This is what happened: It was Sunday morning and we had just let Bennett outside for his morning hangout. About 10 minutes later he came back inside and he started shaking his head and scratching his face in a really desperate way. As a doggy parent you know what’s normal and what’s not. Bennett then walked into the lounge and evacuated his bowels, which was weird since we’d just seen him have his morning poo. As he walked back to the bedroom we could see him get increasingly unsteady on his feet. He then pooped again- this time runny-  and groggily walked over to the wall which he just faced and stood wobbling. We knew something was seriously wrong, and guessed that he must have been stung by a bee, and was having a reaction. There is a swarming hive just outside our house.

Things got a bit panicky when Lauren picked him up and he just collapsed into her arms. This all happened so fast, 3 or 4 minutes tops. I called our usual vet, but it was 8am on a Sunday and his practice opens at 9, so no answer. From adding content onto DoggyDo recently I remembered some emergency vet entries. I opened the app and it showed me that Belmont Vet in Rondebosch is the closest to where we are in Vredehoek. I could dial their number directly from the app to tell them we were coming in. We jumped in the car, pyjamas and all. The app allowed for me to get the directions to Belmont Vet directly, with one press of a button.

Bennett’s gums were now white and his breathing was short and shallow. It was one of the scariest car rides. It felt so long; it was only 7 minutes . Bennett stopped breathing when we were still 2 minutes away. I saw his head lolling and his tongue had also gone white. When we got to Belmont Vet they were waiting for us and took B straight from our arms. Bennett had gone into anaphylactic shock. It’s apparently not so common, but he must be allergic. He has been stung twice in his short 9 months, although he showed no symptoms of an allergy with the first sting which was on his paw. This time, we didn’t find a stinger. He may well have swallowed the bee. Or maybe just the cumulative toxins from just two stings, given an allergy, caused this severe reaction.

Bennett received cortisone and I am not sure what other meds, and the vet admitted him for the rest of the day for observation. We came home and did some research, and found out that he could have died if we had taken any longer to get him to the vet. It seems as though you have a window of something like half an hour to get them to medicine, and that the more rapid the onset of the symptoms the more severe the attack. We are going to get an epipen for him, although this won’t be a substitute for getting him to the vet, but just buys time. And we are looking into gentle ways to relocate the bees.

We were overjoyed when the vet called in the late afternoon to say Bennett had been barking and wagging his tail and that we could come and fetch him. In the evening he was pretty much his usual self- difficult to reconcile with the state he had been in earlier. Wow, we were so relieved.

Things we learned from this horrible experience.

  • If you suspect something is wrong, get into action straight away as time could be the difference between life and death
  • Always know the location of the closest 24 hour vet, save the number in your phone. If you have DoggyDo, this information is there for you and it is geolocated so you just press one button for directions from your current location.
  • Have Pet Insurance – we have signed up to MediPet which is a Cape Town based pet insurance company. Emergency trips to vets are not cheap.

More info about dogs and bee stings.