Hi Fellow Bloggers!
I know you were concerned about Opie! Let me put your worries to rest. He is much, much better. In fact, he’s fine now. So what happened?
What was wrong with him?
Well, the vet’s receptionist actually made an accurate guess based on what I told her?
Opie was stung in the paw by a bee.
Here’s what we think happened.
Opie went outside to take care of some personal business and do his usual squirrel patrol. Two days ago when this happened, it was a nice sunny day. I think it was about 74 degrees outside. I know my lilies and geraniums were blooming quite nicely as were a number of other plants in the neighborhood. So, even though it’s currently raining and 54 degrees outside right now, two days ago it was a beautiful day, a great day for bees to be out and about foraging for their hives.
Opie at some point encountered a bee, maybe it got stuck in his fur, maybe it entered the house with him and before my husband could close the back door. (Here again another reason to get a doggie door! Stop the entry of flying insects through the open back door!)
When my husband returned from picking the kids up from school — I stayed home to keep an eye on Opie– Michael found a dead or dying bee inside the house in the front door entryway. It did not have its stinger!
We had a 4PM appointment with the vet, and at 3:50PM Opie and I were on our way. I told the vet what we’d discovered. I should mention that by the time we got to the vet, Opie had STOPPED walking on 3 legs. He was walking on his sore foot. He’d spent the entire time at home with me licking and chewing on it.
Dr. Miyazaki gave Opie a very thorough examination and started really examining Opie’s affected paw. She spent a long time looking at each individual little pad and “finger” and finally said, “Aha! What’s this!? She pulled out a quarter inch long black stinger from in between his pads. YIKES! If I hadn’t been so busy holding Opie still during this examination, I’d have taken a picture of it. But here’s what it looked like.
I couldn’t see the little jagged parts, but based on the fact that we have regular bees in our neighborhood I think this is what it must look like under a magnifying glass or microscope. A bees stinger is attached to the abdomen, so when the bee stings its victim, half its belly gets ripped out. Sometimes that belly part is visible on the surface of the skin. The venom sac may be attached there as well. Neither the abdomen nor the sac was visible on between Opie’s pads, but he’d been working on it with his tongue and teeth for about 2 hours. Luckily, he is not a dog that has a bad reaction to bee stings beyond pain.
She saw only the slightest little inflammation around the sting area and he had no signs of stronger reaction.
Bee sting reactions in our pets can run the same range of severity as those in humans. Some dogs are going to go into anaphylactic shock and possibly die and some are going to be mildly irritated by the pain and that’s that. We were lucky that Opie is NOT allergic and didn’t have a severe reaction. He was bothered only by the sting itself and didn’t have any swelling or difficulty breathing. His pooping in the bedroom and hiding must have been based on fear of the flying insect that hurt him. Opie already has a definite fear of flies. He’d like me to keep that under wraps, but he goes a little nutty if we get a fly in the house. I imagine he’ll be even worse now.
Dr. Miyazaki finished off our appointment with a fast-acting cortisone shot to make his paw a bit more comfortable and then we were good to go. Opie has been fine ever since.
I know other bloggers have written about how to deal with your dog if they are stung by a bee, but I want to share what I’ve found out as well. This is a particular problem for anyone who lives in an area where there’s no real winter. As I said, it’s currently about 54 degrees outside and raining, but where we live, all those clouds could blow over during the night and tomorrow it’s 82 and sunny. It is possible to have a heat wave on Christmas day here! This is of course FABULOUS! But it also means that our “Bee” season never really ends. A couple days before this happened I recall finding a dying bee in the driveway. He could have been dying because the temperature dropped unexpectedly that day, or from that “bee” disease that’s been going around. The point is that if you live in an area like mine, please be vigilant and about bees. This could have been a horribly tragic incident. If Opie had been allergic, he could have died before I could get him even to the emergency vet. My kids would have come home from school to tragedy!
Bee Sting care for Dogs
Okay so here’s what I found out about regarding Bee sting care for dogs.
If you are lucky enough to witness the sting, check your dog immediately and find the sting area
If the dog has been stung in the mouth or face or ears don’t waste time…RUN, not walk to the vet! Call your vet immediately and grab your car keys! A dog stung inside the mouth is serious business, especially if the tongue begins to swell or the dog tried to swallow the bee or wasp. This kind of a sting can cut off their air supply and become life threatening quickly. So don’t let any grass grow under you feet. Hustle your bustle to the vet.
To treat a dog’s bee sting, the first thing you need to do is to remove the stinger. Do not use tweezers to remove the stinger. Tweezers will squeeze more venom into the wound. Get something with an edge to scrape across the surface of the skin to remove the stinger. Dr. Miyazaki used her nails and a tissue, but she’s an expert. My nails are not nearly long enough and my stomach is not nearly strong enough (Yes, I’m a pansy!) A bee sting will have a venom sac attached; a wasp sting will be more cone-shaped with barbs.
If your dog is not displaying any signs of severe swelling or difficulty breathing you might have time to make a little poultice to ease his pain. Personally, I’d just take the stinger out and hustle my bustle to the vet. I’m not a vet so I’d rather pay the cost than lose my dog because I was worried about the cost. I’ll talk more about how much Opie’s bill was in a moment. So, if he or she looks okay and you have to wait around to go to the vet anyway you can make a little poultice of baking soda and water. A little vinegar soaked pad will also counteracts the venom. By the way, this works for humans too. A mud pack will also draw out toxins; you can also make a little poultice of crushed plantain leaves. And let’s not forget about a little antihistamine, like Benadryl. However, I’d hold off on the OTC stuff. The vet is bound to have better drugs and you don’t want to cause a problem by dosing your pet before the vet can give you something more effective, or better. Additionally, you’ll have to consult them about dosage anyway. A good old fashioned icepack is also useful to bring down the swelling.
Here are the things to watch out for after the sting.
Labored breathing, wheezing, fast breathing, anaphylactic shock, collapsing, vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums, trembling or weakness, pale gums, excessive drooling, a fever or agitation.
If your pet exhibits any one of these things, hustle your bustle – call the vet and get yourself and your furbaby over there asap!
How do we Protect our Furbabies from the Flying Stinging Menace?
There’s not much we can do to keep the little stinging bees and wasps from bugging our beloved pets when they roam free in our back yards. Opie investigates every corner of the yard. He tracks squirrels relentlessly under the bushes and through the ivy.
However, there are a few things you can do to make things a little safer. We do these things, but as you can see there’s no complete remedy if you want your dog to enjoy the backyard and being outside. I have no desire to turn him into the “bubble dog.”
Here are some measures we’ve taken and that you can take as well.
We regularly inspect the eaves of the house and tree branches for wasp nests and bee hives. I have had to call L.A. County Vector Control twice to have both a bee hive and a wasps nest removed from cypress trees and our 60 year old ficus. We no longer have a significant wasp problem since we cut down the cypress trees (I never liked them) and I regularly “napalm” the eaves of the house when I find a wasp nest.
On walks, just to be nice to my neighbors I keep Opie out of flower beds. He’s not allowed to lift his leg anywhere near them and sometimes we hop into the street if the azaleas are blooming. (Double whammy for him – it’s a tall bush that he wants to mark and it’s a flowering bush where wasps and bees like to forage!) So keep your pups out of the flower beds!
Also be careful about water sources. Bees and wasps like to drink from stagnant pools, and puddles. Occasionally they fall in and drown, but their stingers are still dangerous even after death. So don’t let Fido near it. We have to be vigilant about standing water anyway in our neighborhood and our yard due to the whole disease bearing mosquito issue.
So fellow bloggers. Keep your puppies safe. This could have been a very sad article indeed. Personally, I thank God that Opie is not allergic. We all would have been devastated.
So on a happier note … expect the following postings from Opie coming your way… his Xmas list, A diatribe against flying insects, a rant about squirrels, a poem or cartoon or two, and other topics that he’s been bandying about with me.
Have a great day! Give your furrbaby an extra special cuddle from Opie’s Mom