cicada-picture-300x269If you were around Richmond, Virginia in 1996, you most likely remember the overwhelming buzzing and humming that comes from the large, flying, orange-eyed periodical cicadas!  Well, fast forward 17 years, and most people are preparing for the noisy pests to invade again!

Coming Soon to a Backyard Near You!

Once the ground temperature hits an even 64 degrees, billions of periodical cicadas will emerge from the ground to mate, lay eggs, and then die. This whole process takes place in what seems like the longest six weeks ever!  Of course, Richmond residents will be getting up close and personal with these crunchy little bugs. Even if you try your best to avoid them, chances are, your pet won’t.

What Richmond Area Pet Owners Need To Know

While cicadas are actually a good source of protein and are even eaten by people as part of a healthy diet in some parts of the world, eating them can have its pitfalls.  If your dog or cat does decide that cicadas are tasty, there isn’t much to worry about says Shelly Rubin, DVM, a Chicago veterinarian and American Veterinary Medical Association member. She has been researching cicadas in anticipation of this year’s invasion. “Pet owners have nothing to worry about” says Rubin. “While they might be a nuisance to humans, they’re no danger to us or our pets. They don’t sting, they don’t bite, they don’t carry diseases and they can be eaten without any problem at all”.

Your pets may be overwhelmed with the availability of these “crunchy little treats” and could potentially gorge themselves as a result. While not toxic, if your dog or cat overindulges on cicadas they may have some vomiting or upset stomach. Rarely, pets have eaten too many cicadas too quickly and developed intestinal blockages. Watch your pet closely while they are outside, and discourage them from eating several cicadas at one time.

What About the Noise?
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Looking for cicadas!

One of the cicada’s most notable characteristics is their distinctive high-pitched mating call. Some species of cicada can even produce sounds in excess of 120 decibels at close range.  This is approaching the human ear pain threshold, so you can imagine that this may upset our sensitive pets.  If your dog or cat seems reluctant to go outside, make the trips brief and accompany them to reassure them.

Get your ear plugs ready, because 2013 will be a noisy year to remember!
 

MACVETVA’s Tips For Surviving The Cicada Season With Pets:

  • Try to clean up large piles of cicadas in backyards.
  • To avoid being bitten, don’t try to remove a cicada from your pet’s mouth!
  • Make sure to hold on tightly to your pet’s leash while walking.
  • Secure screens inside your house to keep insects out.
  • Avoid the worst noises by keeping your pets inside when cicadas are loudest.

 

Of course, if your pet does ingest too many cicadas, is vomiting repeatedly, or exhibits symptoms leading you to think they’re in pain, we’re here for you!  Contact us at the Midlothian Animal Clinic by calling (804)794-2099.