The vet offers advice on keeping pets safe

(© Ralf Broskvar –

Brood X cicadas have now arrived in large numbers in the East and Midwest, giving backyard pets a delicious treat. Veterinarian Mark Freeman of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, pet owners should be extra careful over the next few weeks.

“As a general rule, an animal can eat several cicadas without any complications. Most dogs find them quite fascinating and will happily take them in their mouths. Once the animal finds out how deliciously crunchy they are, they happily eat them as well. And then eat more and more of it, ”said Freeman, clinical assistant professor in community practice at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

“This is where problems can develop. Gorging on cicadas can lead to varying degrees of gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea, stomach and intestinal pain, and even the possibility of obstruction if they ingest too many shells that can not then pass. “

Dr Freeman cautions pet owners: If you see your pet picking up a cicada in its mouth, do not attempt to remove it, as this could cause them to swallow the cicada whole, posing a risk of suffocation.

“Let them chew it, then try to get it out of their mouth, or just let them chew it and swallow it, but keep them away.”

“A strong recommendation for dog owners before cicadas hatch is to teach the animal the ‘leave him’ order. This way, when you are walking with your pet and they come across a number of cicadas, you can more easily prevent them from ingesting a large number of them. If you have a young puppy, it would be ideal to keep it on a leash and under control when walking to avoid the risk of ingesting large numbers of cicadas.

If your pet is stuffed with cicadas, it would be recommended that you consult your veterinarian as soon as possible in order to establish an appropriate treatment plan based on the severity of the clinical signs that develop.

“A little vomiting and diarrhea can be managed relatively easily, but severe gastrointestinal pain or possible obstruction requires much more aggressive intervention,” Freeman said. treatment is necessary. “

Experts of Virginia Tech Department of Entomology point out that the periodic cicadas will for the most part have disappeared by the beginning of July and will not be back for another 17 years. So it’s once in the life of an average pet that they’ll find them.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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