The health risk for dogs goes from the Oak processionary caterpillars out of. The most dangerous part of these caterpillars is their hair. The thousands of nettle hairs contain thaumetopoein, an irritating substance that can become a serious problem for other animals. The greatest danger is from May to July, when the caterpillars come down from the trees and develop into adult moths on the ground.
The oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) is a relatively small moth. The caterpillars live mainly on oaks, but also like to colonize other tree species in parks and forests and often appear in larger groups. In stressful situations or when threatened, the oak processionary moth sheds its hair. Each hair has a hook that attaches to the dog’s skin. This causes the hair to break and release its irritating substance. The caterpillar hairs remain for many years and therefore pose a hazard in the areas where they settle.
In order to avoid the danger of the irritating hair, it is important to be able to recognize the caterpillars and nests.
The caterpillars have black heads and bodieswith long white hair are covered. The problematic substance is in the hair.
The nests are usually dome- or teardrop-shaped. Their diameter corresponds approximately to that of a tennis ball. Initially, the nests are white, over time they change color and acquire a brown color.
If the dog comes into contact with the hair of the caterpillar, there is an acute health risk. How to recognize the symptoms:
Hair in the mouth, nose and face: Drooling, tongue swelling, conjunctivitis, vomiting, difficulty breathing, swollen mouth
Hair in the lungs: various lung problems, danger of suffocation
Hair in the stomach and intestines: damage in the digestive tract