Tip of the Month

6/13/2011 Bee/Wasp Stings

Summer is here! With the warm weather, brings many more opportunities for your pets to be outdoors. One thing to be on the look-out for is bee or wasp stings. It can cause not only pain and swelling, but if there is an allergic reaction to the venom, it can be deadly to your pet. Often when they try to play with bees, thatís when they get stung on the head, face, or inside the mouth. If you suspect that your pet has been stung by either a bee or wasp, below are some measures to take.

The best thing to do first is to remove the stinger, if you can see it. As long as it remains in the skin, it may continue to pump venom into the body. Wipe or scrape it off using your fingernail, knife, or even a credit card. Never use tweezers; it could force more venom into your pet.

The next step is to access your pet. Generally a single sting does not pose much of a concern. The severity of the reaction will depend on the type of allergic reaction your pet may be experiencing.

The most severe, signs such as rapid breathing, wheezing, vomiting, and/or pale gums, may indicate that your pet is experiencing anaphylactic shock. A condition caused when there is insufficient blood circulation. It is vital to get your pet under the care of a veterinarian if symptoms, such as these, are apparent. Death from shock can occur if not treated immediately.

Typically, as long as your petís breathing is normal, there are several remedies to alleviate the pain and swelling. Applying an ice pack or a cold washcloth against the swollen area may help reduce inflammation, and soothe the pain. Another option may be to treat with an over the counter antihistamine, like Benadryl. Once taken, decrease in swelling should be noticeable within 20 minutes. For the dosage, please check with the veterinary assistant at your local vet office.

If the sting is inside the mouth, try offering ice cubes. Another option may be to flush the area with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a pint of water. You can use a turkey baster, but be careful that your pet does not inhale any liquid. With stings in the mouth, appetite may be affected. It may hurt to chew, so softening the food may help. By day 2, regular diet should resume. If however, it does not, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Another symptom your pet may develop is hive-like reactions. It may cause them to experience itching all over the body. Cold water soaks or oatmeal baths may relieve the itching. The hives should be gone within 24 hours and sooner if treated with an antihistamine. With any concerns or questions you may have, the best advice is to check with your veterinarian. Enjoy your summer!

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