Tag Archives: pet care

Processionary Caterpillars

Processionary caterpillars

These are dangerous to pets, and must be treated with absolute caution. The Pine Processionary Caterpillar can injure or kill your dog and cause serious health problems for people.

What are processionary caterpillars ? 

The processionary caterpillar is the larval stage of a type of moth.  In order to metamorphose into a chrysalis, it first spends a certain time nourishing itself, mostly by feeding opine needles (i.e. pine, cedar, etc.), around which it also weaves its silk cocoon. In spring, it then comes down from its tree in order to burrow underground and thus complete its transformation. Risk is particularly high at this time of the year, as the chance for our pets of coming into contact with them is considerably increased.

Note:  the term “processionary” originates from the habit these caterpillars have of travelling around together in single file.

Risks to animals

Be under no circumstance fooled by the non-threatening appearance of these caterpillars. They actually possess urticating hairs which are released when threatened or stressed. These hairs are different from the caterpillar’s visible hairs: each is equipped with a hook which attaches to the skin and/or the surfaces of other organs, then ruptures and delivers a highly dangerous toxin.

Though cats can be affected, it is mainly dogs, with their playful temperaments, that tend to be most attracted to these tiny crawling creatures. The muzzle and mouth are most often affected. However, because the urticating hairs are very volatile, it is not unusual for other parts of the body to be involved (e.g. the eyes and eyelids). If ingestion occurs, the digestive tract can also be damaged.

Symptoms in dogs and cats

Mouth 

In addition to the pain caused, there will be significant inflammation visible around the animal’s mouth and muzzle. Necrosis of the tongue can rapidly occur and could even cause some parts to fall off, depriving the animal of being able to eat properly.

Skin

Contact with the dog or cat’s skin will cause an aggressive rash with multiple red spots. Itching and swelling of the affected area also often occur.

Eyes

The fact that these urticatig hairs can seriously damage the eyes, any contact with eyes is very dangerous and very painful for the animal. Moreover, the hairs can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva and the cornea resulting into corneal ulcers. Without being treated properly, they can even cause complete loss of sight.

What to do in case of contact?

If contact with a processionary caterpillar occurs, rinsing thoroughly the affected area without rubbing is recommended. It is important to seek urgent medical care as the consequences can sometimes be serious and irreversible for the cat or dog. When treated rapidly, the chance of a full recovery without long-term effects are much better.

 

Holiday Checklist

Holiday Checklist

Holiday checklist, hints and tips, here are some suggestions to start you off..

   
  Holiday Spending Money, order your currency ready
  Passport / Check expiry date / Visa Requirements
  Medication  – (better if kept in hand luggage).  Make sure you take enough for your trip, and a few days extra just in case.

TIP :- If you take medication for a medical condition, make sure if you have travel insurance that the medical condition has been declared and accepted –  You may need to call the insurance to check this, better off doing this before travelling to be sure…  ! 

  Sun Care Products
  Vaccinations – depending on where you are traveling.
  Book Car Hire / Transfers
  If hotel does not have 24/7 reception, make sure you will be able to check in when you arrive. Contact hotel in advance to save problems upon arrival
   
  EHIC Card / Please remember to take this if visiting European Country where reciprocal agreement applies, just in case you require healthcare abroad.
  Print off Boarding cards  / Accom & Transfer Vouchers / Save to Airline app if applicable – (this could save you a lot of money)
  Book Assistance with Airline if required
  Cancel Milk / Newspapers whilst you are away, etc
  Pets / Arrange dog sitter  / Kennels  / Cattery etc

FCDO travel advice –  Click here