You are out in your backyard, enjoying the day with your dog. All of a sudden you notice him furiously sniffing out something in the corner. Before you can intervene, there is a yelp and an angry bee buzzes off. Your dog has been stung.
Do you know what you would do?
Dogs and cats are curious animals, and bee stings are not an uncommon occurrence. Many times pets are stung on the face or paw while investigating the insect a little too closely. If you think your pet has been stung, take a deep breath. Most bee stings are no big deal.
Understanding the Reaction
Thankfully, most pets do not have deadly reactions to bee stings like people can have. When a bee or wasp stings, it injects a small amount of poison into its target. This is what causes the reaction.
Many times a pet’s reaction to a sting is localized. The area may become red and swollen. The sting can also be very painful, especially if it is in a tender area such as the nose or mouth.
What to Do if Your Pet is Stung by a Bee
If your pet has been stung, it is important to monitor him or her closely. While most bee stings require little or no action, there can be exceptions to this rule.
If the stinger is stuck in your pet, it is important to remove it quickly, as it may continue to inject poison for several minutes. Use a fingernail or a credit card to do this. Using your fingers or Tweezers could squeeze more venom into your pet. You can also apply an ice pack to the area to help reduce swelling if your pet will allow it.
You may wish to call us to find out if a dose of an antihistamine such as Benadryl is appropriate. Never administer a medication without clearing it with us first so that we can be sure it is safe for your pet and prescribe the correct dosage for his or her breed and size.
If your pet has been stung multiple times, or if the sting is in an area where swelling might obstruct an airway you should seek veterinary care. Signs that your pet may be having a severe reaction include:
- Generalized weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Extensive swelling
- Pale gums
How We Treat Bee Stings
If a pet needs veterinary attention for a bee sting, we often use an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to help stop the allergic reaction. More severe reactions may require the administration of a steroid and even intravenous fluids to help treat shock. Fortunately most pets do not experience such severe reactions.
We hope that your pet never experiences a bee sting, but if he or she does you will be prepared. Please call us if you have any concerns about your pet or if you are not sure what might be causing your pet’s symptoms. We are always happy to help.