As the summer warms up and our pets are out and about with us they are exposed to the creepy crawlies around us. Some of that creepy crawlies have eight legs and bite. Spider bites, although rare, can be very serious to your pets and early recognition and treatment can help your pet recover. In Kansas we have two major spider types to be concerned about; Brown Recluse and Black Widows.
Black Widows are known for their distinctive red hourglass markings on their body. Black Widow bites in dogs are usually not visible to the naked eye. Dogs can take hours to days to show signs, which include a hard, non-painful abdomen, muscle tremors, and muscle cramping in the area of the bite. Cats, on the other hand, become very painful quickly and tend to cry in pain, vomit profusely, drool a lot and become paralyzed within hours. Unfortunately, death is common for cats. Horses are also very sensitive, like cats, to Black Widow bites. There is anti-venom for Black Widow bites that can be helpful to pets hospitalized at a time.
When it comes to Brown Recluse bites, dogs are the more sensitive species. Brown Recluse bites are most common when the spider is trapped next to your pet’s skin (such as in bedding that has not been used for a while). Most bites are not painful to your pet and start as swelling and blackened skin in the first eight to fifteen hours. In pets with thick hair coats, some bites are not seen for two to three days when the skin and muscle begin to die from the spider venom. Internal signs including red blood cell and kidney damage can occur and there is no anti-venom for Brown Recluse bites.
Overall, be cautious about spiders by shaking out bedding, spray your property for spider reduction and monitor your pet for signs of bites to keep them as safe as possible against spider bites.