Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Bee Sting Allergies?

There are over 3,000 species of bees in the United States, so determining what kind of bee stung your dog may be important. However, if you do not see a dead body of a bee nearby, do not spend time looking for it. Unfortunately, some bees can send out an SOS to their other bee friends, so you need to take your dog and yourself to a safe place right away. After you are in a safe place, do your best to find the stinger and remove it because the stinger has venom on it. A bee sting allergy is much more serious than other types, like with food or inhaled allergens because it is more commonly associated with anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening emergency.

If your dog gets stung by a bee while you are around, you will likely hear a yelp of pain and your dog may go and hide somewhere. Since there are many kinds of bees and your dog cannot talk, you may want to get a look at the insect and call your veterinarian for advice on what to do. While bee stings are usually not dangerous on their own, if your dog is allergic to bees, it can be deadly. The signs will show up right away if your dog is allergic. Some of these signs are severe itching, swelling of the sting area, redness, hives, diarrhea, and even vomiting, collapse and difficulty breathing. If your dog has any signs of anaphylactic shock, you need to go to the animal hospital right away. Some of the signs of anaphylactic shock include breathing trouble, wheezing, blue tint to skin and mucous membranes, and collapse. You do not want to wait around trying to get an appointment if your dog cannot breathe. Whether your dog shows symptoms or not, you should take your dog to a veterinary professional as soon as you can just in case.

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Bee Sting Allergies Average Cost

From 482 quotes ranging from $350 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs

The symptoms of bee stings in dogs are usually mild unless they are allergic. If so, then your dog’s condition will quickly progress to an emergency and medical help is needed immediately. These symptoms are reported in dogs with allergy to bee stings:

  • Circulatory collapse
  • Cold limbs
  • Collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Excessive licking
  • Excitement
  • Facial swelling
  • Hives
  • Incoordination
  • Itching in areas like groin, ears, and muzzle
  • Mental confusion
  • Nausea
  • Pale gums
  • Paw biting
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Salivation
  • Shock
  • Skin rash
  • Sudden defecation or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes
  • Weakness

 Types

There are close to 3,500 bee species in North America and it is hard to tell the difference unless you are a professional. However, there are two main types of bees and wasps:

  • Solitary bees live on their own and do not associate with other bees. They do not usually sting anyone.
  • Social Bees are the most common and they include honey bees and bumble bees. They are the kind that build a nest together and will defend themselves, their colony, and their nests.
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Causes of Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs

The cause of bee stings is because dogs are naturally curious and playful. They like to chase and eat bugs, and when they catch a bee in their mouth they usually get stung. Some other causes are:

  • Stepping on a bee or wasp
  • Walking into a digger wasp nest (which is on the ground)
  • Owner “swatting away” a bee
  • Wasps that are aggressive (yellow jackets) will go after food or trash cans, and if your dog is in that area, they will attack
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Diagnosis of Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs

If your dog is having an allergic reaction, the veterinarian will not perform an examination or do laboratory tests until your pet is stable. The first course of action will be to administer injectable epinephrine, corticosteroids, and/or antihistamines. An intravenous line will be started for fluids, and oxygen will be provided but if your dog cannot breathe on his own, the veterinarian will insert a breathing tube.

Once your dog is stable, a physical examination will be done to check your dog’s general condition. The veterinarian will check skin condition, reflexes, condition of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, temperature, blood pressure, body weight, breath sounds, pulse, and respiration rate.  

Some laboratory tests that will be performed are urinalysis, fecal examination, glucose levels, and a complete blood count. The veterinarian will also want to do a chemistry profile to check the levels of liver enzymes, proteins, albumen, amylase and other substances that help determine the health of your dog’s internal organs. If any of these tests show an abnormality, the veterinarian may need x-rays, CT scan, MRI, or an ultrasound to get a closer look at the problem. An electrograph (ECG) or echocardiogram (echo) will be used to monitor your dog’s heart rate and muscle function.

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Treatment of Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs

The veterinarian will take a look at the injection site and make sure that you were able to remove the stinger and to check for more than one sting site. Along with the epinephrine, antihistamines, and steroids, the veterinarian will continue the IV fluids and oxygen therapy for about 24 to 48 hours. The length of treatment depends on your dog’s symptoms, test results, and reaction to treatment. While in the hospital, the staff will continue to monitor your dog’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and vital organ activity. The team will provide supportive measures if necessary, such as additional steroids, antihistamines, and administer antibiotics if the veterinarian thinks it may be necessary in order to prevent infection.

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Worried about the cost of Bee Sting Allergies treatment?

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Recovery of Bee Sting Allergies in Dogs

Recovery is excellent if you were able to get treatment for your dog right away. Now that you know your dog is allergic to bee stings you will have to take extra precautions when outside. To reduce the chances of bee stings in the future, be sure to keep your lawn cut short and watch out for bees. Your veterinarian will probably advise you to keep liquid antihistamine or an epinephrine pen (epi-pen) for your dog in case of another episode. Call your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns as you learn about owning a pet with an allergy to bee stings.

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Bee Sting Allergies Average Cost

From 482 quotes ranging from $350 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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Bee Sting Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Labrador Retriever

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Ten Months

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

We believe our dog got stung by a bee. If looked like she caught it, but didn’t show any symptoms or behavior changes until the following day. It has been about 28 hours since the incident and now she is throwing up almost every hour. Is this normal? There is minor swelling to her cheek

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. We usually see facial swelling a few hours later that goes away within a day or two. If your dog is vomiting, it would be best to see your vet. Your dog may have gastroenteritis or some other GI issue causing her to vomit. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 13, 2020

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Jojo

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Mix

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2 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Cold
Vomiting
Lethargy
Collapse
White Gums

Anaphylaxis in Our Dog- Jojo woke us up at 2am vomiting in bed. She then collapsed upon being placed on the floor and could not get up. She was wheezing, couldn’t lift her head and had her tongue hanging out and was lifeless. When we got her to the emergency vet right away, she couldn’t control her bowels and started pooping on the exam table. The doctor put her on corticosteroids and IV fluids right away and luckily she made a full recovery and got to come home the next day. The doctor thought most likely she was stung by a wasp or bee, but she didn’t show symptoms for 4 hours (went out at 10pm- started symptoms at 2am.) There was no swelling and they couldn’t find any stings/bites on her body exam. What else could cause anaphylaxis in the middle of the night or is it possible that stings wouldn’t show symptoms right away? We are so worried to do anything with her in fear of the unknown cause...

Sept. 2, 2018

Jojo's Owner

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Bee Sting Allergies Average Cost

From 482 quotes ranging from $350 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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