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What are the symptoms of a spider bite on a dog?

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 Little Rock 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

Most spider bites are harmless, unless your dog is allergic to spiders. Your dog will typically experience minor irritation, itching, swelling, or redness following a spider bite. Only two spider species in North America are dangerous to humans and animals: the black widow and the brown recluse. If either of these spiders bites your dog, you must seek veterinary care, as bites from these spiders can cause severe side effects.

There are actually very few tell-tale signs to look out for to determine if your dog has been bit by a spider and how serious it is.

Non-Venomous Bites

The majority of spiders in Little Rock lack sufficient venom to harm you or your pet. Their bites appear similar to mosquito bites and cause minimal discomfort to your dog. They can be treated naturally in a number of ways, with an emphasis on relieving itching. Some canines may not even perceive pain.

Venomous Bites

The following are the two types of venomous spiders and their bites that Little Rock pet owners should keep an eye out for:

Black Widow - After a dog has been bitten by a black widow spider, symptoms of the bite may manifest rapidly. The bite is painful and causes redness and swelling in the affected area. Thankfully, only 15% of black widow spider bites are classified as "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 Little Rock 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 available antivenoms against Brown Recluse spiders. If your dog is bitten by a brown recluse spider, your vet will administer cool compresses and perform a thorough cleaning. In some instances, antibiotics may be necessary to aid in the fight against infection. The majority of bites heal within three weeks. In dogs bitten by a brown recluse spider, complications and death are extremely uncommon. In severe cases, surgical treatment may be required for wounds, 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.

Is your dog experiencing symptoms that may indicate a venomous spider bite? Contact our Little Rock Vets right away for urgent care for your canine companion.

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