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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.

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning Average Cost

From 425 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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. 

Skin manifestations:

  • Lesions
  • Rashes
  • Stinging
  • Blisters
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Internal manifestations:

  • 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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning Average Cost

From 425 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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American short haired cat

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4 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Abscess On Side

My kitten got a lump on his side. He was lethargic, he slept a lot. After a couple days it burst. He seemed to get better was playing again. A week later the lump area started draining again. Then it looked as if it was healing then all of the sudden it's draining. In a months time it's drain 5 times. He plays and seems fine it just starts draining every few days. He is an indoor cat with limited play time outdoors

Aug. 14, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There can be some abscesses that have a core that does not heal and causes a chronic problem. Since this is been going on for so long, it would probably be best to have your kitten seen by a veterinarian. There are likely antibiotics that would help get to the bottom of this. I hope that all goes well for your kitten.

Aug. 14, 2020

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Tabby

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A few months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Her Whole Arm And Paw Had Swollen To Almost 3 Times The Size It Should Be And There Was A Hole Leaking Puss. It Has Gone Down Now But There’S A Huge Fleshy Hole.

I suspect a brown recluse bite so we drained the puss and cleaned it but wondering if we should do anything else

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. With the dramatic change in your cat's arm, I think that having her seen by a veterinarian would be a really good idea. She may need antibiotics and anti-inflammatory therapy, and they would be able to do that for her. I hope that all goes well for your cat, and that sounds very dramatic and potentially terrible.

Aug. 1, 2020

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blue

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mixed

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19 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

my cat was playing with a spider and Im thinking she ate it. Almost immediately she lowered her head do the ground and did almost a summer sault and rolled over and laid there for a minute. I picked her up and she took a couple steps and fell down. That was immediately after presumably eating the spider. Since i have picked her up and she has been able to walk and i have petted her and got a soft purr response but otherwise she's just been laying down. responds to stimulus but not herself at all. can a spider bite their mouth while they try to eat it. This is all within first hour of the incident Thanks greg and cat blue

July 18, 2018

blue's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Blue ate a spider, she may have been bitten in the mouth, yes. If she is not eating or drinking, or continues to act lethargic and not herself, it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can look in her mouth, assess her behavior, and see if she needs any treatment.

July 18, 2018

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Pookie

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Tabby cat.

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itching, Swelling, Wound

My cat stays outside most the time and yesterday I noticed he had a bump on his ear like it was swelled I thought he got hit by a bee but when I did my research it seems like a spider bite when I looked inside his ear it was pus coming out and he kept scratching his ear so much that the skin on his ear is coming off and I can see the wound what should I do I cleaned the ear and I can’t go to the vet

June 12, 2018

Pookie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Some things do need veterinary attention, and this may be one of those. Without seeing Pookie, I am not sure if he has an abscess, another type of infection, or a spider bite. Those wounds can continue to get larger and more serious if not treated, so it would be best to have him seen and get treatment for this wound.

June 12, 2018

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Jasper

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Orange tabby

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4 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Inactive
Inactibe

What do we do when we dont have enough money to take him to the vet. Is there any home remedies ? And can they die from it. My cat has been laying down and he seems paralyzed be he isnt because he moved what does that mean?

Feb. 17, 2018

Jasper's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If you think that Jasper has been bitten by a brown recluse spider, or if he isn't moving normally, he needs to be seen as soon as possible by a veterinarian. Not everything can be treated with home remedies, unfortunately, and brown recluse spiders can cause significant damage. Many clinics offer a 'free first exam' so that you may be able to have him seen. I hope that he is okay.

Feb. 17, 2018

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Mitty Kitty

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mixed

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Oozing
Sore In The Area

Our Mitty kitty has what appears to be a possible bite on his rump... He is acting fine, other than it being sore when I took to cleaning the wound and putting a bit of antibiotic ointment on the area. Is it possible this will heal without veterinary assistance? I am hoping we can clean it daily and just watch to make sure he doesn't start showing other symptoms for the next few days. The bite itself (if that's what it is) looks almost like a puncture wound or a good gouge taken out of his skin. It's not bleeding, but was oozing. The fur around d the area is gone. About the size of a quarter overall. The bite is about the size of an eraser on a pencil at most. Thank you!

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Taz

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Siamese

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

My cat got bitten by a spider like 3 days ago and it is a small bite and is bleeding and pus is coming out of it and now has a sore on his upper lip red and a little bit swollen

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Littlegirl

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Cacialo

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18 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Eats Very Little No Water Rarely Bu

My cat loves to lay under the bed she's a loner .I went to feed her 5 days ago because she wasn't coming to eat at first she didn't want it then she stood up rolled off the pillow the bed and hit the floor she went under the bed later that night she smelled funny she acts like she had a stroke her right side is sagging around the eye and mouth last nite we found 2 brown recluses one in her water dish the other on my boyfriends leg.

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Mopsy

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Rag doll

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Anemia
Death

So, my cat, Mopsy, stopped eating and was lethargic. Because she was a private cat we didn't notice at first. We took her to the vet and all they could do was blood transfusions. But wer couldn't keep that up. She was a rare blood type. After she died, we quickly had to move and found out we where infested with black widow and brown recluse spiders. Could the spiders cause a total shutdown of blood production?

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Poisoning Average Cost

From 425 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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