Sniff sniff. I am Gracie, the wonder dog! Sniff sniff. Some people and even a few other animals think I am just an ordinary, adorable dog. They’re wrong, wrong, wrong. I am NOT just a dog. No siree. I am the defender! I am Detective Gracie, the wonder dog! Ohhhhh…what is that? How can it be in the sky? Why doesn’t it have paws? Why is it so little? What is that buzzing noise it is making? It looks pretty fast, but I can get it. It might be after my humans. I’ll show it who’s boss around here. Maybe it tastes good. Trot jump leap. Trot jump leaaap! Got it! Gulp.

OWWWWW! Mom! Help! Mommmmmmm!
“Oh Gracie. Your face is so swollen. Your eyes and lips are so puffy. What did you get into out there? We better go to Greendale Village Vet and see Dr. Reinke.”

Yippee! The vet! Maybe we can look at the fish, sniff some other dogs, check out a cat or two and visit Dr. Reinke. She’s usually good for an ear massage.

“Well, hello, Gracie,” said Dr. Ellen Reinke, as she started examining the defender whose face was swollen. “It looks like you may have been negotiating your territory with a bee or a wasp. Hmmm. Let’s take a look.”

Dr. Reinke sure is good at ear massages. She smells pretty interesting, too. Today she smells like eau de retriever.
“I don’t see any wounds or abnormalities. I think maybe you were stung or maybe you even captured a flying snack. Let’s see if a shot of Benadryl will help you feel better.”

Noooo! Not a shot! Not that! No! Mommmmmmm! I promise I won’t eat any more flying snacks! Dr. Reinke talks so sweet to me. She’s a pretty good ear scratcher too, but… Yikes!

“What a good dog you are, Gracie!” said Dr. Reinke.
Duh. Of course I’m a good dog. I’m a detective investigator. I protect my family from crazy, evil, buzzy flying things and other stuff, like ghosts. Hey. That didn’t really hurt that much after all, Dr. Reinke. I’ll forgive you this time, but don’t try any of that funny stuff again.
“Now. That shot will help, but we’re also going to give you an intravenous injection of a steroid.”

Noooo! Not THAT! Actually, what is an injection, anyway?

“The IV injection will also help calm down the allergic reaction you’re having,” said Dr. Reinke. “Then your family will give you some Benadryl for the next couple of days, and you’ll be good as new!”

Wait. Is Dr. Reinke is talking about pills! Yippee! I know about pills! Pills means treeeeats! Maybe I’ll get peanut butter! Yes! Yes! Yes! No problem with pills. I wonder if Mom ever noticed I always feel better after I visit Dr. Reinke. She could learn a thing about ear rubs from her, too.

It’s quite common for pets to encounter insects and bugs that nibble on them or sting them. Most of the time, the pets don’t have much of a reaction other than feeling itchy – just like people do. Sometimes, however, the pet can have an allergic reaction.

“In a mild case, such as Gracie had, antihistamine therapy eases the discomfort, and the pet feels better quickly,” said Reinke. “Just like with people, though, there can be a wide range of reactions to different environmental encounters. Pets can have serious allergies that can cause anaphylaxis, difficulty breathing, seizures, organ damage and in rare but severe cases, death.”

Reinke noted pets can be allergic to food, certain plants, medications, insect bites or stings, fleas and other environmental influences. They could react like Gracie did with swelling, but depending on how something affects an animal’s immune system, there is a wide array of possible reactions. For example, pets who are allergic to fleas or certain foods might develop dermatitis. Those who munch on certain plants or foods might have gastrointestinal reactions. Pets who are attacked by fire ants, a common problem in southern states, can have quite severe reactions. “Each animal’s unique immune system will determine what is an allergen to that pet and how severe it will be,” said Reinke.

“Of course, the only way to protect a pet from an allergen is to avoid what causes it, but that’s not very realistic,” she said. “Before a pet’s first reaction to something, you might not have any idea the pet even has an allergy. When you see your pet show sudden symptoms, it is very important to get veterinary care right away.”

For more information or to make an appointment, visit or call 414-421-1800.