Moth caterpillars are common in all parts of the US, and sometimes they can grab the attention of a dog. What’s more fun (for your dog) than chasing a moth caterpillar, such as the American Dagger moth caterpillar? Some dogs may even try to eat these caterpillars, but can the American Dagger moth caterpillar make a dog sick?
Has your dog eaten an American Dagger moth caterpillar? Are you worried the American Dagger moth caterpillar will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.
We’ve gathered information about American Dagger moth caterpillars and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What is an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar?
The American Dagger moth caterpillar is a pretty yellow, fluffy moth caterpillar. They have long black hairs sticking out of their bodies, too. These caterpillars have a natural defense mechanism that includes toxins on their hair. The dagger-like hairs have the ability to inject the toxin into the skin. Even the shed hair of this caterpillar can cause this problem.
Most people who touch these caterpillars experience a stinging sensation that results in an itchy rash.
While American Dagger caterpillar toxin can affect humans, what about dogs? What happens if a dog eats an American Dagger caterpillar?
American Dagger Caterpillar & Dogs
Unfortunately, the American Dagger caterpillar toxin is also harmful to dogs. In most cases, the dog will experience the sting and itchy rash of the caterpillar. However, it’s possible that a dog could be allergic to the caterpillar’s toxin.
Symptoms of American Dagger Caterpillar Ingestion in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten an American Dagger caterpillar:
- Excessive drooling
- Head shaking
- Itching, rash
- Excessive drooling
- Itching & rash
- Breathing difficulties
- Swelling of the tongue & throat (and possibly the dog’s face)
If your dog has any concerning symptoms or shows signs of an allergic reaction, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Treatment of American Dagger Moth Caterpillar Ingestion in Dogs
The vet may treat an allergic reaction with antihistamines and corticosteroids. In a severe allergic reaction, the vet may need to also give your dog an IV with fluids and to administer medications.
Your fur baby may require epinephrine if he’s having a severe allergic reaction. This medication works to stop the reaction. In some cases, your canine companion may also require supplemental oxygen to ease his breathing.
The prognosis is best for dogs that receive prompt medical treatment after eating an American Dagger moth caterpillar. In the future, it’s a good idea to train your dog not to eat these and other bugs or caterpillars. He may even decide to avoid them on his own! And you’ll both be happier for it!