Rodney was born as a healthy beautiful boy; his mummy is a mini Chihuahua so he would grow up to be a miniature boy of only about 3 kilos; he had so many home offers waiting in line for him!

Then one day he came across a Pine Processionary Caterpillar and like any curious little pup he went to sniff the fluffy creature; little did he know what was to follow! Rodney’s face and tongue begun to swell up and he was rushed to the vets who fought hard to beat the poison and keep him alive! After a few days the swelling died down however the tissues around his mouth and part of his tongue were dying leaving him with no lips.

Rodney was then taken out of the clinic to a foster home and continued with regular visits to the vet for monitoring! He is now just like every other pup, eating, drinking, playing chase and fetch but with a unique and, to us, a beautiful look! He has also been adopted and we will have a follow up story shortly.

So what are Pine Processionary Caterpillars? In Cyprus where they are very common in both rural and residential areas, they make their white nests in pine trees and make their way to the ground before becoming moths. They are in abundance at this time of year but the public is generally unaware of how dangerous these caterpillars can be. Dog owners are advised to keep their dogs on a lead while out walking.

The root of their toxicity is a protein. Towards the end of their larval development, Pine Processionary Caterpillars are highly irritating to both human and animal skin. Contact with the hairs of the caterpillar can cause rashes and eye irritation; some individuals may have an allergic reaction. When paws and other body parts of a dog come into contact with the caterpillars’ hairs, they become severely irritated. In response, the dog licks the affected area, leaving the dog’s tongue severely damaged. The tongue may become necrotic, and it may be necessary to amputate the tongue, or part of, to prevent sepsis and spread of necrosis. In extreme cases severe reactions may also cause kidney failure causing death.

NOTE: I am not a vet so any changes in diet, concerns or problems should be discussed with one. I am not responsible for any problems arising from my suggestions on this blog. I am simply sharing what works for my pack.

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