The venom of the centipede will not hurt the cat, but its bites cause serious injury

Q: Panda, our black and white tuxedo cat who also goes by the more apt name of Pandemonium, plays with the centipedes in our bathroom. If she eats one, could it hurt her?

A: No, but eating too much of it can cause an upset stomach.

The biggest concern is that the centipedes bite and the bite looks like a bee sting. Centipedes don’t actually use their mouthparts to bite, but their first pair of legs have pincers called forcipules that puncture ants, cockroaches, worms, and other small creatures, injecting venom that paralyzes them.

The venom of the delicate little centipedes that are so common in damp areas of the house is not dangerous for a cat, but if Panda gets tangled with the forcipules of a centipede, the injury will hurt, and she will need to see her vet for wound care and pain relief.

Perhaps this will teach him not to play with centipedes.

On the other hand, the venom of the large tropical centipedes that some people keep as pets is very dangerous for cats, dogs and humans. If anyone in your family has one of these large tropical centipedes, keep Panda away from them.

If you want to get rid of centipedes from your bathroom, use a piece of paper to collect them in a glass, cover the glass with the foil, and escort the centipedes outside to release them into the wild.

Q: Rowdy, our 9 year old cocker spaniel, suddenly started to squint. His eye is bloodshot, the surface looks hazy, and I think the pupil is larger than the other eye. What’s wrong with his eye? Will he resolve himself or should he consult his vet?

A: Anytime you notice any change in your pet’s eyes, you should take them to the vet immediately. Eyes can deteriorate quickly, and Rowdy’s vision is at stake.

The clinical signs you are describing are typical of glaucoma, which causes pain and blindness if not treated immediately.

Glaucoma results from an increase in pressure in the eye caused by impaired drainage of fluid in the front of the eye.

While glaucoma can affect any dog, certain breeds are predisposed, including the Akita, Basset, Beagle, Bouvier des Flandres, Cairn Terrier, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Norwegian Elkhound, samoyed, shar-pei, shiba inu and shih tzu. Middle-aged dogs are most often affected.

The condition develops rapidly in dogs. As the pressure inside the eye increases, the white of the eye turns red and the pale cornea becomes cloudy or develops a bluish tint. The pupil dilates and the pain makes the dog squint.

Glaucoma is an emergency in dogs because it can quickly lead to permanent blindness. Take Rowdy to the vet, who will check the pressure in her eyes. Fortunately, this test is quick and painless.

If Rowdy has glaucoma, your vet will begin treatment immediately and may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist for follow-up care. Treatment for the eye with glaucoma includes drugs to lower pressure, stop pain, and prevent blindness. Surgery might also be helpful.

In addition, your vet may recommend that you treat Rowdy’s good eye to delay the onset of glaucoma there. Eye drops and oral medications are available.

Humans also develop glaucoma, although more slowly than dogs, so it’s easier to detect and treat before it causes permanent damage. Ask your eye doctor how often you should be examined for glaucoma.

Lee Pickett, VMD, practices pet medicine in North Carolina. Contact her at

[email protected]


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