‘I’ve never seen her get this sick before,’ Knoxville woman blames cicadas for dog’s stomach issues

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)  — Just like many other dog moms out there, Susan Lopresto’s 2-year-old Gerberian Shepsky, Cloe, is her everything.

“The lady was selling these dogs and I fell in love with her through the picture,” said Lopresto. “She’s my baby.”

Lopresto said Cloe was especially interested in the Brood X Cicada this summer, saying she was picking them off the trees and eating them.

“They had said it’s not dangerous to dogs, that it wouldn’t hurt them, that even people eat them,” Susan said. “So, I didn’t do anything about it, I just let her be.”

Susan says it was a couple of days later that she could tell something was off with Cloe.

“Throwing up, diarrhea, she just laid around, just not herself at all,” said Lopresto of her dog’s symptoms. “Didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to drink.”

Susan took her to multiple doctors, including the Knoxville Pet Emergency Clinic and their regular veterinarian at the Seymour Veterinary Clinic. In total, she’s spent about $1,000 in medical treatments. This includes paying for the visits, special food, medications, and other over-the-counter medical supplies.

“I by no means am an entomologist, so I don’t know the ins and outs of of insect studies or anything like that,” veterinarian Tatum Marquis said. “Although, they do have a hard exoskeleton, which can cause some irritation when it’s being digested.”

Marquis is not the veterinarian who treated Cloe, but she says the staff at the Seymour Veterinary Clinic are seeing a handful of patients every week, bringing in their pets with the same issues Cloe had and citing the cicadas at the main culprit.

“It’s definitely possible that these little bugs are causing some GI upset in general and causing inflammation in the bowels and in the small intestine,” Marquis said. “That can lead to dehydration because of the vomiting and diarrhea.”

Marquis went on to say that to her knowledge the cicadas will not kill pets, nor do they carry anything that can be deadly. She does warn though, that if any of these symptoms do go untreated, like dehydration, that can be deadly.

She also said all dogs will respond differently when it comes to eating something unusual.

“One dog can act very different from another, meaning that one cicada might not do anything and one cicada might make them pretty sick because of the irritation,” she said “It just depends on the individual.”

Marquis encouraged people to be their pet’s number one advocate when it comes to their health.

As for Susan, she said it’s not even about the money she had to spend to get her Cloe feeling better. She just wants other pet owners to be aware and be on the lookout while the cicadas are still around.

“I just wish they had let people know beforehand to watch their dogs.”

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