Warn your clients that cicada consumption is bad for their pets.
Cicadas are hatching after a 17-year hiatus and Dr. Brian Collins, lecturer at Cornell University Hospital for Animals, warns that eating cicadas isn’t toxic to canines and felines but they can cause intestinal problems.
“Problems occur from ingesting quantities of them that result in vomiting and constipation,” says Dr. Collins. “The exoskeletons of the cicadas contain a hard substance called chitin, which is also found in other insects, as well the well-known shell of the lobster. A significant quantity of the exoskeletons may cause gastric irritation or accumulate in the intestinal tract causing an obstruction.”
Collins says eating too many cicadas would result in clinical signs such as vomiting, constipation and decreased appetite.
He says to tell your clients to actively discourage their pets from ingesting cicadas when they are in the area as cicadas.
“If a particular cat or dog were to have a tendency to overeat them, it may be necessary to keep the animal indoors more, or on leash,” he says.
Collins says treatment would depend on the condition of the animal but it could involve hospitalization.