What Happens During a Bee Sting?
Bee’s have a barbed stinger so when a victim is stung, the stinger remains in the wound (killing the bee). The stinger is fed by a venom sac, which can continue to pump venomous apitoxin into the wound even after the bee has detached. For this reason, it is best to remove the stinger as quickly as possible—which is easier said than done in a pet with lots of fur.
Most bee stings cause localized irritation and pain, so you will notice your pet pawing at his face or licking his toes—the two most common places for them to be stung. If you can locate the stinger, remove it immediately, as it can continue to release venom into the skin for several minutes.
Using a credit card or something similar, it’s best to remove the stinger by using a scraping action, as pinching the stinger can actually squeeze more venom into the wound.
The second most common reaction after pain is localized swelling in the area of the sting. Wash the area with cool water and a mild soap, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling if the pet will stand for it. Over the counter antihistamine can help but please call us for the correct dose rate as the proper dose depends on the weight of the pet. Swelling is usually mild and resolves within a day or two. If the swelling or pain does not improve or continues to worse please call 9795 8080 to book an appointment
Having your pet evaluated by a veterinarian is never a wrong choice; if you feel your pet’s swelling and discomfort is significant, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, particularly when swelling in the head area is involved.
Less common but more severe than local inflammation is a true anaphylactic reaction, and this is a medical emergency. Just as in people, some dogs are allergic to bee venom and can have a sudden and life threatening reaction to a sting. These usually happen shortly after the sting—within minutes. Pets may have vomiting and diarrhea, seem disoriented and weak, show difficulty breathing, or even collapse.
If your pet exhibits signs of shock, do not hesitate—head to the nearest veterinary hospital.