Yellow Jacket Sting On Dogs
When your pet dog gets stung by yellow jacket, it can be a bit of difficult situation for both the dog and the owners. First of all, you will have to look out for the yellow jacket sting symptoms to ensure that the dog has been stung by yellow jacket itself. Different wasp stings have different symptoms and treatment methods. Hence, making sure which insect stung the dog is also important. The insects that belong to Hymenoptera family uses a venom to disarm the prey and protect their territories. Insects that are included in this family include wasps, fire ants, and bees. The yellow jacket comes under the vespid wasp category along with hornets and paper wasps.
Deciding The Extent Of The Sting!
All the vespid wasps can sting a dog or any other animal that disturbs its nest. But, the yellow jackets are considered as the most potential threat as it often builds the nest at the ground level. A yellow jacket sting can cause painful swellings and allergic reactions on the dog. If you know the yellow jacket sting allergy symptoms, it can help you to take necessary actions. In the case of dogs, ten stings in 2.2 pounds of the body can turn to be fatal. Five stings in 2.2 pounds of the body can cause serious illness. In the case of puppies, the effect can be more dangerous.
Take A Look At The Symptoms!
Usually, just a single sting from any venomous insect won’t do much harm. The Hymenoptera family insects do not cause any fatal effects on the animals they sting. In some rare situations, the dog gets allergic reactions that result in anaphylactic shocks. Here are some of the common signs of an anaphylactic shock:
- Visible changes in the behavior of the dog
- Limbs turn cold
- The dog collapses
- Sudden death
- Continuous diarrhea
- Drooling behavior
- Increase in the heartbeat
- Hives over the body
- Unseemly soiling
- Exhibit itching irritations
- Lack of enthusiasm and energy
- Gums turn pale or membranes turn mucous
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Tongue or muzzle becomes swollen
- Pulse turns weak
The 30 Minutes Observation
Keep an eye on your dog and check whether it exhibits any of the above-listed symptoms for about thirty minutes after the sting. If the symptoms do not appear within thirty minutes, then most probably they won’t appear later also. Usually, the venom present in the sting of the wasp directly attacks the nervous system of the dog. It causes the breakdown of cell membranes that surround the nerve cells. It causes severe pain. The rest of the chemicals present in the venom slows down the blood flow through the body and increases the pain.
A Quick Look At The Yellow Jacket Sting Reaction
In case the dog is allergic to the yellow jacket sting, here are the various types of allergic reactions:
- Mild Reaction
Some dogs experience mild reactions like loss of appetite, sluggishness, and fever. It can be compared to the immune reactions one gets after taking a vaccination. It usually gets resolved on its own. No treatment is required for the mild reaction.
- Moderate Reaction
The yellow jacket sting infection can cause moderate reactions like urticaria. It is a type of vascular reaction on the skin. It causes wheals or hives on the surface of the skin. It can also cause yellow jacket sting swelling. It causes redness around the eyes, on the lips and neck of the dog. It can be very itchy and cause discomfort to the dog. In some cases, urticaria can worsen to cause anaphylaxis, a fatal condition.
- Severe Reaction
Severe reactions can be life-threatening. Hence, it always needs immediate medical attention. The worst condition is anaphylaxis. It is a sudden and severe allergic response that causes difficulty in breathing, collapsing and in severe cases sudden death. The symptoms are seen within a few minutes of the sting and can turn severe suddenly.
The Triggering Action Of Antibodies
The yellow jacket sting infection and reactions like urticaria and anaphylaxis are caused by the triggering action of antibodies produced by the dog’s immune system to counteract the venom injected by the sting. These antibodies cause the inflammatory basophil cells and the mast cells to release certain substances that induce allergic reactions. Usually, dogs who are allergic to the sting tend to develop hives on the body and swellings on the face. Anaphylaxis only occurs in extreme cases.
Yellow Jacket Sting Infection Treatment And Diagnosis In Detail
Just because a dog is allergic to bees doesn’t mean that they would be allergic to yellow jackets. The venom in both cases is entirely different. The anaphylactic shock is usually diagnosed based on the medical history and close physical examination of the dog. In most cases, the dogs get stung on their nose due to their curious nature to check out an insect from nearby. Some may try to catch or bite the insect. It can cause the insect to sting the dog on their throat, tongue or mouth. Such stings are usually more dangerous.
Here are some ways to treat a yellow jacket sting on dogs:
- In case the stung area is hot and swollen, then try applying cortisone cream over it. You can also keep ice over the skin of the dog for a small time.
- Use antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl). It can be given orally. The dose is one milligram per one pound of body weight. It is always better to seek the advice of a veterinary doctor before using antihistamines.
- In case the dog is experiencing difficulty in breathing and has a swollen face, then it better to seek immediate medical help.
- In case your dog has an epi-pen, then you can follow the instructions and use it to act against the reaction of the sting.
- The yellow jacket sting’s venom is alkaline. Hence, usage of mild acids like lemon juice or diluted vinegar can help.
- Serious cases of allergic reactions need immediate usage of epinephrine and antihistamines. It helps in suppressing the histamine action of the dog’s body.
- Vasopressors can be used for constricting the blood vessels and increasing the blood pressure.
- When all other treatment methods fail to work, nebulizers make use of inhaled albuterol to offer relief to the dog.
- An ice pack is one of the best yellow jacket sting first aid to be used. It can be used on the swollen area for about ten minutes. It reduces the swelling and gives relief to the dog. You can even use a pack of frozen peas as an ice pack in emergency situations. If the area is large, then use cooled up towels.
- In case the dog continues to lick and scratch at the stung area, try using a head cone. If the area is continuously scratched, it can only delay the healing process and may even cause further infections.
- If your dog is stung in the tongue or mouth area, try giving them moist food and lot of water to drink. They might find it difficult to eat dry food.
- The inflammation and pain can be reduced by dabbing a cotton ball dipped in witch hazel or apple cider vinegar.
- The gel of Aloe Vera also helps in soothing the area of sting. Make sure you use pure Aloe only. Don’t use products that mix up many ingredients along with Aloe Vera. The gel can also be directly squeezed from the plant. Just make sure that it does not come in contact with the eyes of the dog.
Managing Emergency Situations
Below are some of the most common emergency situations and the necessary actions to be taken:
- In case of an anaphylactic shock, immediate healthcare is necessary as it can cause the death of dog within an hour of the sting.
- In case you observe that the dog experiences difficulty in swallowing or breathing, rush it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. You can also call them and ask for immediate antihistamine treatments.
- If the yellow jackets attack as a group and cause multiple stings on the body, then this can cause injection of a large number of toxins in the dog’s body. If the dog gets stung more than fifteen times, it needs immediate medical treatment.
- The stings on throat and face can be more dangerous than others. Hence, that also needs the supervision of a veterinarian.
- If the dog has excessive swellings on the neck and head region, then it can affect the respiration of the dog. The swellings can also be seen even if the dog was stung anywhere else on the body. This needs immediate medical attention.
- Check for hives on the body of the dog. Hives can be seen as bumps below the dog’s skin. It raises the hair on the dog’s body. It can be seen as reddish bumps over the hairless parts like belly. Hives can cause severe itching. The dogs might roll on the ground to scratch the itching parts.
- If the dog is drooling continuously, then it might be because the dog is not able to swallow its saliva. It can be due to swellings in the throat area.
- Some dogs might get agitated and terrified by the itching and difficulties in breathing. The venom of the insect can act on the nervous system.
- Any mild symptom or vomiting or diarrhea should not be overlooked.
- If the dog seems to be disoriented with difficulty to be alert and active, it indicates trouble!
- If the dog experiences seizures, contact the doctor immediately.
- In cases of multiple stings, the serious side effects may merge after some days of the attack. The proteins present in the venom breaks down and damage the body cells. It can cause kidney failure as the kidneys might become clogged due to the breakdown of venom.
Yellow Jacket Sting Treatment, Care And Precautions To Be Followed
After the yellow jacket sting treatments, here are some of the ways by which you can take care of your dog:
- Once the dog’s condition is stabilized, the veterinarian will probably ask you to take a blood count test, urinalysis, and blood chemistry tests. In case of anaphylactic responses alone, these tests may not be required. In case the dog still finds it difficult to breathe, a tube can be inserted into the throat so that the dog can breathe comfortably until the swelling gets cured. Pulmonary functions of the dog’s body can be analyzed with an X-ray.
- In case the dog had an allergic response to the sting, then there is an increased chance for the dog to have an anaphylactic action if it gets stung by yellow jackets again. It is applicable even if the dog didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction to the first sting. Hence, it is better to carry a kit for wasp sting along with you whenever you step outside with the dog. The sting kit contains an epi-pen which can be used in case of allergic reactions in future. Make sure you learn how to use it properly during emergency situations.
- Immediate medical attention can save the life of a dog. The veterinarian may use epinephrine or dog corticosteroids along with anti-histamines in case of emergency.
Better Be Safe Than Sorry!
Here are some precautionary measures that can be taken to avoid yellow jacket stings. It is always better to be cautious than look for yellow jacket sting remedy after the sting.
- Dogs, in general, are curious and pokes their nose at any moving object or inspect any nearby sounds. Try teaching the ‘leave it’ command to refrain the dog from a probable yellow jacket nest.
- Use yellow jacket wasps to control the presence of yellow jackets.
- Keep a distance between the dog’s play area and the flower or gardens.
- In case the dog had an allergic reaction before, make sure it is entered in the records and the veterinarian knows it beforehand.
- Reactions can be more severe when repeated. Hence, always keep epinephrine readily available in your home. Also, learn how to use it in emergency situations. You can also buy an epi-pen to use while traveling.
- Never swat the yellow jackets if you see them again after the incident. It can only make them aggressive.
- Keep an eye on your dog always. This way, you can ensure that they don’t venture into a nest by mistake.
- Try to control the sniffing nature of your dog. Dogs often go and sniff near a yellow jacket nest and get stung on the nose. You could put your dog in a harness and pull them back when they try to sniff in a dangerous area.
- Always check around your area for any possible yellow jacket nest. You can take the help of an exterminator if you spot a nest.
- When you go outside with your dog for a stroll in the park or the neighborhood, always report the town officials if you notice any large hives.
- Hot spots like trash cans, fruit trees, and flower beds should be strictly avoided as these are the favorite dwelling spots of yellow jackets.
- Take extra care while doing yard works, pruning, and cutting. It can disturb a yellow jacket nest. Also, after cutting, the smell of fresh grass can lure the insects. Hence, it is always better to keep your dog safely inside the house during such works and also about two hours after the yard works.
- It is always better to be safe. In case you notice any bee buzzing around, better pick up your dog and move to a different place!
Don’t Forget To Enjoy The Season!
Summer and spring seasons are the time of warmth, blooming flowers, and ripe fruits. Enjoy the season and take extra care of your dog too. A little bit of extra care can protect your dog from the stings, and you can enjoy the climate before the cold winters creep in!