Suspected Wite Tailed Spider Bite
“Flea” Castles presented to the surgery 24 hours after her owners had noticed a slightly swollen paw.
“Flea” is an 18 month old pig dog. In these 24 hours the foot had become grossly swollen and she had gone off her food. Initially we suspected a bacterial infection and possible foreign body. The foot was poulticed overnight pending surgery next morning.
On removing the poultice the next morning we realised the condition was very serious. The paw was purple and oozing from several areas. “Flea” was placed in strict quarantine. Pathology samples were sent away. Surprisingly these revealed an absence of inflammatory cells (no pus) or bacteria. This ruled out both a foreign body and infection.
We began to consider other necrotising conditions – top of the list being White Tailed Spider bite. It was difficult to know because obviously “Flea” couldn’t tell us what had happened, but the wounds were consistent with human cases.
The foot continued to deteriorate with areas sloughing off and breaking out further up the limb. “Flea” eventually healed without the need for skin grafts. She is left with a slightly swollen foot. Occasionally small areas will break out and she requires anti-inflammatories again.
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