Pine processionary caterpillars

PROCESSIONARY CATERPILLARS: A real danger to humans and other animals

Between the months of February and April the processionaries (pine caterpillars) migrate from their nests (bags) in the pines to their burial area to form the chrysalis that will rise to the butterflies at the end of summer. Sometimes it can happen earlier, so from January you have to be careful.
The fact they go in procession on the ground attracts dogs, not so much cats. The hairs released by caterpillars contain a capsule with a toxin called ‘taumatopein.’ Hair in contact with the skin or mucosa of dogs releases the toxin causing severe swelling, generally on the face, lips, mouth and tongue, in these cases causing the dog to scratch its face and salivation. If the contact with the toxin has been intense, it can cause severe necrosis and infection of the tissues with loss, for example, of part of the tongue. It can sometimes cause severe laryngeal edema that can even lead to death. Eye injuries can also occur. This can occur not only by getting close to the caterpillars but also by the release of hairs into the environment from the bags of the pines by the wind.
If you live near pine trees or after a walk in a pine forest, observe these symptoms in your dog, if possible wash your dog’s mouth thoroughly with water. Use gloves since there may be hairs without releasing the toxin which can cause irritation to your hands and arms. Go to the vet for treatment.


Centro Veterinario de Diagnóstico por Imagen de Levante
C/Los arcos 23 Cuidad Quesada Rojales Tel: 966 716 176 – 609 779 109
www.resonanciaveterinaria.es


Costablanca Norte:
Anicura Marina Baixa Hospital Veterinario
www.veterinariamarinabaixa.com 

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