Written by  Mar 10, 2017

Porky & Buddy Column: Should I Protect Zippy From Bee Stings?

Dear Porky and Buddy: I know it’s still March, but I am planning my gardens for this year and I want to plant more things that will attract honey bees and other pollinators. (It seems like one of the saner steps I can take in this era of craziness.) But I am concerned about the implications of having too many bees around with my dog, Zippy, who is curious, playful and a little bit stupid, if you must know. Are there steps I can take to protect him from danger and what should I do if he does get stung? Signed, Jack

Dear Jack,

The obvious solution to too many bees for Zippy is to spray them all with deadly poisons that will kill everything in their path and last in the environment for decades. Oh, but you are trying to get away from the craziness. Good luck with that.

Back to your question. Many dogs are just like Zippy, curious and playful, and they will sniff at or even try to catch insects that they come into contact with in the summer. So your first line of defense is to be outside with Zippy and paying attention to what he is doing. Presumably you don’t want him digging in the gardens anyway, so just common sense supervision is your first and best line of defense. And if he is stung, you will know right away instead of having to guess.

Bee stings in dogs, just like humans, can cause different reactions depending on the dog, the number of stings and the kind of bee.

The most common is just a local reaction at the site of the sting. There will be pain, irritation and mild swelling, all of which will usually go away in a few hours. You should remove the stinger if it is still there, wash the area, and you can apply a corticosteroid (anti-itch) cream or ice the area. This is not usually serious unless Zippy happens to be stung in the mouth or throat, in which case you need to call your vet for help right away as the swelling caused by the sting may obstruct his airway. Talk to your vet now to ask whether he would recommend an antihistamine (like Benadryl) for Zippy if he is stung. That way you can have the recommended antihistamine on hand for when you might need it.

Systemic poisoning is more likely to occur with multiple stings and may result in severe swelling, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, coma, tachycardia, tremors, seizures, as well as a host of internal problems that will probably require hospitalization to resolve. If you notice any of these signs after Zippy is stung or you know he was stung many times call your vet immediately. This is an emergency.

Allergic reactions are different from systemic poisoning and can be mild to severe in nature. If Zippy seems weak, shaky or has difficulty breathing he may be experiencing anaphylactic shock. Other signs of a severe allergic reaction may include vomiting, diarrhea, hives and pale gums. For allergic reactions, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and, in severe cases, epinephrine, may be necessary. This is another time to call your vet right away.

Here’s another way to get ready for summer. Come to the Fur Ball. On Saturday, April 29th, from 6 to 11 at The American Foundry, 246 West Seneca Street, Oswego, there will be dinner & dancing, contests, a fabulous silent auction and more. Invitations will be coming in March or go to our website to reserve a ticket online. $60 per person or $100 per couple. Or call our office to ask about sponsorship. You know you're a party animal!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 2,07-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.

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