. We cannot know for sure what the exact cause is or if she has a plastic allergy, but these containers are DANGEROUS. Plastic often causes issues with animals and can contain toxins. Since then, we have switched to all glass containers. Mavis and Eleven both use metal eating bowls and ceramic water bowls. We are avoiding plastic in all their food and water intake, as well as toys, just in case this is what has caused her issues.
Mavis is just now starting to feel better after three visits to the vet and quite a lot of medication. She is now eating homemade dog food that Caleb and I spent hours preparing (I am happy to share if any of my readers are interested) and carrots and green beans as snacks, instead of processed treats, to rule out food allergies. We additionally changed our detergent to an allergen free brand and washed all of her bedding and toys to rule out chemicals in the detergent. She is not allowed to go outside currently, except for when she needs to potty (front yard only) to ensure that outside allergens are not making her sick.
We are doing our best to get both of our pups healthy. Mavis is nearly back to 100% after four days of intense reactions, but now our little baby has coccidia bacteria in her intestines, that she got from her litter. Hopefully it should clear up soon with treatment and she will be back to good as well. It’s just been a tough week for us girls!
Cass, Mav, and Ele