Spider Bite Treatment for Cats

Spider bite in cats is rare, and often the work of a harmless spider like the wolf spider. There are two kinds of spider bites that should cause concern in the owner, and these are black widow and brown recluse bites. These bites can be dangerous to humans as well.

Symptoms of Black Widow Spider Bite

The black widow spider is a North American spider that can grow from one half inch to one inch in length. Its body is shiny and black, and it has a red hour glass shape on the underside of its abdomen. They live in warm, dry climates with mild winters and are common in the eastern and southwestern U.S. They spin their webs in dark, crevice like places.

Black widow spiders produce a neurotoxin that can be deadly, especially to small pets and children. The spider is not aggressive and only bites in self defense. If your cat gets bitten by a black widow spider, the bite will be extremely painful. He'll experience muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis and death.

Treating Black Widow Spider Bites in Cats

While there is an antivenin that can treat black widow spider bites, it's expensive. It can also be difficult to diagnose a bite as having come from a black widow spider. There's no test for it, so diagnosis needs to be made on the symptoms and the presence of the spider. If you can catch the spider, bring it with you to the vet.

Your vet may administer muscle relaxant medications and your cat may need breathing assistance and IV fluids. The prognosis for black widow spider bite in cats is poor.

Symptoms of Brown Recluse Spider Bites in Cats

The brown recluse spider can be between one half inch and two inches long and is distinguished by the fiddle shaped mark on its back. The brown recluse spider lives throughout the U.S., and especially in the south. They like dark, secluded areas and bite in self defense.

Scientists don't understand the venom that the brown recluse spider produces. The bite causes an inflamed lesion that may take several weeks to heal. Symptoms of brown recluse spider bite in cats include:

  • A lesion that is dark in the middle and painful
  • Skin sloughing off
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Fever

Treating Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Your vet will diagnose brown recluse spider bite based on the symptoms and the presence of a spider. Treatment largely involves supporting the healing process by keeping the wound clean. Antibiotics can stave off secondary infection. Medication can relieve the other symptoms; most cats recover fully from brown recluse spider bite.

Preventing Cat Spider Bites

You can try to prevent spider bite by keeping spiders out of your home, and limiting your cat's access to areas where spiders might live. Both of these types of poisonous spiders like to hide in dark corners, in basements, closets and attics. If you find brown recluse or black widow spiders in your home, consider hiring an exterminator.