It’s summer and the flowers are blooming and the bees and spiders are keeping busy. A bite from bees, wasps, spiders and even fire ants can lead to emergency situations for your cat or dog. Often owners won’t see the incident happen but may find their animal companion displaying unusual symptoms.

Symptoms range from:

1) Facial swelling, red welts
2) Hives
3) Vomiting, diarrhea
4) Collapse – anaphylactic shock
5) Trouble breathing

What to Do:

  • If without taking too much time, a stinger is easily found, an owner may scrape it out with a credit card or other stiff material. Alternatively, use tweezers by grasping the stinger, which is located below the venom sac.
  • Make sure no pressure is placed downward on the venom sac. That would inject more of the venom into the pet. If a stinger is not easy to locate, then stop and go straight to your veterinarian or an ER facility
  • Your pet should be examined immediately by a veterinarian if any of the above symptoms are noted *facial swelling, hives, breathing issues, vomiting, collapse, etc.

What NOT to Do:

  • Do not administer any medications without first contacting your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency hospital. The veterinarian may need to examine your pet before recommending medications.

Sometimes, immediately after a bite, a pet will seem disoriented and quiet with nothing else obvious. If this progresses it may suggest the beginnings of anaplylactic shock – a situation where the inflammatory properties of the sting or bite results in dilation of an individuals blood vessels. This results in life-threatening blood pressure drops, inadequate circulation to the body’s tissues and is a life-threatening emergency.

Once at a veterinary facility, whether your family veterinarian or an after-hours emergency hospital, your pet will be evaluated and treatment will follow.

Standard diagnostics are blood pressure, labwork and occasionally a fast ultrasound scan of the abdomen. Treatment will range from a steroid and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) injection to an intravenous catheter, fluid resuscitation, in-patient monitoring and more.

In less critical cases, a steroid and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) injection followed by 2 hours of observation may be recommended and the pet can be sent home.

Whichever symptom(s) is seen, immediate veterinary attention is warranted. Your animal companion is counting on you!


Houston Heights Pet Clinic and Hospital

Urban Animal Veterinary Hospital
1327 Yale St
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 863-0088

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