March 02, 2020

Are redback spiders the ultimate warrior (and worry!) for our pets?

Are redback spiders the ultimate warrior (and worry!) for our pets?
Dr. Chris Brown

When a juvenile (and highly venomous) brown snake got stuck in a redback spider’s web in Adelaide’s north, no-one expected a tiny red back spider to come out on top. And in the process, create a thousand ‘only in Australia’ comments...

Yet while we appreciate the dangers that venomous spiders pose to people, few of us know what happens when pets are involved. In fact, one of the most common reasons pets are brought into the vet clinic is for suspected spider bites.

So here’s the truth.

As a general rule, dogs and cats are far less sensitive to spiders than people. But if any spider can cause problems, it’s probably the redback. Check out this table below...

Effects on our pets

Spider Dog Cat
Funnel Web Minimal Minimal
Red-back Slight Moderate
White Tail Minimal Minimal

Did you know? The most susceptible of all pets to spider bites seems to be the guinea pig.

Signs to look out for:

  • drooling
  • trembling
  • difficulty walking
  • legs that want to stay straight, almost like they’re stretching

What you should do:

  • If you suspect a red-back bite, get your pet to the vet.
  • While anti-venom, is often not required for dogs, it can save the lives of cats

Video: Snake Catchers Adelaide

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