'The font' is away so I hastily phoned the local vet to describe the symptoms. The conversation went along the lines of : "No, it is quite impossible for it to be caterpillars. They don't come down from the trees until April at the earliest. He must have licked a poisonous toad. Anyway, you'd better bring him in". Thank God I did bring him in. By the time I got to the vets my hands and fingers had turned red and started to swell in reaction to the irritants that I got from just touching Wilfs coat.
The vet took one look at my swollen hands and eyes and without having to say any more immediately knew the diagnosis. We are the first local victims of caterpillar poisoning in 2010. Wilf was given a cortisone shot, had his heart and lungs checked and was prescribed strong anti-histamines. He finally fell asleep on the floor beside me at around two this morning and didn't wake until six.. We now have to wait to see what damage has been done to his tongue - I'm just hoping and praying that he won't have to have it removed. The good news is that he seems much less agitated this morning, wanted a walk and is decidedly unhappy at having to be given water from a plastic syringe. I take his uncharacteristic truculence as a sign that all will be well.