Insect bites

Lexi is a curious one year old German Shepherd who loves to play and discover new things but to her dismay insects did not want to play with her.

Lexi gave her owners quite a fright when, after a morning in the yard, she suddenly had a very swollen right eye and muzzle. This is a classic presentation of insect bite hypersensitivity.

The two most common types of stinging insects are wasps and bees. Bees only sting once but their stinger is barbed and lodges into the skin. Wasps can sting multiple times and tend to be more painful. Typically, dogs are stung on their faces when they are sniffing around hives or nests.

If your dog tries to bite an insect, they may also get stung inside their mouth, on their tongue or in their throat, which can be very dangerous if it blocks their airway.

Some animals can also suffer allergic reactions, so watch out for general weakness or lethargy, itchiness, vomiting or diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, and/or swelling. The severity of the reaction is highly variable and difficult to predict.

If your pet displays any of these signs or seems unwell, please bring them in immediately, as pain relief and antihistamines may be required.

By Kelly Toomey, Final Year Veterinary Student, University of Sydney

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