By the accidental upsetting of, and disturbing of, nests of wasps or hives of bees, horses are occasionally attacked by the rudely-evicted tenants, and there are several instances on record where death has resulted from this cause. The face, head, and neck are chiefly selected by the infuriated insects, and the pain and shock resulting from the attack may be very great.
Where possible the stings should be removed with fine pointed forceps, but this is very difficult of accomplishment on the hairy parts of animals. Bearing in mind the chemical reaction of the poison, the best antidote is to be found in alkaline bicarbonates. A wash of carbonate of soda or ammonia may be repeatedly applied to the injured part, and in the intervals, soothing applications of glycerine, belladonna, and borax. Much of the suffering is caused by the inflamed and tense state of the skin where it most closely adheres to bony prominences, and some relief may be afforded to these parts by the free use of oily applications.
Fig. 45S. - Sting of Bee.
1, General view. 2, Extremity of dart. 3, Section through sheath and darts. PG, Poison gland. ps, Poison sac. M, Membrane joining sting to abdomen. L, Levers to remove darts. SH, Sheath. V, Vulva. SP, Sting palpus. D, Darts. B, Barbs. PC, Poison channels. 0, Opening for poison to escape into wound.
Fig. 459. - Wasp Sting.
1, General view. 2, Section of sheath to show situation of darts. 3, Extremity of sheath with darts. 4, Front view of sheath. E, Eppygium. H, Hypopygium. PG, Poison gland. PD, Poison duct, s, Sheath. D, Dart.
The symptoms of shock are best treated by diffusible stimulants and removal of the patient to a quiet, dark box. In one or two instances the nostrils and lips have been so much swollen that death from suffocation has only been averted by the introduction of a tube into the trachea (see Tracheotomy). The stings of most poisonous insects have an acid reaction, and treatment on the lines above indicated will usually be found successful.