While a pet insect bite can be a fairly common predicament, how your pet responds to it varies, today’s veterinary blog outlines the important symptoms and reactions pet owners should look for following a sting or bite.
Dogs love to explore their surroundings—something that could lead to an ant hill, hornet’s nest or a flower bed—and right to stinging and biting insects. Dr. Curtis Brandt, WestVet Emergency Veterinarian, offers advice for pet owners after a dog or cat gets a little too curious and comes away with a sting/bite:
Insect bites or stings have the potential to range widely in severity. Sometimes there’s nothing more than minor, temporary pain or swelling; other times a more serious wound or life-threatening problems such as allergic reaction can result.
Insect stings are very common in pets, occurring more frequently in the warmer months. If you suspect your pet has been stung by an insect, watch closely. If the pet is only temporarily, mildly uncomfortable then quickly returns to normal behavior, close monitoring at home is perhaps all that will be required. You should keep your pet where you can see him or her for at least the next several hours, watching for trouble. If, on the other hand, you see pain or lethargy for more than a few minutes, swelling of the muzzle and face, hives (red bumps over the body, often more obvious in sparsely-haired regions like the abdomen), vomiting, weakness, pale gums or collapse (lying down and inability to get back up), prompt veterinary attention is needed.
Some insect bites (such as spider bites) have the potential to cause problems as well. The most dangerous spider found in SW Idaho is the Black Widow. Thankfully these spiders a re fairly reclusive, but any interaction between your pet and a Black Widow warrants prompt veterinary evaluation. The other local spider which may cause injury is the Hobo: expert opinions vary in terms of how much trouble a Hobo spider bite may cause. Chronic, slowly-healing wounds have been described, though others say it is difficult to document that such wounds are the result of a Hobo spider bite. Fortunately, it appears that these kinds of wounds are fairly rare in pets here in SW Idaho.
If you are concerned that your pet is behaving acutely abnormally, whether or not you suspect a reaction to an insect bite or sting, it is always appropriate to consult your veterinarian right away. If your veterinarian is unavailable, WestVet is open and able to address your concerns 24 hours a day.