Will a Brown Recluse Hurt a Dog?

by Deborah Lundin
In mild cases, a cold compress helps reduce pain and swelling from a recluse bite.

In mild cases, a cold compress helps reduce pain and swelling from a recluse bite.

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

If you live in the southern Midwest, you're familiar with the brown recluse spider. Known by the violin shape on its back, this nonaggressive spider does bite when disturbed or threatened. A bite from the brown recluse causes death of tissue cells. Your dog's fur and the spider's size make finding a bite hard and diagnosis difficult.

Symptoms

A bite from the brown recluse, especially when venom transfer is mild, may not produce symptoms. Symptoms include fever, chills, weakness, nausea and joint pain. At the site of the bite, pain and stinging can occur. A lesion forms at the site with a central scab and red background. Within a few weeks, the venom eats away the tissue, leaving an open ulcer. In cases of extremely potent venom, bleeding disorders and liver and kidney damage can occur.

Treatments

In mild cases, treatment with a cold compress can reduce pain and swelling at site. If no other symptoms are present, this may be enough. In severe cases, transfusions help to send fresh blood to the wound. If the venom destroys large amounts of cells and tissue, surgery may be necessary to remove the dead tissue. Unfortunately, no antivenin against the brown recluse exists.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.

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