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Spider Bites In Colorado

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What are Brown Recluse Spiders?

Often identified by a dark brown violin shape on its back, the brown recluse spider is predominantly found in the Midwest and Southeast of the United States. This species is well known for its "secretive" behaviors, as it prefers to take residence in warm, dry and dark environments, such as woodpiles, basements, and closets. This arachnid bites, usually unintentionally when it feels trapped, typically when a hand or foot reaches into a shoe or piece of clothing or a box in the attic or basement where a brown recluse has made its home.

How do I know if my pet got bit?

Your pet may have a red, itchy skin lesion around the bite site. It may sometimes have a bullseye look with a white center or a ring around the outside. There may be a blistered area as well as considerable redness and swelling. Brown recluse spider venom, in contrast, contains a number of substances that trigger local tissue effects. The first part of brown recluse venom contains a substance known as sphingomyelinase D, which interferes with blood clotting at the site of the bite. Additional toxins are then injected into the bite victim, all of which contribute to local inflammation and tissue necrosis (death).

Treatment Options

Brown recluse spider bites are treated with supportive care, as there is no available antivenin in the United States. Wounds are treated with regular wound cleaning, cool compresses, and immobilization using bandages. Antibiotics may also be needed for infected bites. Most bites heal within one to three weeks and systemic complications or death are very rare. In very severe cases, wounds may require surgical treatment or leave permanent scarring, but this is uncommon.

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