They’re back with spring: the processionary caterpillars! They take their name from their way of moving, in procession one behind the other. Their presence isn’t without risk for humans or dogs.
The pine processionary caterpillar is actually the larva of a moth. She leaves the tree in which she lived until then when the beautiful days return, to burrow under the soil, a few centimeters deep and turn into a chrysalis. It’s only in June that butterflies come out of their cocoon. The problem is that the processionary caterpillar is covered with stinging hairs, which can disperse with the wind or when you pass the mower in your garden, for example. These hairs will then nest everywhere and can be in contact with your skin. Your dog can also get too close to the caterpillars.
The contact for humans
When the hair comes in contact with the skin, it causes painful eruptions and itching that can spread everywhere. Conjunctivitis may develop during eye contact and; finally, when they get into the airways, it can lead to sore throats, sneezing, difficulty swallowing and even breathing problems.
If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention promptly to prevent the condition from worsening.
The contact for dogs
Often, it’s the muzzle and the tongue that are in contact with the hair of the processionary caterpillar. Whether dead or alive, it is just as dangerous for canines. The first signs are immediately visible: the dog starts squealing because he has pain, he drools and his tongue starts to swell. You may also experience swelling and worrying hardening. In case of contact with one of these caterpillars, go see a veterinarian right away! If the animal is not treated quickly, its tongue can become purple, become necrotic and even fall.
The health professional should treat your companion with an anti-inflammatory, histamine and sometimes even antibiotics. If necessary, he can also proceed to the removal of the language.
How to avoid caterpillars?
Before you cut down all the trees around you, there are solutions to limit the proliferation of processionary caterpillars, such as weeding, which consists of cutting the nests and burning the cocoons, setting up ecopieges or treating biological. The best thing is to call on professionals.
However, be careful when you walk with your dog, make sure he does not stick his nose too close to the caterpillars and if it happens despite your precautions, take him immediately to the vet.