Watch out for pine purse caterpillars: they can cost your dog his life!

Pine bursa caterpillars appearing in rows in the spring; particularly dangerous for dogs. When dogs come into contact with these creatures, life-threatening situations can arise. What should you do if something like this happens to you? Here are the answers to all the questions…

Watch out for pine purse caterpillars: they can cost your dog his life!

The pine processionary is an insect that is seen mainly in the pine forests of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Marmara regions of our country and which harms trees.

This insect, commonly called the pine purse caterpillar, is actually a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly.

The caterpillars that grow in pockets on the branches of pine trees during the winter months begin to descend at the base of the trees in March-April and May.

In this period, they represent a great danger for our friends the cats and the dogs. These lined furry caterpillars can easily attract dogs’ attention.

Since these long hairs, which attract the attention of dogs, contain toxic substances, our friends cats and dogs pose a great danger when they come into contact with them.

The tongue of our canine friends who want to play with these caterpillars can cause problems that can lead to death when it comes into contact with the caterpillar.

What if this happens to you? Here are the answers to all the questions:

What are the symptoms seen in dogs licking the pine purse caterpillar?

Image: Webtekno

Many clinical cases of regular contact with pine caterpillars are reported every year in Turkey. Pine purse caterpillar, in contact with dogs May cause hypersensitivity reaction on skin and mucous membranes.

There are a lot of white and light yellowish-brown hairs on the feet, which are located on the lower part of the abdomen of the caterpillars.

These hairs cause dermatitis in living beings that come into contact with them. Some of the findings that can occur if your dog comes into contact with this nuisance creature include:

  • respiratory distress
  • tachypnea (rapid, shallow breathing)
  • hypothermia (The body loses heat)
  • cyanosis (Dark bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes as a result of decreased oxygen in the blood)
  • tongue edema
  • Libial angioedema (Skin and internal organ edema)
  • Pityalism (Excessive saliva secretion)
  • Conjunctivitis (Inflammation of the light tissue surrounding the white of the eye and eyelids)
  • severe necrosis of the tongue

Why is the pine purse caterpillar so dangerous for dogs?

Pine bursa caterpillars are dangerous not only to dogs, but also to cats and other animals, even humans.

However, our canine friends, whom we go out and walk under trees such as pines, may come into contact with these creatures the most.

Pine bursa caterpillars, which reach 3-5 cm in length, descend from trees in April-May to search for food in colonies. It also attracts dogs’ attention when they land in these seasons.

Actually the larva of a species of butterfly, it touches these poisonous creatures with its paws or mouth.

Although the dogs touch the caterpillar with their paw, the acidic poison (thaumetopoein) of the larva hurts it and begins to lick its paw to relieve pain.

When he does this, the poison now reaches his mouth.

If left unattended, it can lead to death.

An extremely painful process begins when our canine friends come into contact with the pine purse caterpillar. Dogs begin to get angry and swallow after contact. In a few minutes tongue edema (glossitis) and sores inside the mouth (stomatitis) begins to form.

This process can sometimes be so cumbersome that dogs He cannot close his mouth due to laryngeal edema and begins to have difficulty breathing.

If your dog swallowed caterpillars during this process, he may start vomiting. In a very short time, part or all of the tongue becomes Zionized due to the difficulty in venous blood flow.

If the event is not noticed and treatment is not started immediately, situations that will lead to the death of the dog may arise. In cases where precautions are not taken, blood clotting may occur.

Additionally, tongue necrosis can occur 2-5 days after contact and can cause tongue fragmentation.

What are the treatment methods if the dog comes into contact with the pine purse caterpillar?

As soon as you realize that your dog has come into contact with the pine purse caterpillar, you should take him to a veterinarian immediately.

Although immediate intubation is necessary in dogs with severe respiratory distressBy using antihistamines and corticosteroids, your dog’s life-threatening situation is avoided.

If the tongue is swollen, washing the tongue with warm water may help. Another alternative to hot water, which deactivates the caterpillar toxin, is to use vinegar.

Before all these treatment methods, please keep in mind that your first goal is to reach a competent veterinarian.

How to keep your dog away from the pine purse caterpillar?

When walking dogs, especially in the spring (March-April-May), be sure to walk them as much as possible in areas where there are no pine trees.

If you see caterpillar nests in the pines, you can notify the municipal teams and save not only the dogs, but also the trees and other animals.

Close contact with this caterpillar, which emerges in the spring, can be dangerous for humans and animals (especially dogs).

If there are severe clinical manifestations, the prognosis depends on how quickly the disease is diagnosed and on the start of treatment.

For your legged friends and for your own health, it helps to be very careful when walking in wooded areas during these months.

The emotional person recounts the process of the dog that came into contact with the pine purse caterpillar.

This is a common problem, especially in the spring. pine purse caterpillar, The Instagram phenomenon also came into contact with Berraque’s dog “Friday”.

Berraque shares the process her dog Frida went through after coming into contact with the pine caterpillar on her Instagram account, explaining that they should be aware of this issue and how they should act if it happens to them:

“The other day, after the caterpillar accident that made an emergency call to Frida, “Is this caterpillar that caterpillar?” When the questions started coming in, I decided to share the event unfortunate that happened to us in the form of a publication. And perhaps those who do not see will see and similar accidents will be avoided.

The caterpillars you can see in the second photo, appearing in March and April, walking hand in hand like a dance team, are called Pine Pouch Caterpillars. For humans, trees are very harmful. For dogs, it is mortally dangerous.

If your dog or cat swallows or eats these caterpillars, tissue loss begins in their tongue. If urgent intervention is not taken, part, sometimes all, of the tongue is removed along with the dying tissue. In some cases, the tongue and trachea swell and death can occur due to shortness of breath. It causes hives-like lesions and itching in humans and drying out in trees.

How did I find out? Frida wandered around the garden for 10 minutes and immediately came back and started rubbing her mouth violently with her paws. His saliva flowed out and he started scratching his mouth with extreme itching and restlessness. He vomited a little and started shaking. This all happened in 5 minutes.

If you encounter such a situation, I recommend that you go to your veterinarian without delay if only for a minute, within 2 hours the tongue can begin to rot. Thanks to my quick action, Fridoş survived with minimal damage with 2 days of cortisone treatment, but of course my life was gone. For years these caterpillars have been coming out, we sweep them up and clean them up. It’s our first time. It is not necessary to say no. (Treatment is not advice consult your veterinarian)

While serious biological control has been used for this parasite, I see no such attempt these days. If you see these cocoons and invaders in the trees near you, you can ask the heads of forest management, municipal parks and garden services to have them cleared away.

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