Dog Health: Spider Bite
Yesterday, we continued the story of this mysterious mass I found on Lilly’s neck while awaiting a routine veterinary exam. Today, let’s move on with the diagnosis of the sudden onset (possible) veterinary emergency. It is a bad spider bite.
Fair warning … if you are squeamish at all.
Dog Spider Bite Diagnosis
The first step? Shave Lilly’s neck so that we could get a better look at the big, squishy lump that took up the better part of Lilly’s neck and lower cheek on the left side.
(I’m sorry I do not have pictures before treatment began because I spaced out bringing my camera to the appointment.)
Credit the cocktail of xanax and benadryl, but Lilly took the hum of the coat clippers and us holding her face up and away in stride. She sat still. She didn’t struggle. She didn’t fuss, as our veterinarian shaved away the black-and-white of Lilly’s ruff.
Even as a “smooth coat border collie,” Lilly’s neck area is her fluffiest part, so a good amount of coat came off.
Once again, our veterinarian groped the mass. She pointed out:
- How the red area and bruising centered toward the top
- How the discoloration streaked downward
- How the whole mass centered around a more solid core
- And, how a drooping pocket of fluid draped down below the main area
Spider Bites Dog – What Our DVM Said
“That’s a spider bite, and I’m betting its infected based on this abscess,” she said. “We’ll have to get a needle in there.”
After cleaning the area with alcohol, our veterinarian stuck a needle, with a good-sized syringe attached, into Lilly’s mass.
I held Lilly in place, with her head stretched upward — exposing her neck better — while our veterinarian maneuvered the needle in and out, up and down, drawing a good amount of blood and gunk out of the mass.
She pulled out 12-15 ccs of stuff, which brought the mass down about 50%.
She stepped away to grab a paper towel so that she could squirt out some of the fluid to get a better look … and smell.
Spider Bite on a Dog – Major Yuck!
“Whew. Yeah, that’s infected,” she said, after taking a whiff of the rank gunk that just came out of our dear, sweet canine heroine.
“Because there is so much blood,” she explained, “that tells me this bite is recent. Usually people don’t find these bites for a day or two, and what we get out looks different. So, you might be right. This might have happened today.”
Change of Plans!
This appointment, original meant to be a routine wellness exam, had turned into anything but routine. I knew they were getting ready to close up the hospital, and here Lilly and I were causing an unexpected delay. I felt bad about that, but I was thankful that we happened to be in an exam room when I found the mass … because if it had been any other day, and I found a lump on one of the dogs at nearly 5 pm, it would have meant a trip to the 24/7 veterinary ER / ICU … and all that entails.
Several of our Twitter followers began using the #divineintervention hashtag when exchanging tweets about Lilly’s spider bite and the story behind it (at least as much as I could share in 140 characters).
Maybe they are right. Perhaps we’re more blessed than I know.
Dog Spider Bite Treatment
“I’m going to give her a shot of antibiotics and steroids and send you home with some, but if this isn’t much better by Wednesday, we’ll need to do surgery,” she said, before leaving the room to get some meds for Lilly. “And, if it gets worse tomorrow, don’t wait. Bring her back.”
“Oh, you poor baby girl,” I said to Lilly once we were alone, trying hard not to cry
It isn’t like we haven’t been through some scary things with Lilly — parvo, kennel cough that turned into pneumonia, the rattlesnake bites (yes 2 of them, with one additional close call), and the pre-xmas emergency famously known as Lilly and the Technicolor Vomit.
BUT, it had already been a rough day. And, the news that we were facing a bit of an emergency caught me off guard.
We’ll continue this tale tomorrow with the immediate treatment.