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5/5/2004


Media Contact:

Barbara Perry, Humane Society of Indianapolis
317-872-5650, ext. 173

Margie Smith-Simmons, [317] 327-1396
mssimmon@indygov.org

Indianapolis animal welfare agencies warn pet owners about upcoming rare cicada season


May 5, 2004 (Indianapolis, IN)  The  Humane Society of Indianapolis and  Indianapolis Animal Care & Control, along with the Humane Society of the United States, cautions pet owners about potential digestion problems for pets who eat too many of the cicadas that will be infesting the atmosphere along the Eastern United States this spring and early summer, particularly in Indiana.

The large-scale emergence of the Brood X cicadas is expected to start in early May and could last a month or more, according reports from entomologists. Randall Lockwood, animal behaviorist and a vice president for The HSUS, says the large, slow moving cicadas are a tasty treat to dogs, cats and other predators. While the insects can provide protein, the exoskeletons of mature cicadas are indigestible. “Pets who gorge on cicadas may find themselves vomiting or constipated,” Lockwood said.

However, the bugs are generally harmless to animals. They do not carry toxins, nor do they bite or sting. If a pet catches a few of these insects, it is usually not cause for alarm. But an overindulgent pet who eats many cicadas and has more than one or two episodes of vomiting, or appears to be in pain, may need to see a veterinarian. HSI, IACC and HSUS offer the following tips for pet owners during cicada season:

  • Don’t leave pets unsupervised outdoors.
  • Since many cicadas will be clinging to window screens, be sure screens are secured or windows are closed to prevent pets from pushing out screens in pursuit of the creatures.
  • When walking your dog, maintain a good grip on the leash and be prepared for sudden attempts to grab the flying bugs.
  • Cats should always be kept indoors for their safety.
  • Call your veterinarian should your pet exhibit signs of illness including multiple episodes of vomiting or constipation.
  • These simple precautions can help animal lovers and their companions appreciate this amazing natural event that generally comes only once in the average dog or cat’s lifetime.