Reactive airway and reaction to dog or maybe food?

Posted on: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 12:23am
gabbytiger's picture
Joined: 12/08/2005 - 09:00

I accidentally posted this under off topic a few days ago, so I am reposting!

My son is 2 1/2 years old, PA, TNA, and sesame allergic. He tested positive to some shellfish so we avoid all fish and shellfish (never had a reaction to it but hasn't had it either). He has had several bouts of barky coughing (not croup though) and the MD is calling it reactive airway disease right now, but he is on Pulmicort twice a day via the nebulizer and Singulair with Albuterol for rescue medication. I feel like an asthma diagnosis is right around the corner.

Anyway, we went to a friend's house the other night and she has a new puppy. The puppy jumped right up on my son and licked him--even got him in the mouth--before we could pull him off. My son's face immediately turned red where he had been licked and broke out in small hives all over his face. I quickly gave Benadryl and washed his face, and a few minutes later the barky cough started up horribly. We took him home and gave him albuterol--the coughing stopped, and he was fine.

When he was last tested, he tested negative to dog epithelium (we also have a dog who has licked my son with no problems and he has been around my parents dogs with no problems), and negative to fish. I checked the dog food ingredients (Eukanuba puppy) and the only allergen I recognized was the generic "fish". The dogs do not get peanut butter treats and when my friend knows we are coming over, no one gets peanut butter that day.

We will have him retested when we go back to the allergist in April for dogs and fish, but I can't quite figure out if this was an asthma attack due to licking (I suppose my son swallowed a bit of the dog's saliva (yuck-- I know)), or if this was a reaction to something the dog had eaten (again, travelling down my son's airway on saliva). The few food reactions my son has had have involved coughing. The "reactive airway" attacks have definitely involved coughing. It's all about coughing for us!! I guess there is no way to know--it is just so frustrating! And of course, I worry about this because I have heard people with food allergies run into trouble when they treat an anaphylactic reaction like an asthma attack.

Any thoughts? Any other barky coughers out there? And if so, does your child have asthma?

Posted on: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 1:14am
April in KC's picture
Joined: 08/28/2006 - 09:00

I suspect the dog was a trigger. Hives can accompany environmental triggers, expecially if it's an intense exposure.
I have two sons with different types of asthma. My oldest Nate (6) has mild, persistent asthma (night cough when untreated) and also has PA. My middle son Joe (3) has the reactive airways type of asthma, and he wheezes in response to triggers...usually a cold. (TMI...our doc said his own snot is the trigger!) He does seem to have other environmental triggers, but I don't know what all of them are yet. For example, he was playing outside one time (grass and trees?), got hives (one of the few times he's had them), and started wheezing. We treated the hives with benedryl. A couple of days later, he seemed to have a "cold," we took him to the ped, who listened to his lungs and said they were a little inflamed, probably as the result of the allergic response he'd had a couple of days before.
I suppose it could also be an undiagnosed food allergy to the fish in the dog food, but my first guess would be the dog itself. I'm not sure which you would prefer! I hope you find out something for sure, so you can feel comfortable with having him around the other dogs (or fish if that's what you prefer). Sorry I couldn't be of more help...I just wanted to pass along Joe's experiences with reactive airways and hives / wheeze.
Hope he's doing better!
[This message has been edited by April in KC (edited January 15, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 01/15/2007 - 2:28am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I would call it a dog allergy. My son is the same....he will turn red, wheeze and break out in hives if another(I say another because our dog does not cause these reactions....) licks him. Now my son also has asthma, but dogs aggrivate his asthma very badly, as do cats.....but the kicker, his skin test has alwayse been negative to dogs!!! I just say he's allergic and call it a day. When we go to grandma/grandpas house, he has to use Flovent and Zyrtec before...and usually albuteral during, then we come home and take off all his clothes and put him in the shower(as ALL the kids, so they don't get the dander in our home)....
I think Jake has bulit up a immunity to our dog, the dog stays on the mainlevel(never int he bedrooms) and he isn't allowe dot lick anyone(which he doesn't, if accidentally, we wash our hands right away)....but Jake rarely has any problems with our dog, which is too bad or the dog would be out the door(at my request, NOT hubby's!).

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 12:05am
MimiM's picture
Joined: 10/10/2003 - 09:00

My son does not have asthma or the barking cough but he has broken out several times after being licked by dogs. Several times, we learned afterward that the dog had had peanut butter in some way but there have also been times when there was no peanut and I even checked the dog food/treat labels myself and seen nothing suspicious.
He also tested neg for dog ep. but the problem we have is that I always avoid having him visit other peoples' houses that own a dog because I'm always afraid of this happening again. My mother in law would check all of the labels on all of the dog food that she bought but still whenever we went over to her house, my son would react (even sometimes from contact even though the dog was locked in a separate room). Ever since the dog died, my son never reacts at her house anymore.
I can't remember him ever getting licked without hives happening (although we pretty much keep him away from dogs as much as possible).

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 3:39am
gabbytiger's picture
Joined: 12/08/2005 - 09:00

Hmmmmm. Lots of goof info. The more I think about it, the more I think it was the dog. What we are going to have to learn how to do is differentiate between food reactions and asthma attacks--because like I said, for my son, they both include a barky cough. I feel like I know so little about asthma and need to beef up my knowledge quickly!

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2007 - 4:18am
smudgesgarden's picture
Joined: 02/26/2006 - 09:00

my son is allergic to some dogs but not all. he gets huge hives at the site of the lick, and then some more on his chest. i jokeingley say hes allergic to my mother in laws dog, since that is the most severe cases we have seen. he dosnt get a cough thoe. before we go to my mother in laws house he needs to take zertc and benadryll and then he is fine.
oh he has also tested neg for dog allergy, but our allergist said he could be allergic to one specific breed of dog.
mil dog is a golden lab, and his other reactions have been to other labs. but he dosnt get any reaction if the dog dosnt lick him. even if its a "dirty" dog. my friend has a retrever and she is a farm dog that is all over the place, and dosnt get bathed as often as needed, and john plays with her and has no reaction but the dog dosnt lick at all.
just wanted to share my sons strange reaction to some dogs ...
best of luck

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