If your pup loves to explore the outdoors and never passes up a chance for an adventure, you want to be extra vigilant in keeping them safe. Unfortunately, sometimes we encounter creatures that can pose a risk, such as brown recluse spiders. Pet owners should be aware of potential dangers like these, as it is especially worrying when one bites our furry companion. If this happens to your pup, it’s important to know the clinical signs of a brown recluse spider bite on dogs so you can take prompt action and seek medical care as soon as possible.
The brown recluse spider is one of three spiders in North America whose bite will send anyone running for the hills. These spiders are primarily found in the southern Midwest region as well as less commonly in the southern states of the US. This spider can be many shades of brown and has a violin-shaped body. In adulthood, they can reach between 8-13 mm in length with long legs that can grow to 20-30 mm in length. Their venom is a combination of phospholipases and proteases, which can cause severe poisoning. Unfortunately, the strength of the venom ranges greatly, so it’s difficult to determine how affected a bitten dog will be.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite Symptoms
If your dog has been bitten by a brown recluse spider, they can experience poisoning symptoms. Initially, the bite may not be painful, and signs of poisoning won’t show immediately. But over time, the symptoms will develop and worsen significantly if treatment is not given. Potential signs of poisoning include:
- Pain and itching at site of bite
- Bulls-eye lesion at site of bite
- Low blood pressure
- Clotting abnormalities
- Organ dysfunction
If your dog has been bitten by a brown recluse spider, promptly contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for life-saving advice. Transport your dog to the veterinary clinic so they can receive immediate treatment. Unfortunately, there is no specific antivenom available for this type of spider bite. Your veterinarian will thoroughly clean the area of the bite. Antibiotics and pain medication may be administered to ease pain and symptoms. Specific treatment will depend on your dog’s symptoms. If the case is severe your dog will be hospitalized for supportive care and monitoring.