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Write from the Heart

In my blog I will write about whatever has my attention on the day I write, sometimes it will be funny, sometimes packed with information that I hope will prove useful for those living in Spain.

Danger in the Campo and Town
13 February 2015 @ 21:26

It is that time of year again when danger can take you unaware. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened to us today.


When we lived in the Campo we were vigilant and always on the lookout for the appearance of the nests of the Pine Processionary Moth. We were vigilant  because there were pine trees all around us. As soon as we spotted the nests appearing we knew we had to walk our dog well away from their nesting places.




The Caterpillar of the Pine Processionary Moth has fine hairs along each side of its body. These hairs are poisonous to humans and can be lethal to your pets.


If someone gets any of these hairs on their skin they will develop a rash like the one gotten from stinging nettles. The discomfort is also like the sting of a nettle but more persistent and the effects will last for much longer.


If it is your dog that sniffs the caterpillars or even sniffs or walks where the caterpillars have been, then the situation is much more serious. The hairs of these little caterpillars can kill your dog if immediate action is not taken.


We were walking our dog in the town this afternoon and because there are very few Pine trees in the town we don't have much trouble with the caterpillars. We don't get to see many of these pesky and dangerous little critters or their nests where we normally walk our dog, and we were not expecting to see any around town today.



But on our walk this afternoon we came across just a few of these caterpillars on the pavement. Unfortunately, we didn't spot the caterpillars before our puppy Bosun did. Bosun investigated the caterpillars with his nose, sniffing round the caterpillars. Fortunately my husband noticed immediately that our little puppy had sniffed the poisonous caterpillars.



We picked Bosun up and took him  immediately to our Vet's surgery. It was siesta time so the vet was not there but we rang the emergency number and told him what had happened.


The vet said he would come immediately so within fifteen minutes of it happening Bosun was seen and treatment started.


Within ten minutes of it happening the puppy was already drooling and feeling sorry for himself. The vet washed out our puppies mouth and flushed out his nose. The vet gave Bosun three injections, and hopefully we have caught it in time for our lovely little puppy to recover.


It is clear that our puppy Bosun's mouth is very tender and painful. Our vet suggested that we try to give Bosun some cold yoghurt to help bring the swelling down.


We tried, but unfortunately, the pain and discomfort from Bosun's swollen and inflamed tongue has made it impossible for him to lap up the yoghurt.


The vet told us not to try and feed Bosun anything solid as it would be too painful for him. We all feel so helpless and it is so distressing to see him whimpering and drooling and in such a sorry state.


Bosun is just four months old and so he is still only a baby, and just like a baby he has no idea what is happening to him and he is very distressed. It is very distressing for all of us, the vet has done all he can for little Bosun, now we just have to wait until the pain and the swelling goes away. I hope that it does not take long.


Please, please be very vigilant and look out for these dangerous critters. Please, don't let your pets get anywhere near where they are or where they have been. These hairs remain dangerous even after the caterpillars have shed them.

Like 0


jenny rees said:
14 February 2015 @ 10:15

Please let us all know soonest about Bosun's recovery….this must be unbearable for you. But the vet seems to have done everything possible and acted quickly, which is very encouraging to hear. Good luck and kind thoughts….

Edel King said:
14 February 2015 @ 11:48

Oh how terrible for you! I hope he is okay soon, poor little puppy, please let us know how he is doing, all the best

SandrainAlgorfa said:
14 February 2015 @ 21:12

Oh Maggs, I do hope he's okay, but you did what you could, as soon as you could. Our favourite beach/walking place is La Marina, but as there are loads of pine trees there, we'll be keeping away. Big hug to Bosun and to you - because you probably need it more than he does x

maggs224 said:
16 February 2015 @ 01:21

Hi Jenny
It has been a harrowing couple of days and poor Bosun was such a pitiful sight. He was in a lot of pain and his mouth and tongue were very swollen and painful.

We could not even pick him up to comfort him as if you even tried to lift him he cried and whimpered. It was heartbreaking to watch the poor little fellow suffer like this.

Bosun's head seemed so tender and sensitive that he could not even bear to lay down and rest his head. He just sat with his head hanging down and drooling.

I am glad to say that we have turned the corner, he is still not the happy little chappie that he was, but he is slowly getting back to normal. He has no stamina he tires very quickly, but some of the swellings are going down.

He can now rest his head and sleep, and has enjoyed thin slivers of our Sunday roast.

He is on a course of antibiotics and due to go back to see the vet tomorrow.

maggs224 said:
16 February 2015 @ 01:24

Hi Edel if you read my reply to Jenny you will see that Bosun has turned the corner and is on the road to recovery. Thank you for your concern :D

maggs224 said:
16 February 2015 @ 01:33

Hi Sandra, Thanks so much for the hugs, poor Bosun could not even bear to be picked up poor little soul.

I think that you are wise not to go anywhere near Pine trees until the season for these critters is over. It is harrowing, to say the least, to see an animal that you love in such pain and misery.

I am pleased to say that we seem to have turned the corner, we see the vet on Monday and hope that the damage done to Bosun's mouth and tongue is not permanent.

Ann Patras said:
18 February 2015 @ 17:11

Meggs, thank you for posting this, as a lot of people do not realise just how dangerous these pests are.
Our Lab has been 'caterpillared' twice - the first time when she was 5 months old. Fortunately early recognition and treatment of the situation saw her recover fully on both occasions.
We are unfortunate enough to have four pine trees bordering our house and despite spraying each year the nests still reappear.
Last year the first caterpillar dropped out of one tree on Boxing Day, which was when our lab came into contact with it. Both our (big) dogs had to be house bound for the next 3 months. We had the trees sprayed TWICE and the day after the second spraying - in ONE DAY - 772 dying (but still dangerous) caterpillars fell from our trees - yes we picked up every one with tweezers and counted as we went!
Yet the bloody Ayuntamiento will not allow the felling of the pine trees as they are 'protected'. What about protection for us and our animals!
Last month I had experts remove 30+ nests, TWICE, using snippers, as well as having them sprayed, yet I have today just noticed another small nest forming at the top of one tree.
To say I've had enough of processionary caterpillars is an understatement!

Catalanbrian said:
21 February 2015 @ 14:34

Yes these are pretty unpleasant creatures. If you find a nest it is best to not touch it until you have sprayed it with hairspray to stop the hairs from detaching from the caterpillars. Then cut the branch off and burn the nest on a bonfire.

Nickycondon said:
21 February 2015 @ 17:30

Hope he recovers quickly he's gorgeous

DJF said:
24 February 2015 @ 18:03

Whilst I can have every sympathy for all those affected by these caterpillars, both canine and human, has anyone given a thought to what these creatures metamorphosis into?

They may well be a beautiful butterfly or moth which, when you see it you will say, "what a lovely thing to see on this balmy summers day"

Just a thought, keep away from them as caterpillars you know how harmful they are

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