Bee Venom Desensitisation

Written by Andrew Carter, Dermatologist

Many pets are bitten by bees every year in Australia.  Commonly they present with acute onset of angioedema or hives.  Most veterinary practises treat these episodes without difficulty using glucocorticoids and antihistamines.  In rare cases the bee envenomation can result in anaphylaxis presenting with vomiting, respiratory distress, seizures, collapse, hypovolaemic shock and even death.

Processes to manage these patients  include keeping pets indoors, supplying owners of susceptible pets with Epipens or adrenaline to administer at home.  If the owner is not present to see a pet stung, then this treatment may be too late. Therefore, it is recommended that patients showing an anaphylactic reaction are allergy tested and if appropriate, treated with bee venom immunotherapy.

Adelaide Veterinary Specialist & Referral Centre (AVSRC) is pleased to announce that we now have facilities for allergy testing and desensitisation for bees.  The first three dog patients are showing positive results and two have had subsequent bee stings without serious reactions. AVSRC are also investigating further processes for treating European wasps. The allergens for the European wasp are ordered on a case-by-case basis.