Thursday, June 14, 2012

What’s a little bee sting?

It’s been over a year now since my fiancé and I took in our part Siamese, slightly cross-eyed, bundle of fur Gaffney. It has also been nearly a year since I took the Red Cross Pet First Aid course where I learned skills which I have, fortunately, not had to use. *knocks on wood* Well, there was one day, probably less than a month after I took Pet First Aid, when Gaffney starting “choking.” Being the PFA expert, I quickly picked her up, turned her upside down and began massaging the back of her neck to remove whatever had lodged there. It turned out to be nothing, but I still felt pretty impressed with myself.

Fast forward 12 months and 365 escape attempts, and Gaffney has somehow managed to only use up one or two of her nine lives. She almost used up one more this week when she had an encounter with a little bee. During her hyper moods, Gaffney loves to attack anything that moves—flies, beetles, printers, feet, birds outside the window. Blinds in nearly every room have suffered due to her fixation. On Tuesday, she got a real treat when a couple of bees found their way into our kitchen. For some reason, maybe it’s because I am not allergic to bees, it did not occur to me that Gaffney swatting at the striped invaders might be a bad idea.

 When not ruining window treatments or attacking feet, Gaffney enjoys sleeping.

It was only after she had bested one of the two that I re-entered the kitchen to find 10 more had joined the first pair. Through the floor vent they flew to avenge their fallen comrade. We quickly removed Gaffney from the room, and after sting proofing myself (putting on a hoodie and my winter gloves) I took care of the rest of the crew. Although we cannot be sure, Gaffney either has no allergic reaction to bee stings or she miraculously did not get stung.

For those of you wondering, as I did Tuesday evening, pets can have allergic reactions to bee stings. They are usually stung in their nose or feet—the less hairy areas of their bodies. Signs that your pet has been stung and is having an allergic reaction are:
  • collapse
  • difficulty breathing
  • pain, itching or licking at the site
  • redness, discoloration or hives around the site and other body parts
  • red bumps on the abdomen, vomiting or diarrhea and swelling at the sting site
Hopefully, you will be lucky like we were, but if not, check that your pet is breathing, check for signs of shock and if the stinger is still there, scrape it off with a firm object like a credit card. DO NOT “PICK” IT OUT! That could release more toxins. Apply a cool compress to help with swelling and get your pet to the Vet ASAP.

You could also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course to learn how to respond to possible emergencies. They even give you a handy dandy reference guide which you can always refer back to. The next course at the Louisville Area Chapter is Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Course cost is $70 per person. To register or for more information, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit