What is Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning?
If a brown recluse spider bites your cat, take him to a veterinarian. After a thorough examination, the vet can determine the best course of treatment. The vet's recommendation for care depends on the intensity of the bite and venom level.
Brown recluse spider bite poisoning occurs when this arachnid injects venom into a cat. Its fangs are the vehicle, leaving tiny marks in the infected area. Most bites aren't fatal. Yet, felines with a compromised immune system can suffer kidney failure. The venom is potent, destroying red blood cells and killing body tissue.
Symptoms of Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning in Cats
Symptoms of brown recluse spider bite poisoning exhibit throughout a cat's body. They range from localized pain to organ damage. Although noticeable, these changes are often mistaken for other ailments. Vets must ask pet owners a series of questions to diagnose this condition with accuracy.
- High fever
- Cell damage
- Kidney failure
- High blood pressure
At times, brown recluse spider bite poisoning is asymptomatic. This happens when the level of venom injected into a cat's body is low. Also, some bites are painless. Both of these factors lead to misdiagnosis.
Causes of Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning in Cats
Causes of brown recluse spider bite poisoning are environmental. Despite popular mythology, this type of arachnid enjoys seclusion. By nature, this species avoids animals. Encounters with any are by accident. Below are common scenarios:
- Specific Regions: The majority of brown recluse spiders dwell in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Kansas and Illinois. So, felines residing in southern or mid-western states are at a higher risk for poisoning from brown recluse spiders. Vicinity increases risk of an interaction.
- Unkempt Houses: Brown recluse spiders seek out hiding places in homes. They thrive in closets, wood piles and trash cans. Pet owners who hoard or fail to keep their space clean attract this arachnid. If one lays eggs, an infestation occurs. Getting rid of several brown recluse spiders requires professional help.
- Nosy Cats: 'Curiosity killed the cat' is an apt statement. Death from brown recluse spider bite poisoning is rare. But, curious cats top the list for run-ins with this arachnid. They react more often to new stimuli. So, instead of ignoring an open door to a closet, they go inside and check its contents.
Diagnosis of Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning in Cats
Determining whether a cat is poisoned from a brown recluse spider bite remains a challenge since the symptoms mimic other conditions. A vet has to narrow down causes by performing a thorough exam. When possible, capture the spider (with a jar) and bring it to the vet.
- Pre-bite questions: The vet is going to ask a series of questions. He needs to know the history of your cat's overall health and events leading up to the bite.
- A blood profile: To detect the number of blood cells in your cat's body, the vet orders this diagnostic test. It lets him visualize any obvious changes.
- Urinalysis: This test examines urine for kidney function and other substances that affect a cat's body such as pH, protein tests, and protein.
- ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test): This test unveils whether venom remains in the blood stream. If a vet thinks a brown recluse spider bit your cat, he may administer this test.
Treatment of Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning in Cats
Medical care for brown recluse spider bite poisoning is arduous. Then, prepare to help your cat through a series of blood tests. They rule out other diseases and specify toxicity in blood. Afterward, treatment begins.
- Ice Packs: To reduce pain and inflammation, an ice pack is set on the affected area.
- Wound Care: The bite may widen into a crater and blister. At this point, wound care is necessary. First, the vet clips away hair surrounding the broken skin. Second, he irrigates the wound with antiseptic. Third, he applies a bandage. At home, you as a pet owner must repeat this process daily until the wound heals.
- Tissue removal: If cell damage is extensive, the vet cuts off the corresponding dead tissue. He uses a scalpel or scissors. The purpose is to promote healthy blood flow. Following this procedure, a skin graft may be necessary.
- Intravenous therapy: To send fresh blood to the wound, a vet may schedule blood transfusions. You may have to admit your cat into an animal hospital.
- Surgery: If discovered late, the after effects of the venom cause widespread necrosis. To remove the damaged skin, the vet may have to remove a limb.
Recovery of Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning in Cats
Cats heal slowly subsequent to poisoning from a brown recluse spider bite. Recovery time can take up to a year. During this period, your cat must frequently see the vet. This reality is especially true in severe cases involving necrosis. To improve his health and prevent future incidents, do the following:
- Heed wound care instructions. Never skip a day. Keep the infected skin clean. Your reward is quicker healing without complication.
- Recycle storage boxes. Brown recluse spiders nest and travel by way of boxes. Get rid of the unused ones in your house.
- Seal off trash cans. Open or ajar trashcans attract insects, vermin, and even people. Make sure yours is always closed tightly. Trash needs to be inside of plastic bags with no access spots.
- Hire an exterminator. If brown recluse spiders lay eggs and infest your home, hire an exterminator. It’s worth the investment. These pros will eradicate them and offer personalized tips on how to prevent future infestations.