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What is Spiders Poisoning?

Most of the spiders in the United States do not have severely painful bites, and only a few of the spiders in the United States are poisonous to the point of the dog requiring serious medical attention and possible hospitalization. Usually when a spider bite occurs, the spider doesn’t stay around and it is hard to identify that that is the problem the dog is having.

Even though many of the spiders are relatively harmless or may only require a small amount of medical attention, there are a few poisonous ones. These include spiders from the widow group, and the most common spider from this group is black widow spider. Another poisonous spider comes from a brown spider group called the brown recluse spider. Tarantulas are known to be relatively harmless to humans even though their bite is quite painful; however, dogs are more susceptible to tarantula venom than humans and immediate medical attention is required. Black widows, brown recluse, and tarantula bites can be very serious if they are not treated in a timely manner or at all. All three of these spiders can cause death if the dog is not taken to the veterinarian and properly treated.

Spider poisoning in dogs occurs when a spider, possessing toxic venom, inflict a bit upon a dog. The poison from the venom causes severe inflammation that requires immediate medical attention.

Spiders Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Spiders Poisoning in Dogs

When a dog becomes a victim of a poisonous spider, the symptoms will vary from mild to severe. Symptoms depend on the type of spider that has bitten the dog. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Arrhythmia
  • Pain at the site of the bite
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Paralysis
  • Abdominal stiffness
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lesion at the site of the bite
  • Red ring around the bite area
  • Fever
  • Vomiting 
  • Seizures
  • Joint pain

Types

It may be difficult to witness the actual spider bite, and oftentimes the type of spider that has bitten the dog may be unknown. Types of spiders that are poisonous to dogs include:

  • Brown recluse
  • Black widow
  • Red widow
  • Brown widow
  • Wolf spider
  • Brazilian wandering spider
  • Yellow sac spider
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Causes of Spiders Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of spider poisoning in dogs is the injection of toxic venom into a dog by biting. There are many species of spiders, and the different species have a different level of poison in the venom. The spider bite is toxic because of:

  • The fangs penetrate the skin and inject venom from the holes in the fangs
  • The venom is projected through ducts inside the fangs, which lead to the venom glands
  • Neurotoxin enters the dog’s bloodstream and can lead to the harmful symptoms, including paralysis and sometimes death
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Diagnosis of Spiders Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog is showing any symptoms of a spider bite, it is important to take him to the vet immediately. The veterinarian will ask you questions pertaining to the spider bite, such as if you witnessed the spider around the dog. More than likely the symptoms will occur after the bite, and unfortunately it is common to not see the spider that bit the dog. The veterinarian will perform tests and then rely on the dog’s clinical signs to make the diagnosis.

The veterinarian will perform a biochemistry profile (to check organ function), blood work, test for electrolytes, and urinalysis. While these tests do take time to come back and possibly show any venom, the veterinarian must go ahead and treat the dog according to the dog symptoms, including the site and area around the bite.

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Treatment of Spiders Poisoning in Dogs

To treat a spider bite, the methods may vary depending on the type of spider that bit your dog. For example, if a brown recluse spider bit the dog there will be other methods of treatment since the spider is highly poisonous. 

The treatment for your dog’s spider bite will depend on the severity, how the dog is reacting to the bite, and the type of spider.

Cleansing

The first thing the veterinarian will do is thoroughly cleanse the affected area around the bite.

Pain Medication

Pain medication along with an ice will be given. Corticosteroids can also protect against further impact upon the system. Muscle relaxants or morphine may be given to help with the pain.

Antibiotics

In order to prevent a serious infection, especially in cases of brown recluse spider bites, antibiotics may be given. Dapsone inhibits the function of leukocytes and is the antibiotic of choice to treat brown recluse spider venom. Anti-venom may be given for bites from black widows. Also, tetanus antitoxin is often given especially if the dog has never had a tetanus shot.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy may be given to help the dog breathe in cases of severe spider bites.

Fluids

Along with the above methods of treatment, the veterinarian may administer fluids to the dog through an IV. This will help keep the dog hydrated, and along with the oxygen therapy, will help keep his blood pressure down.

Antivenin

The type of spider that has bitten your dog will determine if there is an antivenin to help treat the spider bite, for example, there is an antivenin for black widow spider bites.

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Recovery of Spiders Poisoning in Dogs

In terms of recovery and management for spider bite poisoning, it depends on the type of spider that inflicted a bite upon your dog. It also depends on the severity of his condition. If the dog was able to get to a veterinarian after the bite within a timely manner, prognosis is good. Once your dog comes home after treatment, it is important to keep checking the site of the bite for any changes in to alert the veterinarian if new symptoms or behavioral changes occur. The veterinarian will give instructions on how to properly care for your dog after treatment, and may request a follow-up appointment to check on his healing.

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Spiders Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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Spiders 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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Chihuahua

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

Was wondering.... if my small deerhead chihuahua is very sensitive to most any pain, and if I was fairly close to her while she was most likely in danger or likeliest exposed, is it probable that I would've noticed her reaction if she had been bitten by a large black widow spider? I mean to ask is a black widow's bite even painful enough for her to yelp or bark or give her ANY reaction at all at the moment the spider would have bitten her- perhaps on her paw or muzzle?

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Dogs should not take human pain medication as just a small dosage can kill them. It would be best for you to get pain medication from your vet. A spider bite can cause your dog to be painful and should see your vet. There are also many other reasons that would cause your dog to yelp in pain. Your vet would be able to examine your dog and figure out what is going on with him as well as getting you pain medication. Good Luck.

July 30, 2020

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German Shepherd

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6 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling, Pus,

I believe my dog possibly got bit by a spider but I'm very unsure. she stopped eating for a couple of days and I've been giving her Pedialyte and antibiotics I had some amoxicillin so that's what I've been giving her. After 7 days she's now back to her silly self and is eating a lot better and also drinking. but her foot where it looks like she has gotten bent the swelling has finally gone down but it's still very dark colored and has some spots that look like pus blisters(?). I did clean the wound with iodine and I wrapped it up even though she's not really wanting to keep it on I still have a few antibiotics left that I'm trying to give herwhat could I do

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. The only other thing that might need to happen for her would be stronger antibiotics. Those you can get from your veterinarian, and it may be a good idea to have an examination for her given the level of trauma that she has gone through. I hope that everything goes well for her.

July 24, 2020

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American Bulldog

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Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness,Swelling,Not Eating And Barely Drinking Using A Syringe,Lethergiet And C, Not Able To Sit Up Or Stand,Diarreah.

My dog has quickly become slow and not interested in much. She is diabetic. For several days now she's been not eating anything, drinking very little. I thought she was just at the end of her road. Today I found what looks like spider bite. Its raised up red and black in the center. I can see where it had drained some but it appears to be getting bigger. I cleaned it with betadine . I currently do not have a vet and thanks to covid19 unemployed. Would you use an antibiotic and if so which one? THANK YOU,

July 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I cannot recommend an antibiotic for her without examining her, unfortunately, but diabetic animals are very prone to infection, and she sounds very sick. Veterinary clinics are open as essential services, and many will offer a free first exam so that you can get an idea as to what she may need. I hope that she is okay.

July 20, 2020

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Yorkie

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking, No Energy And Just Wanting To Sleep

what to do I do if my dog ate a wolf spider?

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. While wolf spiders are not toxic, eating one may cause some significant GI upset. If your dog is shaking and lethargic and not feeling well, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian right away. She may need some medication to help her get over this. I hope she is okay.

July 17, 2020

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Pug

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Six Months

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Unknown severity

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog got really down all of a sudden and she recently got shots this afternoon will that cause her to be weak and to vomit ?

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Vaccinations can cause dogs to feel a little flu-ey, and they can be a little depressed afterwards. If she is continuing to vomit or doesn't seem back to her normal self by the morning, then it would be a good idea to have her seen for a recheck as soon as possible, as she may be having a reaction to the vaccination. If you are not sure, you can call your veterinary clinic and describe what is happening, and they will be able to let you know if she should be seen or not. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 15, 2020

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booger

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Pit bull

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4 Months

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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

Hives
Swollen Face
Occasional Raspy Breaths
Very Mild Vomiting

i'm not entirely sure what brought this, i'm assuming a spider bite since they're so plentiful in my home.. booger is acting normal, maybe slightly lethargic but he's an abnormally lazy puppy so it's hard to tell. he had moderate to severe hives for a very short period of time, mainly on his lower belly, maybe lasted ten or fifteen minutes, then they subsided but have come back worse again in different places, specifically the armpits & the lower part of his belly. he wasn't very interested in drinking any water. he had rapid hiccups, or what i would assume them to be, for a few brief seconds & then vomited very small amounts of a light yellow foamy liquid, three or four times back to back. acts totally normal, doesn't seem to be in any pain whatsoever, still walking around, even running after me wagging his tail. breathing is fine until he lays a certain way, then it's almost like he's a little congested.. going to buy some Benadryl for now, he doesn't have any discoloring of the gums they look pink & normal so breathing is still good, airways open. i can't find a bite, would it be possible that the spot he were bit would be painless? i've rubbed my hands all over his body, pressed gently over it again with my fingers, & then again with more force. he showed no signs of any tender places or pain. is this normal for hives to do, come & go with various severities? i think if he were to become fatally ill, it would have either happened by now or his condition would have worsened. any ideas what this could be, if not a spider bite? should i be concerned if he doesn't show signs of the symptoms getting worse? right now he is asleep, dreaming like he usually does. he has yet to act any different.

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Bear

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Mixed breed

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weak Back Leg

Hi there. My dog was fine and playing this afterboon as usual. Now he is struggling to walk and get up. At first I though he might have hurt a muscle in his back leg, but now i am getting more worries, and probably more paranoid, that a spider but him. We have black & brown widows in our area and brown recluse. I have not seen any, but i know they are probably lurking somewherin the garden. He still has a great appetite and is standing up to go do huis number 1 outside, however he really struggles to get up. Can a spider bite kill him overnight? We do not have any vets available nearby on a Sunday evening. Im just really worried.

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wrangler

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Great Pyrenees

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Unsure

my puppy was running around the house shaking his head roughly, when i came up to him i found a very large common black house spider. he killed it but I'm very unsure if the spider bit him... i couldn't see anything right away on his nose or lips, but then again i don't know how long it takes for the symptoms to kick in. he has black and white speckled lips, nose, and gums because of his breed mixing

Spiders Poisoning Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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