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Filed in Dogs, Safety

Dogs and cats are more likely than humans to be bitten or stung by spiders, bees, wasps, ants, and snakes because pets like to play with these interesting little creatures. The results can be painful -- and potentially dangerous.

Initial symptoms of bits and stings are swelling and redness, often in the face area, and these signs usually start within an hour. Later the symptoms can include pain in the muscles and joints, vomiting, diarrhea, becoming uncoordinated or paralyzed, or even going into convulsions. The site of the bite or sting also can become ulcerated.

Dogs like to try to catch bees in their mouths, and the result is often a painful sting. Common spiders with poisonous bites include the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. Reactions to stings and snake bites are more likely than spider bites to result in shock.

Treatment for bites and stings include keeping the animal calm and applying cold packs to reduce swelling. If the reaction is severe or the pet is in shock, be sure to get immediate medical attention from your veterinarian. Antihistamines and steroids can help reduce the inflammation and tissue reaction. In severe cases, epinephrine and fluids also are given to help counteract shock.

Bites and stings can cause such severe damage to the tissue that it begins to die and often becomes infected. This can cause the wound to heal slowly.

Each exposure to a bite or sting can cause a reaction that is more severe than the time before. Help keep your pet safe by thoroughly spraying your yard to eliminate the wasps, as well as other stinging insects, including ants.

Source: Ask the Vet, reprinted with permission by Pet Food Express. Ask the Vet is published by Veterinarian's Best, Inc., PO Box 4459, Santa Barbara, CA, 93103.

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