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Bite Information
MyBite#: 2446 Name: Jennifer Nix
Date Bitten: 5/18/2006 Body Part: Back
City: Woodstock State/Country: Georgia
Found Spider: No Severity of Bite: 4 - Very Severe
Recurring Bite: No Pet Story: Yes
Medications: Antibiotics, Antinflamatories
anti-nausea medicine and anti-ulcer medication for his upset stomach, eventually the miracle herbal cure-- the Brown Recluse First Aid Kit from Progeny Products (brownrecluses.com) 
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Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Brown Recluse Spider Bite

My dog, Buck, who is like my baby, has been sick for 2 weeks. He is not yet 4 years old (his birthday is in August) and he was an otherwise healthy and happy dog prior to this incident. He is an inside dog and is treated like a child. A little more than 2 weeks ago (5-18-06), my husband noticed a small bump on Buck's right shoulderblade. I felt around for it and didn't feel anything, so we figured maybe it was a mosquito and didn't think anything else about it.
During that weekend (May 19-21), Buck became lethargic, weak, shaky, and experienced vomiting and diarrhea a few times. His stomach was obviously upset (sort of contracting when he breathed hard) and he lost his appetite. We took him to the vet on Sunday the 21st thinking nothing of the possible bite. They decided that he had most likely eaten something bad in the yard or he had a virus. He was given fluids and medication and they sent him home with us. During the next week and a half, we went back to the vet 4 more times! Buck did not improve and his fever and nausea remained. He did not have a bowel movement for 2 days and we became very worried. The vet did some intestinal tests, blood tests, toxin screens, blood cell counts, etc. and they were still mystified. The next intestinal test that they performed was where Buck had to drink Barium and then undergo a series of X-rays watching the progress of digestion. A small blockage appeared in the X-rays between his stomach and small intestine. We were prepared for the fact that he may have to have surgery to remove what they thought was a foreign object. Crying and scared, I took Buck in the next morning for the surgery, but when they took some preliminary X-rays, there was no longer a blockage. The vet thought that the item must have passed or was at least in his colon. They gave him antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicines, anti-ulcer medicine, and pain-killer. His fever was gone and we thought that he was improving.
Things did not improve, however. Buck went back to the vet--still nauseous and weak and the fever had returned. They were perplexed and wanted to do more stomach tests such as an ultrasound and a possible colonoscopy (I saw a different vet on this day and just couldn't keep trying to find an answer). We did not allow them to do these tests because we had already spent close to $900 that week. Buck was eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping, so we felt that we would have to wait it out a little.
On Tuesday, May 30, we had a breakthrough. All along, Buck had a little scab on his shoulderblade (which I didn't even connect to my husband's original thought of a bite since we had been so focused on a possible intestinal problem)! I thought that the scab was from one of the injections at the vet or from the IV fluids that he had received. When I came home from work that day, I lifted up his hair on his shoulder/back where the scab was and there was a swollen, puss-filled open wound that had been covered by his hair! It was like the skin above the wound was dead! I called the vet to ask if this could be a reaction to shots and they informed me that he had not been given shots in that area. I took him back in to the vet and they diagnosed the place on his back as an "absess" from either a spider bite or a thorn. There are no thorns in our small backyard, so we decided that it must have been a spider bite. They shaved part of his back and cut the infected skin back (it was "dead" blackened skin). Now he has a sad open wound the size of a quarter where the bite killed the tissue.
Also, the vet told us that he had been thinking about Buck and the intestinal blockage shown in the X-ray the previous week. During that weekend, Buck's treats (Breath Busters, Greenies) had been pulled from the market due to the death of several dogs because of intestinal blockage-- apparently they are not easily digestible. The vet thinks that the combination of the undigested treat in Buck's stomach and the possible bite made him so sick. The vet did not tell us that almost all of Buck's symptoms could be attributed to a spider bite, but my husband and I did a lot of online research and found a few stories on this site about brown recluse bites and the pictures look exactly like Buck's shoulder. We now have strong antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine for Buck and he is continuing with that medication through next week. If he has not noticably improved, he will be visiting the vet AGAIN when the medicine runs out. His appetite is back, but he is still really lethargic and sleeps almost all of the time. I hope and pray that my baby is back to normal at some point!
All of the stories on this site really helped me and encouraged me through this experience. I eventually learned to identify a brown recluse spider and found one dead near his pet bed and found 3 on our front porch and 1 in our garage. We exterminated our house. (The top 3 pictures are Buck and his bite site as of this post.)
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Well, it is week 3 and we have now made it a complete week without a trip to the vet now that we know what is wrong. Buck finished one round of his antibiotics today and is moving on to a weaker med. tomorrow. He is still very tired and lethargic, but he has his appetite back and is barking and tail-wagging a bit (any movement has made us excited)! His eyes now seem more attentive and his stomach doesn't seem to be upset anymore. The bite is still nasty and he has no energy, but things seem to be looking up... The bite seems to be hardening around the edges and bubbling (gross) in the middle. I am trying to decide whether it is spreading or not. I'll keep updating... (Picture #4 is Buck's bite now after 3 weeks.)
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It is now June 9, 2006 (officially 3 weeks and 1 day) and Buck is really perking up! His legs are still shaky (I'm guessing from the "joint pain" that is supposed to accompany all of this) but his appetite is back in full force and he has started begging under the kitchen table again! His personality is really coming back! He barks at neighbors and the doorbell again (though they are weaker barks than normal) and his eyes are so much more attentive! It's like he's not miserable anymore and he is truly getting back to his old self little by little! We're finished with antibiotics, but still have some anti-inflammatory and some upset stomach medicines to finish up. I'm still cleaning the wound twice daily with a chlorohexidine solution from the vet and then applying neosporin. The wound itself is really drying up, but I can tell it itches him if I don't keep neosporin at least around the outside of it. Buck has enough energy now to sit up and scratch with his back leg, so I'm having to put a t-shirt on him again to prevent that. He looks silly in his t-shirt, but is feeling noticably better! I know that this is a slow process, but I'm excited to see small signs of improvement! We haven't been back to the vet in about a week and a half, so we are truly trying to wait this out. If it IS a brown recluse bite (which I believe 100%), then I know he is not going to be immediately better. I'll keep updating... The bite HAS spread a bit-- now it is closer to the size of a half-dollar, but hasn't gotten any bigger than that.
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June 10, 2006 update:
Buck is starting to perk up and he really seems to be getting better each day! His appetite is back, he is moving around a lot more, he is finished with his medicine and seems to feel fine, he is getting his energy back more each day, and his terrible scab is really starting to heal now! The only frustrating thing is that now that he has energy, he can sit up and scratch at the wound (NO GOOD). The vet said that he has to wear T-shirts now to keep him from scratching and he looks ridiculous. It works, though. I thought I would send y'all a picture of his favorite shirt... :) (picture #5)
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June 19, 2006 update:
I wish that my news was good, but we're not sure yet... Buck's bite wound is healing and his energy level is up. Aside from that, though, we discovered a swollen lump on his chest/neck area. I cut the hair back myself this time (rather than spending more $ at the vet) to check it out. It is pretty substantial. I found the lump last Thursday and today/Monday we took him in to the vet. It doesn't seem like another bite... I'm not sure what this one is. The vet didn't know either, so as I type, Buck is being sedated and they are taking a piece of the growth to be biopsied and sent off to the lab. They said that it could be a simple benign growth or it could be cancerous. I get to pick Buck up tonight around 7:00 with stitches, more antibiotics, and about a week's wait to get the lab results back. I don't want to get upset yet... we've almost made it through this terrible spider ordeal, so I want to think that we can make it through anything, but in reality, if it is cancerous, we can't afford treatment for him. I guess we'll deal with that if it happens... for now, I am praying for a benign lump and waiting to get my precious baby back home. He feels FINE and is eating fine-- I don't understand...
I'm attaching a picture of the new lump in contrast with the old bite-- does it look like the beginnings of a spider bite or something totally different to you guys?
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June 27, 2006:
MYSTERY LUMPS SOLVED!
We finally got confirmation today (in the form of biopsy results) that the new lumps on Buck's neck and back were fatty tissue build-ups showing an elevated white blood count. The lab suggested that the cause could have been a recent absess or wound (check), a negative reaction to an injection, and/or a POISONOUS SPIDER BITE!!! When we had the biopsy done last week, the vet gave us super strong antibiotics for Buck (375 mg. as opposed to his usual 25 or 50). The antibiotics have reduced the size of the lumps and they have actually helped to dry out the spider bite wound as well. Buck gets his biopsy stitches out on Friday and I am meeting with the vet to discuss the possibility of closing up the bite site wound with surgery. Things are looking up! Before we do any kind of surgery, I have ordered a brown recluse venom herbal kit (http://www.brownrecluses.com) and I will let you guys know how it works. I am NOT an "herbal" or "alternative medicine" person AT ALL, but this seems to be the only alternative to debriding and sewing up the wound and I feel like I owe Buck at least TRYING this first! I am hoping that the kit comes today. I read some incredible testimonials online and hope it works!!! At this point, what's $25 more when we've spent over a thousand?!
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July 10, 2006 update:
We used the herbal remedy kit--a product from Progeny that draws the venom out-- (from brownrecluses.com) for 4 days and we have seen quick improvement!!! It amazes me that modern medicine could not accomplish what the herbal product did! Buck's wound has raised (no longer a crater in his back) and it is drying out quickly. He is taking vitamin supplements but no more meds. No surgery! I truly believe that the wound will heal up on it's own now. I have seen tremendous improvement in the past few days since using the Brown Recluse 1st Aid Kit and I'm hoping for the best that the progress is speedy and continual! :) (picture above)
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July 18, 2006 update:
Bite site is truly finally drying out!!! I am now a huge advocate of the Brown Recluse First Aid kit (http://www.brownrecluses.com) because nothing else worked until we used it! It seems to have truly sucked the venom out of Buck's bite. No more gooey, puss-oozing mess! Buck's back is dried out into a real scab now and each day the edges heal and close in forming REAL skin and tissue and making the bite site smaller! It has been exactly 2 months today since the bite and now we are FINALLY seeing the wound healing and closing up! This has been a huge ordeal! I will keep updating with pictures as it heals more, but here is my 2 months update: Buck is still lethargic, but getting a little bit better each day. His immune system is zapped (presumably from the bite and from all of the antibiotics he took). He has developed an allergy rash under both of his back legs (maybe from the heat and from lack of movement?) but Benadryl is taking care of that. I'm really excited to see the skin healing on his back! (See attached photo). I can't wait until he is running around again!
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August 1, 2006 Update:
Healed! No more limping, MUCH more energy, and no more gooey messy wound! The skin has completely closed up on Buck's back and he is doing SO much better! There is even hair growing in the new skin, so it won't be a disfiguration on his back! :) He still is not back to his normal energy level, but we have seen a great deal of improvement since using the Brown Recluse First Aid Kit! When Buck is totally healed, I will update more. I am so thankful for this site and the encouragement I found through the many stories here.
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August 21, 2006 Update:
Buck developed a rash on his tummy that he itched and bit and it got worse and worse, so I took him in to the vet yesterday. It turns out that he developed a staff infection during the time that he had the large open wound on his back and it was showing up on his tummy. With 2 days of antibiotics, the rash is already drying up. We have some medicated shampoo for him, too. Nothing major-- just another spider bite complication! We ordered these doggie vitamins for joint pain from petmeds.com and they have helped him to regain energy and strength SO much. The vet was amazed by how his bite site had healed up and even regrown hair. Not it is a tiny line like a human scar from stitches or something. You can't even see it with the hair covering it. We are SO thankful to put this behind us! It seriously took 3 months! He is still not 100% back up to his usual energy level, but each day improves. Also, when we visited the vet, we learned that he lost 4 pounds during this whole fiasco! I'm just glad that my baby is okay. Please feel free to email me if you experience anything similar with your animals-- there are ways to get through it without surgery and without putting them down! If my (formerly) 23 pound dog can make it, yours can too!
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August 25, 2006:
Buck jumped onto and off of the couch for the first time since before the spider bite today! This sounds little, but it is HUGE! We are finally getting our dog back! :)
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January 2, 2007:
Buck is really close to being back to normal. He gained weight during the past year due to his bite and the joint pain that followed. We were fussed at by the vet for his weight (he gained 3.5 pounds), but that is minor compared to what he went through. He is on weight control dog food now and is still taking his joint enhancer vitamins from petmeds.com. His energy level is up (though still not 100% like he was prior to the bite--I don't know if he will ever be there again). We took him on a super long walk last week and he handled it well, though he tires easier than he used to. He can now jump on and off of the couch and bed again and easily runs up and down the stairs again. These were big milestones! The hair is all grown back and has covered the scar area well (though the hair color is different covering the old bite site). The vet was amazed by the healing. Things are good and he is doing well, but my realization is that he will never quite be as energetic and active as he once was. He may be close, but never the same. That spider really did a number on him! All is well overall, though. I will put a final pic. up soon. Thanks for the support!


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