Warning as toxic caterpillars found on UK beaches

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beach boy
Image by Sally Wynn on Pixabay

Spring is finally here – probably the best time of the year for long walks on the beach with our dogs. However, beaches can hide dangers – and recently there have bee reports suggesting an outbreak of Brown Tail Moth Caterpillars across Essex beaches.

Neil Hutchinson, from Kennel Store, talks about the risks associated with these caterpillars, the dangers they can be to dogs, and what to do if you suspect your dog may have ingested one.

When it comes to identifying a Browntail Moth, they have some features that make them easy to identify. Browntail 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.

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 devasting. In the instance that your dog ingests a browntail moth caterpillar, the toxins released by these caterpillars can cause digestive issues, diarrhoea, and even lesions.

Brown Tail Moth Caterpillars

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. Dog owners should remain vigilant and avoid beaches and areas that are reporting outbreaks of Brown Tail Moth Caterpillars to keep dogs safe.

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.

This is a guest essay by Neil Hutchinson. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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