Dog Owners Warned Following Outbreak Of Toxic Caterpillars
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Dog owners are being warned about an outbreak of toxic caterpillars.
Locals in Essex claim that brown-tail moths have been spotted on beaches in the region, Essex Live reports.
According to RHS, the brown-tail moth is an insect native to Britain that has hairy black caterpillars with red and white markings.
They are found mostly in southern England and Wales, with the caterpillars feeding between April and June. RHS explain how the hairs on the caterpillars can "readily break off and cause an intense irritation and rash on the skin" - but they can also be toxic to dogs, too.
Dog experts at the Kennel Store have commented on the risks associated with these caterpillars, and what to do if you're worried about your fur baby.
"When it comes to identifying a brown-tail moth, they have some features that make them easy to identify. Brown-tail moths are brown, have a white dotted line down each side, and have two red dots on the back of their tail, making them easily distinguishable," Kennel Store explains.
"They can be harmful to humans as they can cause itchy skin. They release irritant hairs in the air, which can cause a severe reaction to some. But dogs can also be affected and the effects can be devastating.
"In the instance that your dog ingests a brown-tail moth caterpillar, the toxins released by these caterpillars can cause digestive issues, diarrhoea, and even lesions.
"If you have a dog that has little to no hair on its tummy or muzzle, they could be at risk of breaking out in rashes or dermatitis, if a caterpillar attaches itself to your dog. Fur will mostly protect them from suffering from irritated, itchy skin."
So what can we do to protect our pups?
"Dog owners should remain vigilant and avoid beaches and areas that are reporting outbreaks of brown-tail moth caterpillars to keep dogs safe," Kennel Store continue.
"If you notice your dogs behaviour or health change, and you suspect they have ingested a brown-tail moth caterpillar, we advise taking your dog to visit a vet to get a check-up.
"Your vet will be able to advise further in terms of treatment and the course of action moving forward."
We'll certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for these!