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Discussion Starter #1
Just got back from emergency trip to the vet with my Kira, this is the second trip today. Let me explain.
When I let her out from her enclosure mid afternoon for a romp she only reluctantly took two steps and layed right down , in the mid-day sun!, unusual for a black gsd, I saw her back leg joint was very swollen, took her right to the vet, as she would not walk at all. She immediately suspected a bite of some sort but only found a microscopic hole? near the swelling. Vet gave steroid (she said) & benadryl shot, took home antibiotics and histimine pills. Not sure if snake bite but suspect brown recluse spider. Fast forward 3 1/2 hours wound is HUGE seeping and entire leg swollen, oozing and brown clearly dead tissue on leg,won't move. I am so worried call emergency vet, no answer, never not answered before so I call for advice from breeder friend and describe situation. She recommends another vet, needs to be seen right away, IV maybe necessary. Finally my vet returns call and I rush in . Finds first dr. crossed off steroid and gave something else, unknown why at this point, Vet gives her huge antibiotic injections and steroid. She told me it's probably brown recluse spider due to fast spreading tissue damage but it is not systemic as a black widow, but tissue death is local and depends on amount of venom injected. She did not put her on IV's tonight as she felt she was still to energetic(relatively, not just complete lethargy) I'm scared how much more tissue damage will occur it happened so quickly. Any one have experience with spider bite like this, and what was the outcome, did your dog need surgery for tissue damage? Kira is just the best dog and has produced such beautiful pups (2 litters) for us, I care about her so much.
 

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I hope your dog is ok. I think I would have left mine at the emergency vet with that kind of an aggressive onset.

I used to live in New Mexico and knew how deadly the brown recluses could be. I believe they are like rattlesnakes and their venom is stronger if they haven't bitten in a while. A woman I worked with had a son who was bitten by a brown recluse and luckily got immediate attention and was ok. Wishing the best for your dog.
 

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My Emma was bitten by a recluse at 7mths of age (she is 9 years old now
) The area swelled quite a bit and she was *very* lethargic and the wound was painful (was on her back right on her withers) Emma got a high fever and also would not eat. I just stayed with her, sat her in the kiddie pool until the fever broke and encouraged her to eat. She lost a lot of weight which she put back on pretty quickly after she recovered.

Good luck to your pup, I hope it does not get more serious and please keep us updated.

Cherri
 

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Kira

Brown recluse spider bites are NASTY - I hope Kira will be feeling better soon.
 

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Never dealt with the spider bite before (hope not to). I just wanted to mention that if she fevers it could also help to keep cool paks wrapped in dishtowels against her belly and cool her off. I cool Ruby down like that during hot spells, then I wipe her down with a damp cloth, belly, ears, face, let her air dry.
 

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I know of a dog who had to have extensive surgery due to a brown recluse bite - had to remove a lot of muscle and tissue in a huge area. My dad got bit when I was a kid. It was so bad, they were planning on doing skin grafts, but it finally got enough better that they didn't have to do surgery. He always had a dent in his leg where the tissue and muscle had died, even though it eventually filled back in with new skin. They are NASTY, NASTY spiders.
 

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We lost a dog to complications from a brown recluse bite several years ago.

The bite was on his left foreleg and, as is typical of brown recluse bites, the tissue necrotized. The vet sedated him and removed the necrotizing tissue, but afterward it just kept reappearing and growing. The only option the vet had left to offer was amputation of the leg, but that wasn't something we could consider. Even if he survived the surgery, which was doubtful given his age (10+) and condition, he couldn't have lost a front leg. His back end didn't work well due to spinal damage from an old training injury, and he needed both front legs for balance and to support most of his weight.

Had he been a younger, healthier dog he might have pulled through. But even with aggressive treatment with both oral and topical antibiotics he was lethargic, wouldn't eat, and ran a high fever for more than 2 weeks to the point where he completely lost touch with reality. Between that and the leg just getting worse and worse, we had to make the decision to put him down.
 

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Wishing you luck... as human that has dealt with a brown recluse bite - back of my knee - it was very, very painful and I had a fever of 103 at times. It took about 6 weeks to heal once I was on a strong antibiotics.

Hopefully you caught it early enough and can stop the necrotizing of the tissue.

thoughts are with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Kira is doing better today , swelling is down significantly. The rapid tissue deterioration has slowed to almost halt. She is walking around a bit and not acting depressed. So I am hopeful that every thing is working out alright. The wound is the size of a golfball and we are flushing it for a while numerous times a day.
Found out the first Dr. gave Metacam instead of steriod , still don't know why, but I am certainly going to object to the emergency trip (just to walk in the door was $100! plus treatment) If she had been given steriods immediately at first visit it may have not been necessary to return hours later and have the wound enlarge so much. Would anyone agree with this, I am not a vet but breeders, and trainers I spoke with seemed shocked this was not dealt with agressively as possible with a steroid. Again vet said that is what she was going to administer. Thanks for your concern everyone. Here is my girl's pedigree such a great temperament.
http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/gsd/pedigree/5/410322.html
 

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We went through a very scary episode with Molly last summer. Brown recluse are not even supposed to be in Southern California. The onset was so fast, inner back leg, never knew if the bite happened in our yard or at our early morning park walk.

She was at the vets for a week on iv, and they weren't sure she'd make it, the swelling was so great. And I got her in just hours after it started, (on a holiday weekend of course.)

She's absolutely fine now. (It cost us $1500 and the vet is not a high charger.)

Why argue with vets if your dog is alive-- that's what counts. It's a terrible thing to deal with, and not always easy to diagnose.
 

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"Why argue with vets if your dog is alive-- that's what counts. It's a terrible thing to deal with, and not always easy to diagnose."

Yeah thanks for putting it into perspective valleydog. I guess I'm just irritated because this vet in the 2 vet practice has done some other things that bothered me. I guess I'll just request the other vet I haven't had any doubts with as my primary and see her only for the most routine care.
 

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We had the same problem with the animal hospital, one vet said one thing while another said things differently. So when we make appointments we request the one that seems to be up on everything. Only on emergency's does the other vet ever get a wack at our dogs and we do drill him before he proceeds. Now what kind of spider are you talking about, sorry never had this problem but if we are to move to Arkansas I need to do our homework a bit
 

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Are you sure she didn't say "non steroidal anti-inflammatory" shot? Metacam is an NSAID and considered to be just as effective against inflammation as steroids but don't require tapering off like steroids. When you go on steroids, you have to stay on them and taper off or your renal system can be damaged. I know this because I've been on steroids so many times with MS.

So a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory may be just as effective and not have side effects of steroids or drug interactions. Actually, if you use both steroids and NSAIDs at the same time, it's dangerous, you're not supposed to do that.

A booster amount of metacam would bring down the inflammation effectively just as well as steroids, usually a double dose but you should then have gone home with more to give once a day for several days. So just one shot of either NSAID or steroids is problematic as they both need to be continued in different ways.

Metacam can cause ulcers with long term use but steroids can cause liver or kidney damage at any time, especially with long term use. Maybe the vet thought your Kira might be a high risk for steroids?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Chuck
Unfortunately everyone I talk to knows someone, friend or relative bitten by a brown recluse spider and has a horror story. These spiders definitely are in this area as well as Arkansas. Nasty spiders indeed!!

This link was provided by Strongheart, it is graphic but this is what happens when bitten Check out this page:

http://www.angelfire.com/biz4/MastiffBreeder/BrownRecluse.html

Strongheart,
The original vet was off yesterday when I called in to update them. I will ask her. I was not given more Metacam but took home an antibiotic and a histimine called Hydroxyzine. Kira has never had any health problems whatsoever so no reason there about the steroid.
Stronheart
My dad has had MS for 60 plus years (he'll be 80) I know he has tried the "gammit" of cures/managements but I don't recall him ever using steroids. I know MS manifests in so many ways and everyone is different at different times. He has maintained his positive, wonderful attitude despite his numerous difficulties and it has been a blessing for him when times were/are the toughest. I wish you well with it.
 

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Originally Posted By: Crooked Creek Stronheart
My dad has had MS for 60 plus years (he'll be 80) I know he has tried the "gammit" of cures/managements but I don't recall him ever using steroids. I know MS manifests in so many ways and everyone is different at different times. He has maintained his positive, wonderful attitude despite his numerous difficulties and it has been a blessing for him when times were/are the toughest. I wish you well with it.
Hi - that's odd because IV steroids are the most commonly used regimen for MS attacks. If it weren't for steroids at the onset of my MS, I would be dead now. But they gave much such strong doses of solumedrol that it changed me from progressive to relapsing-remitting. It wasn't discovered until only fairly recently that they are effective against MS so maybe that's why and once you get to a certain stage, the chronic stage, after having it for so long, the steroids have no use. Then you just treat the symptoms and hope for the best. Sounds like your pop is doing good! 80 is great!

Anyway, I hope your puppers is getting better! What an awful experience. I hope for a speedy recovery for your fur pal!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update on Kira
The swelling is down greatly and she is putting weight on that leg 75% of the time , even biting and going after her nemisis Cayenne. She wanted to go on the pack run last night so I had to tie her so she wouldn't attempt to follow hopping along. So that is all good . The wound is healing and looks like we won't have the "hole" that I've seen so many horror photos of. thanks all for your concern
 

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Oh gosh what a relief! I guess maybe it was a baby spider rather than a full grown one.

I saw one in my bedroom once, woke up and there he was looking right at me. They're so distinctive because they have brown fur and it looks like suede.

I was terrified! I usually catch bugs in a jar and put them outside but I must admit, this guy met a squishy end. Then once my DH caught a black widow in a jar and was showing it off like he'd caught a big fish or something and I was like 'you insane person, go put that thing in the woods!'

I sure hope your girl continues to improve and sounds like she is going to do well! Yay!
 

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Great news. I can't believe that I have never heard of these spiders before. What a secluded life I must live to never here of them.
 
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