Spiders would rather hide from you and your pet than bite, but spider bites do occur on occasion. In some cases, the spider bites our Knightdale vets see on dogs cause serious symptoms that necessitate immediate medical attention; however, most spider bites on dogs cause minor irritation but are generally harmless. Learn more about spider bites on dogs in the sections below.
What Does a Spider Bite Look Like on a Dog
Unless your dog is allergic to spiders, most spider bites are harmless. A spider bite will usually cause minor irritation, itchiness, swelling, or redness in your dog. In North America, only two spider species are dangerous to humans and pets: the black widow and the brown recluse. If either of these spiders bites your dog, veterinary care is required because bites from these spiders can cause serious side effects.
There are actually very few tell-tail signs to look out for to determine if your dog has been bit by a spider and how serious it is.
Most spiders found in the Knightdale area simply do not have enough venom to harm your dog or you. Their bites resemble mosquito bites in appearance and cause little discomfort to your dog. They can be treated naturally in a variety of ways, with the main focus being on itch relief. Some dogs may not even notice any discomfort.
The following are the two types of venomous spiders and their bites that Knightdale pet owners should keep an eye out for:
Black Widow - Symptoms of a black widow spider bite can appear soon after your dog has been bitten. The bite itself is painful, causing swelling and redness in the affected area. Fortunately, only 15% of black widow spider bites 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.
Brown Recluse - A recent bite from a brown recluse spider can be difficult to detect. They are usually painless, but they leave a red mark at the site. However, your dog will eventually 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.
How to Treat a Spider Bite on a Dog
Our Knightdale veterinarians are frequently asked to treat a spider bite on a dog. If you believe your dog has been bitten by a spider, the best thing you can do is contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on whether you should take your dog to an emergency vet clinic or treat him at home. They might even tell you that your dog doesn't require any treatment at all.
If you see the spider that bit your dog, capture it in a jar so your vet can identify the venom and begin treatment as soon as possible. If you are concerned that the spider is dangerous, keep a safe distance and photograph it. Unfortunately, the effects of a spider bite do not always manifest themselves immediately; in this case, your vet will try to determine the type of bite based on the appearance of the area and any symptoms your pet is exhibiting.
Spider bite treatment in dogs varies depending on the spider but may include an antivenin for black widow spider bites, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and IV fluids.
There are no antivenoms available for Brown Recluse spiders. If your dog is bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, your veterinarian will treat him with cool compresses and thorough cleaning. Antibiotics may be required in some cases to aid in the fight against infection. Most bites heal in three weeks or less. When dealing with a Brown Recluse spider bite in dogs, complications and death are extremely rare. In severe cases, wounds may necessitate surgical treatment, and permanent scarring is a possibility.
Antivenom for Black Widow spider bites in dogs is available, but allergic reactions to this drug are common. However, your veterinarian will be able to provide medications to alleviate the symptoms of an allergic reaction in your dog. Pain relievers and muscle relaxers may also be prescribed for your dog if they are bitten by a BlackWidow Spider.
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.