Yikes! Insect Stings and Bites

Dogs, Pets, Summer Pets

The great outdoors …camping trips, swims at the beach or walks in the bush means your pet is exposed to a range of insects! and their bites (think snakes, ants, spiders, ticks, wasps and bees).


What to do

  • Think carefully about where let your dog walk or swim to avoid accidental bites or stings
  • Watch your pooch when they go exploring (i.e. sticking their nose in a dark hole!)
  • Ensure your pet is fully protected with up-to-date vaccinations, parasite & tick control

What are the symptoms of a sting or a bite?

  • Sudden onset of pain e.g. yelping, whining, limping.
  • Licking, chewing, pawing and scratching at the bite or sting site.
  • Redness and swelling — this can be local (i.e. around the bite or sting site only) or occur all over the body, especially on the face. 
  • Hives —  also known as welts or urticariaâ These are lumps that can suddenly appear on the body in response to an allergic reaction.
  • Vomiting.
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing.
  • Sudden collapse and unconsciousness— this reaction is called anaphylaxis and is often fatal if not treated quickly.
  • Your pet should be examined immediately by a veterinarian if they have been outside or in the garden, and then vomit, have trouble breathing, collapse or develop facial swelling
  • If the stinger can be easily found, you can attempt to scrape it out with a thin, rigid object. Tweezers can be used to remove the sting, ideally without placing any pressure on the venom sac. If you do not feel confident that you can remove the sting without putting pressure on the venom sac, let a vet remove it (as you risk additional venom being injected into your pet).
  • You can apply a cool compress to the bite site to provide relief while waiting to see a vet or whilst transporting your pet.
  • Do not ever give your pet human medication as the drugs and doses are different for animals and consequences are unpredictable. These may include heavy sedation, dangerously low blood pressure, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is important to only ever give medication prescribed by your vet.


What to expect at the vet.

  • Injectable antihistamines.
  • Injectable anti-inflammatory medications.
  • In severe cases injectable adrenaline.
  • Oxygen – this is needed if your pet is having difficulty breathing or is in shock.
  • Intravenous fluid therapy and medications – if your pet is in shock.
  • The majority of insect bites and stings are quick and easy to treat and have an excellent prognosis. Anaphylaxis, however, is a very serious problem resulting in life-threatening shock that can lead to organ damage (and even failure) in some cases.
  • These patients require hospitalisation for intensive care, occasionally for extended periods of time. With appropriate and timely medical therapy, many of these patients recover.

Avoiding Snake Bites in Dogs and Cats 

Snakes are not just a danger to people our pets all too often come across them and the outcome can be devastating. Dogs and cats are at most risk from snake bite over summer with our vets often seeing animals after a snake bite, particularly farm pets.

Keep your yard clear of undergrowth, debris, holes, tools etc which make good hiding spots for snakes. Old corrugated iron sheeting and other objects left lying around are the perfect spot for snakes to warm themselves or hide beneath. Keep rodents away by limiting feed scraps as they may attract snakes. Make sure your dog is on a lead and under control when in a dangerous snake areas, such as long grass and around dams and other water catchment areas where snake navigate towards.

What to look out for if your pet is bitten by a snake.

Signs of Snake Bite

Snake venom acts in a number of ways and signs increase with time. Animals, particularly cats, are often not noticed until the toxin has started to work. The toxins damage the nervous system causing progressive paralysis, decreases blood clotting, damages muscle and has secondary effects on kidneys. The initial sign of a bite, if you happen to be around, often include: vomiting, confusion, collapse and loss of consciousness.

Often the animal appears to recover after 30 minutes or so, then other signs slowly develop. The other signs usually start to develop in a few hours but sometimes are not noticed for 24 hours. Because of their behaviour, cats are often more affected before it is noticeable.
Often the first sign of a snake bite is the pupils in the eyes become enlarged and do not close in bright light.

Another sign is the animal weak in the hind legs. Dogs are usually noticed wobbly in the hind legs, while cats are often fully paralysed before they are noticed. As the effects of the toxin increase, the animal will have trouble breathing, may have red-brown urine due to muscle damage and will have poor circulation.

What to do if my animal is bitten?

Try to stay calm and take your animal to a vet as soon as possible. Ring the vet clinic first and organise the details to avoid delays at the other end. IF, the snake is found dead, bring the snake in as well, but do NOT attempt to kill the snake or you may become a victim.

What Will the Vet Do
The vet will assess your animal and decide on the best treatment. Most dogs and many cats will die without antivenom. If possible, the vet will identify which antivenom is needed but we have less variation in our area than other places. The anti-venom needs to be given carefully, with fluids and other medications. The animal will stay on fluids for an extended time to aid recovery and decrease secondary damage. In some cases oxygen may be given.

If unsure if the animal has been bitten, a swab for venom may be attempted, but often blood is tested for muscle and clotting damage. The animal will be monitored, given fluids, pain relief and other medication until the animal is OK to go home. Many, but unfortunately not all snake bitten dogs, will recover.

Check out a very brave Rory “Snake bite survivor”.

Brave Rory

We have another snake bite survivor story you might like to read. Brave Rory tackled not one but two snakes and, after a long battle, survived to be reunited with his loving family.

How to enter

Simply share a photo on your Facebook page of your dog rugged up for winter or enjoying the winter sunshine and use the hashtag relevant to your state.

What you can win

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined prize. Each prize includes a winter pet pack to the value of $100.

Click on your state to reveal the hashtag you need to use to enter!

QLD Residents

Share a photo of your dog enjoying the winter sunshine or snoozing in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetQLD

VIC Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetVIC

NSW Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetNSW

TAS Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetTAS

Terms & Conditions

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these conditions. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these conditions. Entries must comply with these conditions to be valid.

Entry is open to Australian residents that meet the competition requirements outlined below during the Competition period 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022. Employees and their immediate families of the Promoter and its agencies associated with this competition are ineligible to enter.

To enter, each entrant must, during the Entry Period, upload a photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile) and use the hashtag corresponding to the state they are in (e.g. #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS).

Winner of the competition will be determined by:

  1. Appropriate photo uploaded (photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile)
  2. Relevant hashtag used (state residing in: #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS)
  3. Number of likes (photo with highest number of likes at end of competition period with all other criteria completed will win)

The competition will close for entries Wednesday, 31 August 2022 at 12:00pm [AEST]. Failure to meet any of the competition requirements will deem entry invalid and will not be eligible to win.

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined.


Competition requirements:

Entrants must be a current client of a participating Apiam/Fur Life Vet clinic.

Entries must be received by the Promoter during the Entry Period. Entries received after 12:00pm [AEST] 31 August 2022 not be accepted.

The competition commences at 00:01 [AEST] on 01/06/2022 and closes at 12:00 [AEDT] 31/08/2022.

Queensland prize includes a pet pack to the value of $100.00.

Victorian, New South Wales, and Tasmanian prize includes two separate pet packs to the value of $100.00.

All taxes (excluding GST) which may be payable as a consequence of receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

The Prize is not transferable and is not redeemable for cash.

The Promoter assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, then the Promoter may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the competition.

If the prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control, the Promoter may substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

The winner will be notified by email on or by 10/09/2022.

Entrants consent to the Promoter using their name, images submitted, pets name, comment, and/or voice in the event that they are a winner in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), as well as any other communications outside of this competition, and/or promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by the Promoter. If you are not willing for these uses or disclosures to occur you cannot participate in the competition.

Further, entrants agree that the Promoter has an unrestricted, irrevocable, transferable, divisible right and licence to use and modify their entry for the purposes of the Promoter’s business including for promotional purposes without the payment of any further fee or compensation.

If requested by the Promoter, the entrant agrees to sign any further documentation required by the Promoter to give effect to this arrangement. To the extent permitted by law, entrants unconditionally and irrevocably consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any moral rights in their entry. Entries remain the property of the Promoter. Details from entries will be collected and used for the purposes of conducting this competition (which may include disclosure to third parties for the purpose of processing and conducting the competition) and for promotional purposes surrounding this competition. By entering this competition entrants consent to the use of their information as described and agree that the Promoter may use this information, or disclose it to other organisations that may use it, in any media for future promotional purposes without any further reference or payment to the entrant.

By entering this competition, entrants consent for the Promoter to use entrant’s name, email address, phone number which entrants submitted to enter for the purposes of administering and operating the competition. Entry is conditional on the Promoter acquiring the aforementioned information. All personal information collected by the Promoter will be handled by the Promoter in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy (PRIVACY) Entrants have the right to access their personal information, request correction of any errors and/or obtain a copy of the Promoter’s privacy policy by contacting getvetchecked@furlifevet.com.au.

The Promoter is Apiam Animal Health Pty Limited (ACN: 604 961 024) at 27-33 Piper Lane East Bendigo, 3550, Victoria, Australia.

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