Bee Stings

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As the weather cools off, you may have noticed that our usually busy bees slow down and are often found walking instead of flying.  When they are walking, bees are much more likely to be sniffed, trod on, or even eaten by our pets – with painful, and sometimes dangerous results.

We all know that a bee sting causes swelling, pain and itching, but there is potential for much more serious reactions.  In dogs, there are two big areas of concern – localised swelling in a dangerous place, and anaphylactic shock.

Since dogs often get stung in the mouth or on the muzzle, swollen faces are particularly common.  While it is kind of funny to see a pet with puffy lips and ears, swelling around the face can obstruct the airways, and is considered an emergency.  A veterinarian will check for other signs, but most dogs that present with swollen face from suspected bee sting will typically get antihistamines and/or steroids by injection, and then monitored carefully to ensure that the swelling resolves.

Anaphylactic shock is relatively rare, but incredibly serious and potentially fatal.  It is therefore important to recognise the signs and act immediately.  Seek immediate veterinary assistance if you notice any of the following:

  • Sudden collapse, which may progress to coma
  • Pale gums and lethargy or stumbling
  • Sudden onset diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Racing heart rate with cold limbs

Anaphylaxis can be treated if identified early enough, and the veterinarian will usually treat with oxygen, IV fluids, adrenaline and steroids given intravenously.  Once a pet has been successfully treated for anaphylaxis the veterinarian will usually talk to the owner about further precautions, which may be as simple as avoidance, or may be as advanced as carrying an epi-pen to give adrenaline as first aid.

We are also able to book you in with one of our visiting dermatology specialist’s to help pin point the allergy. Click here to see our specialists.