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Albuquerque VetCo

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Ask Vetco: How To Remove a Bee Sting

removing bee stingA bee sting is no laughing matter for either you or your pet! If your pet spends time outdoors he or she will be at more risk, although an inside pet getting stung is not unheard of. A sting can be a matter of life and death for some pets so it is important to know what to do.  Not all bee stings require medical attention, but some do and knowing when you need to take them to the vet can save their life.

You probably won’t know when a bee stings your pet until you see them with a swollen face or neck or notice them limping.

How to remove a bee stinger:

1. Try and find the stinger and carefully remove it. Use a credit card or your fingernail to gently scrap the stinger out. Do not use tweezers or your fingers! It will only squeeze more toxins into your pet. If you can’t find the stinger (it’s not always easy to find), don’t worry about it, it will come out on its own eventually if it hasn’t already.

2. Put an icepack on the affected area for about 30 minutes. This helps reduce swelling and gives your pet some relief from the pain.

3. Keep an eye on your pet for a couple of hours up to 24 hours to make sure they don’t have any allergic reactions to the bee sting.

When to go to the vet: Signs to watch for.

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Trembling
  • Acts like he’s cold
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiousness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Swelling in other places besides at the site of the sting

If your pet was stung in the mouth or on their nose, pay close attention to swelling in their mouth, head and neck. The swelling could constrict their airway.

What to do if your pet experiences a severe reaction (goes into anaphylactic shock) when stung?

Call the vet! This is an emergency so keep him as warm as you can and on your way to your vet, rub Karo Syrup or honey on his gums to help keep him awake. A severe reaction can be life threatening and your vet may need to administer antihistamines, steroids or other medications to help relieve the swelling so he can breathe. Extreme cases may require placing a breathing tube down the throat and giving intravenous fluids.

Home remedies to relieve pain and swelling:

Never use a home remedy when the case is severe- take your pet to the vet instead. When it is not severe go ahead and try these (if you are unsure about the severity, call your vet):

  • Benadryl can be given every 6 to 8 hours at one milligram for every 1 pound of body weight. Do not exceed the recommended dosage. Check with your vet for official dosages.
  • Baking soda or meat tenderizer paste: Mix a tablespoon of baking soda or meat tenderizer with just enough water to give you a thick paste and cover the bee sting and surrounding area with it. A cover may be needed to keep your pet from licking the paste off. Wash it off with warm water after 30 minutes. Reapply as necessary.
  • Ammoniated quinine: apply directly to the affected area.

If your dog is acting really agitated, but not having an allergic reaction you can try giving them some potassium bromide to calm them down.

Hope this helps!