What are Bee Stings?
Your pets may love frolicking in the summer grasses, but this can mean exposure to wasps, hornets, biting insects and most commonly, bees. Most bee stings will result in localized pain to the affected area, slight swelling and mild redness. However, depending on the location of the sting (the throat and mouth may result in constriction of the airway) a bee sting may require prompt vet attention.
When the barbed stinger enters your pet’s skin, your pet is likely to yelp at the time of the sting, and you may see your pet rubbing the affected part with their paws, or trying to rub their head on the grass – in an attempt to relieve the pain (a swollen muzzle is usually a clear sign of a sting).
When Should I Worry About a Bee Sting?
Bee stings can cause severe reactions. Consult your vet immediately if your pet:
- Experiences major inflammation (especially extending away from the sting site: pay particular note to swelling of the head and neck area)
- Seems disoriented and lethargic
- Has trouble moving or breathing
- Shows physical signs of weakness
- Is anxious in appearance
- Has difficulty swallowing
- Exhibits hyperactivity (such as excessive barking, yipping, groaning)
- Falls or faints (Bee sting reactions can sometimes mimic seizures)
Even if your pet seems fine, watch him or her carefully for 24 hours. If your pet is swarmed by a number of bees, immediate veterinary attention should be sought. Swelling around the face and throat are particularly of concern, and professional treatment should be very prompt in these cases.
If your pet has a severe reaction to a bee sting, an injection of antihistamine, steroid, or adrenaline may be administered to your pet by your vet. Severe reactions may cause the throat to swell, in which case respiratory support may be needed. In the case of a multiple sting injury, intravenous fluids and other intensive support may be required. Oral medications may be prescribed as a follow-up therapy.
Help for Bee Stings
You may notice swelling and redness at the site of the sting, and might be able to see the sting imbedded in the skin and protruding upwards. If you are able to, remove the stinger by scraping the visible portion with a card, fingernail, side of butter knife or other thin object.
Don’t pull on the stinger – this could cause it to break, pushing more venom into the skin! If you cannot see the stinger, leave it alone, it will eventually be shed out with hair. You may also try placing an ice cube on the site for a few minutes to relieve the pain.
There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help to soothe pain and stinging of the skin. Hamamelis virginianum has been used for centuries as a styptic and soothing skin remedy.
Calendula officinalis is a gentle herbal ingredient used to address burning on the skin – with its soothing and calming properties. Melissa officinalis is well-known for its ability to help soothe irritated skin – especially handy in the case of bee stings when used topically.
More Information on Bee Stings
Tips related to bee stings:
- Once the sting is removed – place some baking soda into a bowl.
- Add a small amount of water and mix it into a paste.
- Apply this paste onto the site of the sting to help neutralize pain and swelling.
- Wrap some cloth around the area to prevent your pet licking the area.
- Keep it on for at least 30 minutes.
- Afterwards, simply rinse it off with plain water.