Brown Recluse Spider Bites Dog

September 30, 2010

Brown Recluse Spiders, also called Fiddlebacks,  are venomous and live in the Northwest, Seattle area. The bite from a Recluse is serious.

When a dog gets bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider, you need to consider it serious and get immediate medical attention for your dog.  The results from a Recluse bitten dog can range from no affect to critical.  Although Recluse spider bites are not often fatal in pets, it is possible that in just one hour the highly toxic Brown Recluse venom can cause serious damage destroying living cell tissue moving  ultimately to a point of gangrenous areas, amputations or even death. Puppies, older dogs or dogs with poor immune systems are especially at risk.

Note: If possible, save the spider and take it to your vet.  It is not possible to know for sure that it’s a Recluse without examining the actual spider.

Recently, a beautiful 14 year old Westie was bitten by a spider and probably a Brown Recluse.   After 11 days of brave struggle to survive, she died.   This sweet Westie had a horrible lesion covering most of the top of her head and deep enough to show her skull bones.  The pictures & story were so sad and horrifying that I couldn’t forget it.  It is what prompted me to write this article & I hope sharing will save some dogs.

It’s called a Recluse because this spider likes to hide and can be found inside homes in shoes, closets, beds, under furniture or outside in woodpiles or under logs. They can survive six months without food or water, generally move to hunt at night, range from mostly tan to dark brown in color, have a violin shape on their backs & range from tiny to the size of a quarter.  If a spider has stripes on its legs, it’s not a Recluse. Females lay about 50 eggs from May-July encased in an off-white, silken sac about 2/3 in diameter.                  Please Post & Share Your Comments   Also, see website

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }


My Golden Retriever was bitten 11 days ago on the ear. She was also bit in the throat. We did IV fluids, IV antibiotics at home and even Dapsone. Sadly, she passed away in my arms this morning. I only hope this raises the awareness that these spiders are fatal. Take every measure to protect yourself and your pets.



Dear Wonderful Dog Lover,
The Brown Recluse Spider is dangerous and lives here in the Northwest plus across most of America. I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. Your email makes me sad. I don’t think most people realize how bad the Brown Recluse Spider is and how quickly medical attention is needed both for humans and our pets. The Brown Recluse does not build webs up in the air between trees and such but prefers to build close to the ground in such places as wood piles, garages, your closet or in your favorite pair of shoes. It’s solid beige to solid brown in color and has a design looking like a violin on its back. It’s also called a Fiddleback Spider. I can tell that you loved your dog very much. Thank you for taking the time to write this email and I hope it will help alert others. Dona



Our miniature bull terrier Rex got bit, apparently by a brown recluse spider, at a dog show in Kansas last summer. Although he was already a group-winning champion, this ended his show career. His toe developed a blister that burst. Then it was swollen. After a couple of months of treatment with strong antibiotics, the vet finally opted to removed the toe. We are lucky Rex survived & treasure every day we have with him. But I have nightmares where I wake up imaging spiders on the bed!



My beautiful 6 year old boxer passed away last night. His vet said he was bitten by a brown reclusive spider. We didn’t see any signs of him being bitten. We called his vet and said more than likely he scraped his leg so we treated it at home. Last night we came home from work and he was barely breathing. We took him to the Emergency Room where they gave him IV, antibiotics and plasma (twice) After many tears my husband and I made the hardest decision ever, we had to let him go. He did not stand a chance. He died of a severe infection caused by the bite and severe systematic infection. It happened so fast we did not see this coming. I miss my Pluto.



Hi Mayra,
Your email brought great sadness to my heart. I am so sorry to hear about your wonderful dog. Spider bites are tiny and can go unnoticed until the infection sets in and a problem starts. I know most people do not think about the seriousness of this Brown Recluse Spider so thank you for sharing and your email might help another dog as well as help people become more aware. These aggressive spiders can be a problem for people, cats and other animals as well. The very best to you. Dona


Eileen Smith Desert Acres Canine Haven McNeal Arizona all breed canine rescue

I saved a wonderful lab 2 years ago from sure death in the Tucson Arizona area He was one of the best rescues I ever took in and I have been in canine rescue for over 40 years having about 70 dogs at all times and doing this all on my own income This wonderful dog Jake who everyone loved dearly was bitten about 1 week ago by a recluse spider I lost my friend 2 days ago There was nothing the vet could do since the poison traveled so fast through him it was too late even after the 2nd day He is now buried in our beautiful cemetary but everyday of my life I will miss him and blame myself for not knowing anything about these horrible spiders and the fatal effect the bite can have on animals and humans as well I know he is in a wonderful place right now but this hurt never goes away Time does not heal all wounds Please everyone that has pets know that these spiders are found everywhere in the U S A and any animal or person needs to get medical help immediately We will think about Jake everyday and miss him terribly God Bless



I am not sure yet but I think my labrador has been bitten by a brown recluse. We were in the woods burning old dried wood and having a good time, me and my 5 labs. I raked away the pine straw to make a safe place to burn and just enjoyed some very needed time for me and the dogs to get some excersise and alone time. When it was time to go home I noticed (Bella) limping and a small amount of swelling on her foot. By nightfall (aboout 2 hours later) the swelling became very large. I could’nt find any punture wounds where a snake may had bitten her, but still thought that was what had happened. I knew the swelling would go down in a few days, but now it has been 2 and a half days and the swelling is not getting any better. I also noticed she was licking between her pads and when I wiped it with my finger there was a foul oder. I also noticed at the top of her foot a very red, round in shape sore. If it isn’t any better by tomarrow I plan to take her to the vet, but for now sure could use some coments on what to do to clean it and do you think it is a brown recluse bite?



Karen, did your dog end up ok? My Shitzu got bitten on the foot probably two weeks ago… He is no longer limping but more blisters keep forming and there is some black tissue where you can see the two puncture marks… Please let me know how your baby got through it!!?? God bless!! Email me at please.



My 12 year old Jack Russle was bitten by a brown recluse spider and I lost him. Saddly I took him to two vt’s here in Bushnell florida and they did nothing for him. They were waiting for him to need emergency care and make more money. One of them would not even suggest anything that would ease his discomfort over the phone untill I clould bring him in for care. I will miss my buddy for the rest of my life.



My 5 year old Australian Cattle Dog has been at the vet hospital for 2 days now, fighting for his life. While I saw no spider, and wound is visible all the sypmtoms are there. He is fighting a bad infection, with lots of swelling up his front leg and into his neck and jaw area. To be honest these stories here are scaring me. He is such a good boy and I love him so much. Please say a prayer for him if you can. I can’t afford to lose my best buddy.



I believe my dog was bitten by one. What do you put on it? Is there any home remedies or cheap stuff to help? Please help asap we’ve had him since 2004 now it’s 2013 omg in tears



I just lost my 16 year old pitbull to a brown recluse spider. We went thru over 3 months of changing her bandage weekly, bi-weekly at first. But she ended up losing one of her back feet. We thought she was fine, gained back the weight she lost, and acted normal but last Friday she died at my feet. We aren’t sure but we think that the poison got to her heart after everything and we lost her. My heart is broken. She was my baby, my sleeping partner, and my friend. She knew when I needed someone to hold me and she would cuddle up to me and kiss me. We don’t know where she was to get the bite but it is no fun when they do. I am extremely sorry for anyone out there that has lost their beloved pet and friend to that little brown killer.


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