If you are unsure whether or not the spider is venomous, you need to visit your vet immediately! Unfortunately due to their long hair, a spider bite is often hard to detect, until symptoms of serious distress begin to show.
DO NOT WASTE TIME! DO NOT SECOND GUESS!
There are a number of spiders in the U.S. that are poisonous. They include:
1. The Black Widow
· Northern Black Widow - Found from Southern Canada to Northern Florida - shiny, black on top, with a red hourglass divided into two separate markings on their bellies. Found anywhere, they prefer tree stumps, fallen logs, wood piles, stone walls, sheds, barns, garages and basements
· Southern Black Widow - Found commonly in Southeastern states from Texas to New York. Shiny black top, anvil shaped red hourglass on the belly. Can be found anywhere but prefers dark cool places such as wood piles, fallen logs, tree stumps, sheds, barns, compost piles, eaves.
· Western Black Widow - Found throughout the Western United States. Can be found anywhere. Often found underground, in mole, mice, and prairie dog holes. Shiny black top, perfect red hourglass on the belly.
2. Tarantulas - Large, hairy and found in Southern California, Mexico, Southern and Southwestern states. Prefer dry, warm climates. Shy, and will try to avoid people and pets, but will bite if confronted. Pet may go into anaphylactic shock - the shutting down of the circulatory system. Your dog could die, in less than 20 minutes, unless they receive immediate veterinary care.
3. Brown Spiders - including the Brown Recluse - Brown, with dark brown violin shaped marking on thorax (between head and body) and six eyes, arranged in pairs, rather than eight. Found throughout the United States. Prefer places to hide such as linen closets, clothing drawers, closets, shoes and laundry hampers. Seek immediate veterinary attention...bite can cause dangerous blood disorders in just a few days and develop into a massive ulcer.
An important factor to remember should you suspect your dog has been bitten by a spider; try to capture the spider! Bring it with you, so the vet can identify it before treating your pet for a venomous spider bite.
A regular spider bite may be painful, and cause swelling, but it can be treated with first aid.
First Aid - Non-venomous bite:
· Restrain the dog - crate, pen or restrict them to the smallest room in the house, usually a bathroom for 2-6 hours
· Wash the wound area with COLD water and soap
· Place cold wet towel to wound site
· Apply ice to the cold, wet towel, for 15 - 30 minutes several times per day to reduce swelling and prevent the venom from spreading to brain and heart
· Watch for infection, fever, swelling, discharge, and hot, red, swollen areas sensitive to the touch
Venomous Bite - Requires Immediate veterinary attention! Until then:
· Check pulse and heartbeat.
· If necessary, begin CPR
· Crate or carry your dog to the car- to prevent venom from spreading to brain or heart - DO NOT MAKE THEM WALK!
· Watch for chills, labored breathing, fever, anaphylactic shock
· Keep bite area below heart level to slow spread of venom
· Wash wound area with COLD water and soap
· Place cold wet towel to wound site
· Apply ice pack to cold wet towel, it reduces swelling and numb area. Ice will decrease the circulation, slowing the spread of venom to brain and heart. Also may help reduce necrosis (tissue death)
Signs to watch for:
· Pale gums
· Rapid breathing
· Anaphylactic shock (circulatory system shuts down)
Bottom Line: DO NOT TAKE ANY CHANCES! If you suspect a venomous spider has bitten your dog, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible!
Watch for secondary infections. Your vet will prescribe the appropriate anti-biotic.
Expect your pet to be weak or even partially paralyzed for several days. Keep food and water nearby. Plan to carry and support them, when they have to relieve themselves.
Some dogs may continue to have seizures and require anti-seizure medication.
Karen A. Soukiasian, GOOD DOG! - DOG TRAINING - Owner/Trainer, St. Augustine, Florida - AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN Evaluator http://www.freewebs.com/gooddogsite