I recently planted sunflowers in my mother’s garden a few weeks ago and they’re finally, finally, FINALLY budding! I can’t tell you how excited I am being that this is the first time I’ve ever grown anything in my life, so I’m pretty proud of myself at the moment. While inspecting my new creations I noticed there was a considerable amount of pollen on the leaves of one of the larger sunflowers so I asked my mom (which now that I think about it was a pretty dumb question but don’t judge me) if sunflowers had a lot of pollen? She said yes which then got me thinking: If these sunflowers have a lot of pollen then there’s probably going to be a lot of bees buzzing around here, right? I think so, which then reminded me of my mother’s feisty little dog Lily (a one and half year old dachshund with a napoleon complex) and the time she got stung by a bee… right on the nose! (of all places)
Thanks to my previous veterinary technician experience I was able to figure out that the feisty little fur ball was stung by a bee but that might not be the case for the average pet parent. They may not have the necessary experience or knowledge to determine what may be causing their pet to swell up like a ballon and act differently.
What Makes Bee Stings So Lethal?
For being such a tiny little insect bees can definitely pack a punch! So what is it about bee stings that make them so lethal to our pets?
When pets have an allergic reaction to a bee sting they’re typically reacting to the toxin in the bee venom. A cool fact about bee venom is that it’s only found in the female worker bees, the males don’t have any.
For some pets, just like some people, they may have a mild or moderate reaction to the bee sting which may include: swelling, typically around the muzzle and nose, weakness or hives. In severe cases pets may show signs of profound swelling, vomiting/diarrhea or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these top 3 signs then your pet is having a severe allergic reaction and may be going into anaphylactic shock.
What To Do
The most important thing in any situation is to stay calm. If you’re able to locate the stinger, remove it by using a credit card in a scraping motion, attempting to squeeze, tweeze or pull the stinger out will only result in further venom distribution within your pet. You can then apply a cold compress to the area that was stung to help reduce some of the swelling and give your pet benadryl (over the counter antihistamine), with a dosage of 10mg / 10lb. So if your pet weighs 25lb then you would only give your pet 25mg (one tablet which is 25mg).
Pets that have severe reactions to bee stings (or other insects) can go down hill very quickly so your best bet is to bring your pet in as soon as possible to your nearest veterinarian so they can administer fluids and medication, typically benadryl and steroids through an IV. The last thing you want is to wait around thinking your pet will bounce back only to realize they are getting worse and the situation life threatening.
Having a pet deal with any allergic reaction whether mild, moderate or severe is devastating to us as pet parents and making sure that we are well prepared is key! Have you ever had a pet go into anaphylactic shock or have an allergic reaction to bees, wasps or any other allergen?