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Monday, June 9, 2014

Treating Insect Bites and Stings on Your Pets !

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care - Round Lake, IL

Summer is finally here.. WOO HOO !  However, this also means that flies, bees, wasps and other biting and stinging insects are here.

My dog got stung by a bee on his paw once, it was awful and really hard to get the stinger out.  During September, the bees start to die so they are mostly on the ground and dogs and cats can step on them and get stung.

There are some insects out there that can cause severe stings.. for example, fire ants in the South can be extremely dangerous to pets if they end up in one of their mounds.  Poisonous spider bites are also something to watch out for if they are prevalent in your neck of the woods.

This blog post is about how to treat insect bites and stings on your pets.  However, if the bite or sting is from a poisonous insect or animal, please contact your veterinarian immediately or take your pet to an emergency pet clinic for treatment ASAP !

  • The stings of bees, wasps, and yellow jackets, and the bites of ants all cause painful swelling and redness at the site of the sting, usually on a hairless area such as the nose or feet. The swelling may include the face and neck, even if the dog was not stung on the face. If the dog is stung many times, he could go into shock as a result of absorbed toxins. Occasionally, anaphylactic shock develops in a dog who has been stung in the past.
  • The bites of black widow and brown recluse spiders are toxic to animals. The first sign is sharp pain at the site of the bite. Later the dog develops intense excitability, fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pains. Seizures, shock, and death can occur, especially with the bite of the black widow spider. An antivenin is available to treat these bites.
  • The stings of centipedes and scorpions cause a local reaction and, at times, severe illness. These bites heal slowly.
  • Treatment:
    • Identify the insect.
    • If the stinger is found (a small black sac), remove it by scraping it out with your fingernail or a credit card. Do not squeeze or use tweezers, as this can inject more venom. (Only bees leave their stingers behind.)
    • Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it directly to the sting.
    • Apply an ice pack to relieve the pain and swelling.
    • Apply calamine lotion to relieve the itching. 
    • Your veterinarian may prescribe an antihistamine.
    • If the dog exhibits signs of hypersensitivity to the venom (agitation, face scratching, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, or seizures), take him at once to the nearest veterinary facility for treatment of anaphylactic shock.
If your dog has a severe reaction to a bee sting, you should consult your veterinarian about keeping an Epi Pen kit available and discuss the proper dose for your dog.

Summertime is fun time but to make it even better just make sure your family and your pets are protected and treated if ever stung or bitten.  

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