Emergency surgery for Hank and spiders suck y’all

Last night was rough, really rough.  It’s heartbreaking to know that your baby is suffering and there is nothing you can do about it.  I had to crate him because we have to keep him as still as possible.  He doesn’t like the crate.  That’s why I stayed with him for most of the night, sitting there and talking to him.

He did sleep for a little while and I slept on the sofa beside him.  It wasn’t a long sleep.

sleep time

I took Hank back to the vet yesterday at 4:30.  The vet was still in surgery but she asked her assistant to shave Hank’s leg so she could see what was going on.  Once they started shaving I knew instantly that I had been right, it was a spider bite and there was already some necrotic tissue.

Warning:  If you have a weak stomach, don’t go any further.  I am purposely posting smaller pics that you can click to enlarge in order to spare those of you who are squeamish.  I debated posting any at all but I want this to be a wake up call about the dangers of spider bites and why it is so important to get to the vet immediately.

I took Hank into the vet within a day or two of him acting not so much ill but a bit off.  There were no visible signs of injury at all at the site, only swelling.  That was Wednesday.  By Thursday afternoon when the vet shaved the area, this is what we saw:

necrotic skin from spider biteThat is necrotic tissue, where the spider toxin has killed the skin cells.  I didn’t know what the treatment would be since he was acting almost normal again but I expected the vet to come in and recommend high dose antibiotics and to keep him on the steroids but instead she recommended surgery, and immediately.

Hank before surgery

It’s okay Momma, I got this.

I had to leave my baby with the vet and trust that they could get all of the dead tissue out and prevent it from spreading.  It was so hard to leave him there but I knew we had to get it out or he could get very sick.

An hour after I left the vet assistant called to let me know that they had completely prepared the area and that they had found additional injuries.  She texted me a picture so that I would not be shocked at how much tissue had to be removed.

Necrotic tissue on a dogJust so you know, those are not additional bites, those are areas in which the skin is dying from the spider toxin.

I was expecting to see a big area removed but I had no idea.  No flippin clue.  The surgery ended up taking much longer than the hour they initially told me.  He wasn’t ready for pickup until around 10PM.

I anxiously drove up there and ran in and when they brought him out to me he was groggy and covered in blankets.  The vet explained that they needed to keep the would uncovered but that he needed blankets to keep him him warm after surgery.  She said I may even need to use a heating pad but stressed that he needed to warm up.

She also gave me lots of warning about how bad the wound would look but as much as she tried, I was still shocked and MacGyver even more so.

This one is bad so don’t enlarge it if you are squeamish.

Hanks spider bite post surgeryI cannot believe how much tissue was lost.  I did everything I could to get him to the vet as soon as I knew he was hurting and I followed up immediately when I realized the initial diagnosis was incorrect but I’m here to tell you firsthand, it didn’t matter.  The toxins were already in his little body and the vet assured me there was nothing more I could have done.  She also said they have another dog currently undergoing treatment for a brown recluse bite and he has already had 3 surgeries and lost most of the skin on his back.

These spiders are horribly dangerous.  They  hide in dark places and are so small that you may not see them.  They are often called fiddle back spiders because of the violin shape on their back.

Brown RecluseMacGyver and I are researching the most effective and pet safe treatments that can be used in our home and we will be spraying both houses and the cabin but the most important thing you can do is to be aware that these spiders are out there and if you notice that your pet is acting off or not feeling well, see your vet immediately.  The vet said because I got Hank in so quickly and because I had given him benadryl in the days leading up to his visit, it may have stopped the toxin from spreading any further.  It’s the only time I’ve ever been happy my dog has allergies!

Let’s hope this is the end of the surgeries because Hank is a little dog and he doesn’t have a ton of skin to lose.  They stretched the area as much as possible to close the wound but it may not hold so we are being diligent about keeping him still for as long as we need to.

He seems to be feeling a bit better this morning but any prayers are certainly welcome as the vet has informed us this will be a very long road to recovery.

Hanky Poo after surgery I will do my best to label this post with warnings when I include any pics and also to tag posts regarding the bite in case you don’t want to read them.  I am going to document this journey though because when I suspected a spider bite, I couldn’t find a lot of information pertaining to bites on dogs and I hope this will help anyone who experiences this type of injury in the future.

Hank wanted me to make sure everyone knows, spiders suck but just in case you should really know about them so you can go here to learn more.

10 thoughts on “Emergency surgery for Hank and spiders suck y’all

  1. Yup I had to scroll past the pictures so thank you for the warning.

    I’m so sad for Hank and you! You guys are in my thoughts! I hope you can keep him still. Did you get any meds to knock him out? Hope Boomer is good and no bites.

    • Boomer is good and Hank is on more drugs than the neighborhood addict so he’s pretty loopy and thankfully so far, he’s been pretty still. We’re hoping he stays this way for a few day since he has a drain in his wound until Monday and it’s been all kinds of hectic over here as you can imagine.

  2. I am not squeamish at all so in fact I did enlarge the photo to get a closer look….I can’t believe all the vet had to cut out. I would be dying and would have done the same thing as you…sleeping by him all night. I would love to see more pics as he heals up…..Good thing the story has a good ending.

    Poor puppy!

    • I’m going to document the entire thing at least weekly so I’ll definitely be posting pics. I think it’s important for pet owners to know what can happen, what to look for, and most importantly what to expect. We have a lot of brown recluse spiders in Florida and I couldn’t find anything very helpful online. Hopefully Hank’s story will help if another dog is unfortunate enough to get bitten.

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