Warmer weather means spending more time outdoors. This is true for pets as well. It’s the time of year when all types of insects and parasites begin to make an appearance including spiders, bees, wasps, ants, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and all assorted flying and creepy, crawly things.
It’s also time to check your pet first aid kits to make sure you have up-to-date supplies. Aloe Vera helps ease the pain of bee and wasp stings. A paste with water added to baking soda helps treat sores, lumps and irritations. Oatmeal, colloidal oatmeal, calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream are good for irritations. Prednisone tablets along with dosage amount for your pet are handy to have especially if you know your pet has an allergic reaction to bites or stings and the medication is veterinarian prescribed. Check all substances to be sure they are not outdated. Call your vet to advise you what to do.
Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and ants cause irritation and swelling at the area bitten. (see our articles, Ehrlichiosis, Parasites, Natural Flea Remedies). Of course in the case of these critters, prevention is the cure.
Bees and wasps usually sting around the area of the face and mouth. Some pets can be allergic, so watch for any signs of distress.
If your pet has been bitten or stung, reactions can be swelling of eyelids, ears, lips, entire face, wheezing, weakness, increased heart rate, fever, trembling, vomiting, collapse. If your pet shows any of these signs, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.
Spider bite venom usually causes more serious and immediate reactions. Black Widow spiders are particularly dangerous. The are found throughout eastern North America, mainly in the southern area. It is the female Black Widow that bites, rarely the male. If the pet is bitten where nerve and muscles affect respiration, the bite can cause death. Cats are particularly affected as the bite causes extremely high blood pressure. Dogs treated promptly by a vet usually recover. Symptoms include severe muscle pain, muscle rigidity, seizures, increased heart rate, problem breathing, weakness, paralysis.
If you suspect a Black Widow spider bite, take your pet IMMEDIATELY to your veterinarian.
Scorpions found in the U.S., mainly in arid areas, are usually non-toxic, but the venom can cause severe pain at the bite site. Other signs of a bite can be breathing or swallowing difficulties, change in heart rhythm, elevated blood pressure, drooling, dilated pupils, blindness, nervousness, vomiting, urinating, defecating. If your pet exhibits any of these signs, s/he needs to see the vet IMMEDIATELY.
It helps treatment if you can identify which species of scorpion bit your pet. Treatment includes pain medication, monitoring and treating heart, blood pressure, administering fluids.
Prognosis depends on the amount of toxin injected and the size of your pet.
You can help prevent bites and stings by keeping an eye on your pet when outdoors. Keep your pet indoors when weeding, cutting shrubs or trimming trees in case you disturb a critter’s nest. Take precautions to protect yourself as well.