Effects of Pine Processionary Caterpillar Thaumetopoea pityocampa Contact in Dogs: 41 Cases (2002–2006)


M. E. Niza. CIISA/Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Technical University of Lisbon, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal. Tel.: +351 213652878; Fax: +351 213652815; E-mail: necas@fmv.utl.pt


The pine processionary caterpillar, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is considered an emerging pine pest in Mediterranean countries, with high medical relevance. In recent years, adverse reactions reports in humans following contact with T. pityocampa have been increasingly reported. Dogs living in pinewood areas are also frequently exposed to the caterpillar. This work consisted on a retrospective study of 41 cases of lepidopterism. All dogs presented drooling, dysphagia, submandibular lymphadenomegaly and clinical signs of pain. The animals were distributed in three groups, according to the time span from exposure to the caterpillar until presentation: up to 2 h (group 1), 2–5 h (group 2) and more than 5 h (group 3). All animals from groups 2 (n = 5) and 3 (n = 9), and eight dogs from group 1 (n = 27) developed lingual necrosis. Lepidopterism coursed through a predictable clinical pattern. The evolution was mainly dependent on the time span between exposure to the caterpillar and medical intervention, which should take place earlier than 2 h from exposure.