Caterpillar Time

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By PerrosSi

Unfortunately, it’s ‘spray the land with poison’ time again and shortly after that mid to end of February & March is ‘marching caterpillar time.’ Here are a few tips on what to do in the event of either emergency presenting itself.

The marching caterpillar nest is found in the tops of the Mediterranean pine tree. They look like white candyfloss and contain hundreds of caterpillars that eventually fall to the ground and march in a line. A curious dog will sniff them, try to eat them and then contact the poison that is on the fine hairs of the caterpillar. The poison is an acid and will dissolve the mucus membrane of the nose and tongue. Just as soon as you realize what has happened, rinse your dogs mouth out and his nose with water but be very careful not to let him swallow it. Obviously, rush him to the vet. I know of lots of dogs that have a bit of their tongue missing and they all cope very well. The longer the dog has the poison in his mouth the more problems will develop. The kidneys don’t cope well with the poison and can be damaged. You will also notice the dog has a terribly smelly mouth.

Now is a good time if you see these nests in trees in and around your land or garden to cut them out and burn them as they also start to kill the tree. Rotten little sods all round really! If you see them marching along spray them with petrol and burn them. I know this sounds horrid but it is the safest way to kill them because it stops the hairs flying off and doing further damage.

Poison gives you very little time to act and the further away from a vet you live, the smaller the chances are. The best advice is ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Stay out of the campo and if you live there don’t let your dog wander alone. If you go for a walk use, a lead and possibly a basket muzzle until spraying time is over. As for the small villages, whose inhabitants purposefully put poison down to kill dogs and cats, what can you say? What can you say that you can print!

As the weather starts to warm up and the mozzies come back, it’s worth getting your dog tested for heartworm. If he’s clear, a preventative, monthly tablet is recommended, as heartworm is very, very nasty and can be dangerous and complicated to treat, not to mention expensive.

Good news for Bobby, he’s having a try out with a family and if he gets on with their dog OK, he’s in! I’ve had a good chat with him, ‘told him it’s probably not a good idea to hump their dog, pee on their dog, nick his bed, toys or dinner.’ He agreed, but couldn’t commit. So we’ll see. As always, dogs for adoption and donations of food, blankets, spaying and neutering costs keenly accepted. We need a shed for the cats; if anyone has one they don’t want, we will gladly come and take it down. www.perrossi.com

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