Brown Recluse Spider Bite?

Photos are not for a squeamish stomach.

These photos were taken on 1-27-06, just 6 days after we originally found the wound with just a very slight bit of swelling.  The wound was only about 2/3 of this size when we first found it.  There was no disturbance to the wool or signs of any bleeding.

Showing the swelling of the wound on the left front elbow.


The area right around the wound now has been shaved.  
The swelling has increased.

The open wound.


Caracci was first noticed to be limping on January 13, 2006.  Upon examination no injury or swelling was found.  He didn't seem to favor any part of his leg or give any indication where the pain might be.  We kept examining him and  trying to figure  out the reason for his limping.   During the following week, examinations still revealed nothing.  Fully perplexed, a vet appointment was made for the 24th.  Another home exam was done on the 21st and we discovered "perhaps" a small swelling up on the elbow.

In trying to apply some DMSO to the small swelling, which didn't seem to be painful to the animal, we discovered a raw wound under the wool.  After parting the wool and further examination, we were absolutely shocked at the sight of this open wound!  The outer wool was not disturbed or ripped and there was no signs of bleeding.  We trimmed off the wool revealing a large round raw wound about the size of a tangerine.  The bone was exposed in the center!  Nothing like we've ever seen before!  By the time we visited the vet on the 24th, the swelling was greater and the wound was larger.  Just a huge circle of raw tissue!  The photos above were taken on Jan. 27 where the entire area was greatly enlarged from just 6 days previous when we had first discovered it.  Our veterinarian feels the wound originated from the outside -  not an abscess which would start from the inside.  The only idea that we have come up with is that it may be a Brown Recluse Spider bite.  However, we wonder if that would be possible in Indiana in January.  In searching the web, we have found a site that lists Recluse Spider bites and there are some recorded in this area in the winter.  Perhaps that is the answer to this mysterious wound.  Since we never found the spider, we can't positively identify this as a brown recluse spider bite.  Whatever, it was a terrible tragedy!

Due to the location of this wound and the inability for it to heal, Caracci was put down on Jan. 28, 2006.  Caracci will be forever loved and remembered by his owner and handler, Jennifer.  Caracci had just turned 3 years old and he and Jennifer had accomplished a lot of success in 4-H, the show ring and at the 2005 ALSA Grand National Championship Show.

Now five years later, I have just come across another page on the internet with a first aid kit for a brown recluse spider bite.  I can't say whether it works or not, but I'm definitely willing to share the information for anyone who may need it and want to try the proclaimed remedy.  I would have liked to have known about it in 2006 and tried it with Caracci.  It just may have saved Caracci's life.  Here is the link to the site:  Brown Recluse First Aid Kit.

Here are some other photos of a two month old cria, also bitten by a Brown Recluse.  After treatments, the infection spread down underneath the tongue.  She had to be put down after 10 days.  For information about treatment, see Pearson Pond Ranch.


For more information about the Brown Recluse Spider .........
Reports of Bites in Pets
Ohio State - About the Brown Recluse Spider
Bite Site Search Page
Brown Recluse Spider Info

Brown Recluse Spider Information & First Aid Kit

Return To Llama Care