So, we now knew that Lilly suffered a spider bite and ensuing infection. But, we’ll never know what kind of spider or where or how it happened, but she needed treatment and fast.
Again, if you are sensitive at all, fair warning … what unfolds next isn’t particularly gross, but it is upsetting if you understand the potential outcomes of a fearful dog going through something both painful and scary.
Dog Spider Bite Treatment
Once our veterinarian cleaned the spider bite surface with alcohol and drained the fluid, Lilly needed treatment and fast. That meant both massive antibiotics and massive steroids by injection to kick-start her recovery.
We’d, then, follow-up with at-home meds — both antibiotics and steroids — for a week.
It also probably helped — or least didn’t hurt — that I’d dosed Lilly with benadryl in anticipation of preventing a vaccine reaction for the lepto vaccine we had planned for this routine wellness exam that turned into anything but.
“Hold on to her, talk to her,” my veterinarian instructed. “This is going to sting.”
Now, I’ve held Lilly for many other kinds of injections over the years, but I was NOT prepared for her response to this one.
Suffice it to say, I did not hold on TIGHT ENOUGH.
As soon as the veterinarian began to “push” the injection into Lilly’s back, Lilly screamed.
I mean, yipe … Yipe … YIPE. YIPE, YIPE … screams that went on and on.
This is a dog who has survived TWO painful rattlesnake bites to the face without a whimper.
Lilly whipped her head around and came as close to biting as I’ve ever seen. Clearly, I should have had a better hold. (Note to self and others … these kinds of shots HURT. Hold on tight.)
Her head otter sleek, with ears pinned entirely back. Her lips, long and thin, stretched back into a grimace, and she chattered her teeth at our veterinarian. I’ve seen a few dogs do this before, and I’m not sure … but it looks almost like they’re saying, “I want to bite, but I know I shouldn’t, so I’m just going to click my teeth at you.”
As soon as all the meds were in, Lilly broke loose, flung herself to the floor, and tried to lick and/or soothe the spot on her back. She literally writhed on the floor.
For you Harry Potter fans, it felt like watching the Cruciatus Curse. Not good.
I’m sure I looked both shocked and panicked at Lilly’s reaction. “Is she going to be OK?” I asked.
“It’ll hurt for about 10 minutes, then she’ll be OK,” our veterinarian assured.
So, while she gave me going-home instructions, I did my best to comfort and console Lilly. Our spider-bite-watch rules included:
- Start pills the next morning because the injection would cover her needs until then.
- If she seems in distress at all overnight (poor breathing, lethargy, vomiting, etc.), take her to the veterinary ER.
- If she seems worse the next day (lethargy, not eating, increased swelling), call and bring her back in so that they can do surgery to clean out the infection and put in a drain right away.
- Otherwise, bring her back Wednesday for a recheck, and if the vets don’t like what they see, then surgery. So, don’t feed her breakfast Wednesday, just in case.
He helped us with Lilly’s second rattlesnake bite, so we’ve met before. We joked a little about how I thought at first this was another snake bite and how that would have been the last doggone straw for me. He teased that she’s clearly moved on to other biting creatures.
(Flies also find Lilly rather inviting … that story here … Lilly, The Larva Rancher.)
“I hope NOT to see you tomorrow,” I told him.
I ran Lilly out to my car, where she could relax, while I paid our bill and got her at-home medicines.
I called Tom from the parking lot. “You’re not going to believe this…” I began.
Lilly and I had promised to get some spicy, gooey Mexican takeout on the way home, so we upheld the bargain.
Once home, she had dinner … as did I, before updating our fans and friends online, then falling onto the sofa.
We’ll continue this tale tomorrow with the debate over surgery.