AHVEC North Hobart After Hours Veterinary Emergency Centre

Anaphylaxis and insect bite reactions

Ouch! That stings!

Just like us, animals can suffer from insect bites and stings which can be very irritating and painful.

Often animals will be intrigued by insects and follow them, play with them or bite at them. As a result can get a nasty bite or sting.

Sometimes they will not show any signs of having been bitten, but often they will have a reaction.

The reactions can range from a mild irritation to sudden collapse.

What can I do if I suspect my pet has been stung/bitten?

In any case of breathing difficulty or sudden collapse, you should seek immediate veterinary attention for your pet!

  • Please call AHVEC or your regular general practice for advice on whether the pet needs to be seen, and how quickly!
  • If you find a sting stuck in your pets skin or mouth, try to gently remove it with tweezers
  • Apply a cool wet towel or a cold pack wrapped in a towel to the area to help with any swelling and discomfort
  • Some stings/bites need to be treated with either injectable or oral antihistamines, possibly with corticosteroids.
  • If your pet has collapsed, your vet may recommend, your pet stays in hospital with intravenous fluids and pain relief.

Common culprits

Bees and wasps

bee and wasp





How do I know if my pet has been stung?

Signs your pet may have been bitten/stung by an insect:

  • Irritation
  • Unsettled behaviour
  • Rubbing or scratching
  • Licking constantly at one spot
  • Pain
  • Swelling – often around the face or feet
  • Little bumps over the body (hives)
  • Sudden vomiting and /or diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapse