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THE ANNUAL scourge of the poisonous processionary caterpillar that can kill small dogs and make children sick is starting to arrive across Spain and the Costa Blanca, boosted by the recent warmer weather.

The dangerous caterpillars, which are usually about an inch long, have tiny barbed hairs containing a protein called thaumetopoeid, which can cause allergic reactions, foaming at the mouth and vomiting if children come into contact with them

Vets say that dogs are especially at risk because if they accidentally ingest the caterpillars, the barbed hairs could cause severe damage to the tongue.

Dogs that try to eat or even sniff the processionary caterpillars could face amputation of their tongue or nose, or even end up dying.

The caterpillar’s eggs are laid inside floss nets on pine trees and are generally in a line, creating the shape of a snake.

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