OK - I don't know if its the Benadryl or not, but our bulldog Stella has never been better! She is not puking up after eating or drinking (which she often does, especially if she plays right afterwards), not getting phlegmy, not hacking up phlegm, not getting as out of breath, and in general seeming to be feeling great! Now we are still weaning her off the steroids she was on for the allergic reactions, and tapering down the benadryl doseage, so I will post again in a week or so and report on how she's doing. However, if her problems were partly stemming from some sort of allergy which was causing the excessive phlegm, which then was causing her to have difficulty breathing and may have even been a factor in her pneumonia, well, then I will have to consider discussing long term benadryl options with my vet. If anyone else has had luck with benadryl and their bulldog, let me know!
Last week, Stella woke up sounding especially raspy and gurgly, so naturally we got the lemon out (she had been running about like a crazy bulldog the night before). We started steaming up the bathroom and getting her to bite the lemon to hopefully get out the phlegm that was giving her problems. After last January the last thing we wanted was another round of pneumonia. Then I noticed something crazy. Stella's chest started to look like there were marbles under her skin, lots of them!
We shortly realized she was having an allergic reaction to something and rushed her to the vets, not wanting to risk anything with her already troublesome trachea. After $350, some IV steroids and fluids and antihistamines, she was good as new! They sent us home with some additional steroids and sent us to the Safeway for benadryl.
After trying to determine what caused the allergies, we suspect it may have been her food - we changed from Nature's Variety Lamb to the Venison - as the manufacturer suggest changing the protein for the dog, and of course they enjoy the change in flavor. Now I know venison is supposed to be one of the best proteins for dogs with allergies, but unless she got into a fight with a spider or something, its the only thing that might have caused it. We have her back on the lamb and she hasn't had any more outbreaks of the hives. Either way we will keep an eye out and I will repost if we ever determine for sure what caused it. If anyone else has had issues with venison causing reactions, or any other substance - please post and let us know!