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Old 01-16-2015, 04:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 17
Question Possible spider bite?

Hi Fellow Hedgehoggers,

I have just lost one of my heggies to what the vets "suspect" was a spider bite. After looking on the forums, I didn't find much info regarding spider bites so decided to post this thread which may be able to help another owner down the line.

Spike was a young African pygmy male hedgehog and around 3 years old. I say around because I bought him at a reptile expo and you never actually know if the sellers are telling the whole truth.

I noticed that recently he had slowed down with eating and running on his wheel but saw him drinking water still. Last week on Wednesday evening, I took him out of his cage and inspected him. All I could see was that his pubic (not sure of the correct terminology) area was red and there was dried poop stuck to his bum. He looked thinner and didn't huff n puff like he normally does. So I took him in to my exotic animal vet the first thing Thursday morning.

The vet called me later that same day and asked me about any trauma that may have happened to Spike's rear region. I was baffled and said no not likely as his cage only has one level and there's nothing for him to climb on and fall off of. The vet explained that he had found the presence of arthritis in Spike's lower spine and also noticed he was walking gingerly with a slight wobble. Hence his concern regarding trauma.

Anyway, they started treating him with pain and anti-inflammatory meds. The next morning, the vet called again to say that Spike had diarrhea and they were adding antibiotics plus probiotics to his medication. I was concerned about a possible tumour and requested an ultrasound. No lumps or masses anywhere. Spike was also eating mealworms readily and still drinking water.

Then the vet discovered a nasty rash on Spike's tummy and mentioned a spider bite as he thought it could be necrosis taking effect. The vet decided to change the antibiotic to Baytril and said they need to keep him for monitoring. Spike's rash scabbed over within a day and his diarrhea improved slightly which made us all think he may be getting better. I guess we couldn't see what damage was happening on the inside.

This morning I received a call from the vet to inform me that Spike had passed away overnight. Apparently, he took a turn for the worse and his body gave up the fight. Seems strange when he was showing signs of improvement. Spike never left the vet from the time I took him in and I thought he was in good hands. I am confident that he received the best treatment but yet he died anyway

Has anybody else been through something similar? Is there any hope for survival with spider bites? Did I do the right thing? Did the vet do the right thing? So many questions...if anyone has any info to share, I would be most grateful. I am heartbroken and have already sold his cage to a friend of mine. At least I still have another two heggies to love.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
Hooked on Hogs
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Posts: 8,950

I am so sorry for your loss.

There have been numerous spider related deaths and issues over the years. There should be something mentioned here somewhere. If I remember correctly Kalandra had one who was bitten by a spider. Hmmm, maybe it wasn't her.

I don't have any actual experience myself so would only be giving second hand information and opinions, but from everything I recall, spider bites tend to either be quickly fatal, or set issues in motion that are rarely survivable such as with your little one.

* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home

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Old 01-16-2015, 09:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: New Jersey
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I don't have any experience with spider bites. I just wanted to say thank you for taking your hedgie to the vet as soon as you saw something wrong. There are way too many people that wait until the last possible second to take their hedgie to the vet... Making the problem a lot worse and a lot more expensive. So I think what you did was the best thing you could have done for Spike.

Just a thought to make you feel a little better.

RIP Spike <3
http://msbeanhog.tumblr.com Follow Bean's life on Tumblr

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Old 01-16-2015, 09:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Michigan
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Nancy, you are right, I lost one to a spider bite on her face. That was in 2000 or 2001. I have a lot of images of her bite,they are very gruesome as the area swelled terribly and did start to necrotize. We fought hard, but lost her.

I have details of what we did stored away but I remember she was put on Benadryl and an antibiotic immediately. After a period of time had passed with no improvement, my vet decided to take a biopsy of the site. I was later told by a different veterinarian that cutting into that area was a mistake. Cutting into the site allowed the venom in that area to spread extensively throughout the surrounding tissue. Which then immediately started to necrotize. There was no stopping it, and she quickly lost her fight. I haven’t used that vet since.

The spider in question, I’ve always heard it called a house spider. They are considered harmless and I guess rarely bite. We never found the spider that bit her, but I had seen a couple of these guys running around the apartment around that time. So it was the spider we blamed.

Another hedgehog was bitten about a year or two later. Her owner had read about Lucky and their approach was similar but also different. Benadryl, antibiotics and antiseptic wash I believe were used multiple times a day. As far as I know that hedgehog had a hard fight, but did survive her bite.

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Old 01-17-2015, 03:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Thanks for your responses, I am trying to find comfort in the notion that the most likely cause of death was a spider bite which has a very low survival rate.

I collected Spike from the vet yesterday in a little box and will be burying him in the garden just now ((
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 941

I am sorry to hear about Spike. You were a good hedgie parent to him.

We don't think about things like spiders being dangerous to our little guys, but they are so small that a bit of a toxin or chemical can be fatal. If I recall someone had a hedgie that died suddenly and when they cleaned out the cage they found a yellowjacket.
We have to let air circulate in their cages, so its hard to keep insects out. So we're in a tight place there.

Rest in peace little Spike.
Hugs to you.
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diarrhea, necrosis, spider bite

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