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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Paws For Thought- Article 11

4th July 2019

Bee Stings and Anaphylaxis


With the arrival of the summer flowers comes the bees, and if you're starting to think about getting the BBQ out in this nice weather, it won't be long before the wasps join us too. While vital for pollination, these insects can pose a threat to our pets- especially when they decide to chase and eat them! In most cases, a sting can be at worst irritating, but as with humans we can occasionally see animals reacting to a sting and going into anaphylactic shock.

If your pet is stung and seems uncomfortable, we recommend phoning us at The Cape Veterinary Clinic on 01483 538990 to book an appointment.


What happens when a bee/wasp stings?


When your pet is stung, a small amount of poison is injected into the body, this causes the body to produce histamine. This histamine release causes itching and swelling, and in certain areas such as the throat or mouth, this can sometimes cause narrowing of the airways.


What are the symptoms of a sting?

  • Red/raised lesion

  • Excess itching

  • Lameness if stung on the paw

  • Swelling of the mouth or face

  • Difficulty breathing (in cases of multiple stings/being stung in the mouth/anaphylaxis)


Should you remove the sting?


Particularly with bee stings, we see that the sting can be left behind- you can sometimes see a black focus in the centre of the inflamed area. We recommend having this removed by one of our vets, as if the sting is squeezed as it is removed, this can actually cause a stronger reaction. For this reason, it is always better to scrape the sting out rather than use tweezers.


If your pet is stung and seems uncomfortable, or you are concerned that they are having a reaction to sting, we recommend phoning us at The Cape Veterinary Clinic on 01483 538990 so that we can book an appointment to see you as soon as possible.



Catherine Hannah BVSc MRCVS.

References: VCA Hospitals, Blue Cross.