The Processionary Pine Tree Caterpillars

Unfortunately they are back once again! Every year from the month of January onwards, we are able to see the nests high up in the branches. So please beware of the danger, as they are nothing but trouble for curious animals and children.

For those people that do not know, these types of caterpillars build a candyfloss like nest in pine tree branches. These caterpillars go through different stages of development and the most dangerous time is when they come down the tree trunk in a procession line along the ground to find refuge, before turning into a moth.

They have poisonous hairs, which can cause a severe allergic reaction to humans and animals alike. It is not even necessary to physically touch a caterpillar as hairs can drift in the air causing itching, skin irritations, damage to the eyes and even to the respiratory system.

Over the next coming months, we must take great care and check all pine tress in our own private gardens, pine forests and any other areas where we walk our dogs. If unsure, it would be sensible to keep your dog on a lead or perhaps even muzzled in order to be able to react in time, should we come across a file of these caterpillars on the ground.

Dogs and cats, (especially puppies, kittens etc.) try to play with them, which in some cases can de fatal if swallowed. In case of contact with the animal's mouth, wash right away with plenty of water and come to the clinic as quickly as possible, as this is an Emergency that requires immediate attention. This is a highly dangerous situation and the pet can die within hours if not treated.