Last May, I wrote a post about backyard toxins that pets could be exposed to. Now that we’ve had a good run of warm weather, I’d like to put up a link to that post to help remind everyone what to be cautious of.
One of the things that I left off that list was bee/wasp/hornet stings. When a pet is stung by something, it’s called an envenomation. The venom comes from the stinger and an associated gland. It’s not really a bite (though some wasps/hornets can in fact bite). In the case of most bees, the sting means the death of the insect, too. Yellowjackets and wasps can sting multiple times.
The swelling and pain from the sting itself isn’t usually life-threatening. However, the sting can set off a massive allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. I highly encourage you to speak with your veterinarian about what you can do or give immediately after a sting. I can’t make a recommendation here on the blog for a medication or a dose for a medication, even if it’s OTC. Contact your vet and know ahead of time what to have on hand and what to do. It may save you a trip in to the vet’s office.
If your pet has been stung and the stinger is still in the skin, DO NOT grab it with fingers or tweezers. The little gland full of poison is like a sac on the end of the stinger. If you squeeze it when you’re trying to pull out the stinger, you’ll push more venom into your pet. Use a credit card or another piece of rigid cardboard or plastic to scrape the stinger out of the skin.
You can apply an ice pack. One of the sources I checked also said that a weak mix of baking soda and water may help decrease the pain.
If your pet shows weakness, difficulty breathing, or lots of swelling in places that were not stung, you need to see an emergency vet or your own vet immediately.
Be safe out there!