As the warmer months are upon us, one of the more common dangers to curious and/or outdoor pets is being stung by a bee. As with people, pets who are stung by bees may suffer from severe pain, fever, redness, swelling, and potentially secondary infection. If a pet is allergic to bee venom, then more generalized allergic reactions and hives may occur.
If you suspect that your pet has been stung by a bee, close examination of the area for the presence of the stinger is recommended. Most stingers are very tiny; however, the stinger can be easily removed with tweezers or forceps. Cleaning and flushing the area with cool diluted soap solutions can help minimize the development of secondary bacterial infections. Oral Benadryl can be given at a dose of 1 mg per pound every 6 to 8 hours for the first 24 to 36 hours and/or until the swelling resolves. There is a great homeopathic remedy known as Apis mellifica, which can also help dramatically in reducing symptoms in pets. I have also found the homeopathic remedy Ledum effective in some cases as well. Topical antibiotics and/or 1% hydrocortisone cream applied to the area, as well as natural topicals including vitamin E and/or aloe vera gel may also soothe symptoms.
If in doubt and/or a pet suffers a severe immune mediated reaction as mentioned above, veterinary evaluation is recommended, in which case injectable corticosteroids and/or antibiotics also may be prescribed.