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While spider and insect bites are relatively common in horses, it is important to be aware of the possible danger from a severe reaction. Because conditions like abscesses can mimic a spider bite, evaluation by a veterinarian is advised if the bite develops beyond a mild irritation or if you suspect the spider bite could present a danger to your horse.
There are 4 types of spiders that tend to be the most dangerous if they bite your horse. The brown recluse, black widow, red widow, and tarantula can all inflict wounds that will need attention. If your horse is experiencing labored breathing, pain, tissue damage or swelling do not delay in calling in the veterinarian to take a look.
Spider bites in your horse can result from contact with any type of spider. The bite is not necessarily the problem, the possibility for a severe reaction is the larger concern.
There are multiple types of spiders that can bite your horse and cause a severe reaction.
Brown Recluse Spider
Black Widow Spider
Red Widow Spider
Depending on the type of spider, the veterinarian may be able to form a diagnosis quickly by evaluating the wound where the spider penetrated the skin. He will assess the degree of pain your horse is experiencing and whether there is swelling, heat, or discharge. Having the veterinarian examine any type of wound that looks like more than a superficial scratch or insect bite is essential as secondary infection is a possibility with a spider bite.
If you saw the spider in question, a photo of the culprit will assist the veterinarian in the diagnosis. In the case of a black widow spider for example, antivenin may need to be administered, making identification crucial.
Treatment of your horse’s injury will focus on when the bite is found and in what condition your horse is in at that time. There should be limited concern with any relapse unless your horse is bitten again.
A horse with respiratory distress or additional symptoms may be given oxygen and fluids.
Follow up appointments may be necessary to ensure full healing of the bite wound. Your veterinarian will discuss this will you if deemed essential. Ensuring your horse’s area in the barn is kept clean and regularly brushed free of webs will decrease the odds of spiders creating homes there.
Keeping outdoor areas clean and tidied up such as troughs, wood piles, or standing brush will help to discourage spiders from nesting. If necessary treating the areas where your horse is out to pasture with insecticide can be an option.
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0 found helpful
My horse was acting lethargic and could not do any flexing or stretching by his neck. I felt his neck and he had a large bump, size of my fist around, and about 1/2 inch swelling, and a smaller one on his neck. I called our vet and he came out. He asked if my horse had been injured there. He has never been injured on his neck before, and our pasture is free of anything that could potentially harm a horse. He gave him an anti inflammatory shot and 2 tubes of Equinox for the next 2 days. He did start to feel better and is pretty much back to normal. He still has bumps on his neck, but they have gone down. I think he could have been bitten by a spider but my vet never suggested that. Is it possible that he was bitten by a spider? We live in Nevada and have Brown Recluses and Black Widows. Thank you.
April 4, 2018
Dr. Michele K. DVM
It is possible that he may have been bitten, yes - spider bites and other insects can leave lesions that take quite some time to resolve. Since I did not examine Sparky, I can't say for sure, but it seems a reasonable possibility.
April 4, 2018
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