Spiders typically prefer to stay away from people and pets, but every once in a while, a dog will find themselves on the sharp end of an angry spider's fangs. Today, our Rock Hill vets discuss how to spot spider bites on dogs and when to seek veterinary care.
What Spider Bites Look Like
Many spider bites are harmless. They might cause your pup some minor irritation, itchiness, maybe a little swelling, or redness. However, two species of spiders in North America are dangerous to both humans and pets: the black widow and the brown recluse. If one gets bit by either of these spiders, veterinary attention is required because they can cause serious side effects.
How To Treat a Spider Bite On a Dog
If you think that your dog has been bitten by a spider, call your vet. They will either recommend that you visit your local emergency vet clinic or give you treatment options at home. They might even give you the best news, that your pooch doesn't need treatment at all.
If you happen to see the spider that bit your dog, capture it in a jar so your vet can identify the venom and start treatment sooner. If you're concerned about the spider being dangerous, remain at a safe distance and take a photo. Unfortunately in many cases, the effects of a spider bite don't show up until much later, in that case, your vet will try to determine the type of bite by the look of the area and any symptoms your pet is exhibiting.
Depending on the type of bite, your pet might be treated with an antivenom, IV fluids, cleaning solutions, pain medications, or antibiotics. Ice packs can help reduce swelling and irritation. Some other home remedies for non-venomous bites include cleaning with soap and water and making a baking soda and water paste. Try to prevent your dog from licking or scratching the bite excessively.
Spotting a Spider Bite & Determining If It Is Serious
You might be wondering "what does a spider bite look like on a dog?" There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for to determine if your dog has been bitten by a spider and how serious it is.
Non-Venomous Spider Bites On Dogs
Most of the spiders found in the Rock Hill area don't produce enough venom to harm your dog. These spider bites appear as small red bumps, similar to mosquito bites, and cause hardly any irritation to your dog. They can be treated in a number of natural ways, mainly focused on itch relief. Some dogs may not even notice any irritation at all.
Venomous Spider Bites On Dogs
While there are 4 types of venomous spiders found naturally in the Rock Hill area, the yellow sac spider and false black widow spider don't typically produce enough venom to be harmful to dogs. Nonetheless, if you are concerned, or if your dog has a bite that seems inflamed it is always best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet right away.
Two types of spiders that pet parents should be aware of are members of the black widow family and the brown recluse spider. Bites from these spiders can be very serious, and may even be fatal, for pets if left untreated. If you think that your dog has been bitten by a venomous spider contact your vet right away.
Signs of a Black Widow Spider Bite in Dogs - These bites can start to manifest symptoms quickly after your pup gets bit. The bite itself is painful and causes swelling and redness in the area. Thankfully, 15% of bites from black widow spiders are considered "dry", or non-venomous.
Female black widow spiders are the most dangerous, and they tend to live in warm, dark, and secluded places such as a woodpile or shed. These spiders are small, black, and have a red hourglass marking on their body. If they do inject your dog with venom, you will see symptoms such as cramping, muscle pain, drooling, or vomiting. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the nearest emergency vet clinic.
Signs of a Brown Recluse Spider Bite in Dogs - A bite from a brown recluse spider can be difficult to spot. They tend to be painless, but still leave a red mark at the site. However, over time your dog will develop a white blister with a bulls-eye or tissue destruction in the surrounding area.
Brown recluse spiders live in quiet, undisturbed areas like closets and typically need to be agitated to bite. The first sign to look out for in your dog would be limping. Your dog might avoid putting pressure on the bite. In the most severe cases, the symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite on a dog may include bleeding, seizures, or respiratory collapse. If you think a brown recluse has bitten your dog, contact your vet for emergency care.
Symptoms of Venomous Spider Bites on Dogs
Spider envenomation occurs when a venomous spider inflicts a bite upon a dog. The toxin from the venom causes severe inflammation. Left untreated severe symptoms that can develop from a venomous spider bite in dogs such as:
- Small lesion at the site of the bite
- Pain at the site of the bite
- Red ring around the bite area
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Trouble breathing
- Muscle stiffness
- Abdominal stiffness
- Abdominal tenderness
Your Dog's Spider Bite Recovery
Non-venomous bites can heal in as few as two or three weeks. Even some venomous bites will heal within a month. The most severe bites from brown recluses or black widows can take much longer. With ongoing treatment, your pet can recover fully from these bites in a few months.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.