HBOT Treats Spider Bite: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy—Jack’s Spider Bite

My regular readers know that I am a big proponent of alternative therapies, old and new. I am fascinated by what regenerative therapy can do; we used it more than once and couldn’t say enough good things about it. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one of the treatments that are on my radar. This story is based on a case study submitted to HVM. This is not a sponsored post.


When your dog starts limping or favoring a leg, the first what comes to mind is a musculoskeletal problem. Joints, muscle injuries … it isn’t always so.

HBOT Treats Spider Bite: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy—Jack's Spider Bite

Twice one of our dogs had a severe limp which had nothing to do whatsoever with the musculoskeletal issues. Cookie had a severe hind limb lameness as a result of a remnant porcupine quill fragment in her foot. JD was very grumpy and lame after he banged-up his leg and it got infected. A friend’s dog, Tosha, looked as if she injured her cruciate ligament until it turned out she was bitten by a snake.

Which brings us to Jack’s story.

Jack was a 5-year-old Chocolate Lab, true to his breed. Full of life and energy. When an active dog like that becomes lethargic, you notice. When a dog like that starts limping, you think he must have overdone it.

Jack looked poorly enough that his parents brought him to a vet.

Jack’s right leg had a small, painful swelling on the thigh. The veterinarian didn’t think much of it, perhaps he saw many dogs like JD who ran into something and ended up with a bit of an infection. Jack was sent back home with pain meds and an antibiotic, just like JD was.

Unlike JD’s leg, though, Jack’s leg was not getting better.

It was getting worse. By the end of the week, the whole leg was swollen and painful. That is one of the reasons I liked how Jasmine’s vet would always provide an expected timeline for improvement. You knew what to expect and how things should be progressing. And if they weren’t going in the right direction, you knew to call back.

Jack’s leg certainly was not supposed to keep getting worse in spite of the treatment. It was a mystery, and Jack was referred to a specialty hospital.

Jack’s leg was in such bad shape, he was hospitalized.

The swelling was spreading to his flank. Jack was put on IV fluid and antibiotics, and his pain needed aggressive treatment. But things kept getting worse. The swelling continued spreading, now even over to the left hind leg. Jack was in serious trouble.

The only reasonable explanation for what was happening at this point was envenomation, most likely a black widow spider bite, severe infection or cancer.

It was time to discuss amputation to try and save Jack’s life.

That’s how much trouble Jack was in. He could die.

That day, Jack was referred to a Holistic Veterinary Care for hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a last resort before having to amputate. The swelling was getting worse before their eyes. There was so much built up fluid, Jack’s foot was dripping bloody fluid.

Jack was given hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

He got two treatments on the first day. By the next day, Jack’s right leg was visibly less swollen, and the swelling was retreating from the other areas. By day three, the swelling on the right leg went down, revealing a large abscess at the bite site. The hospital drained the abscess and installed a drain.

Jack didn’t need any more oxygen therapy. A week later he came in to have the drain removed. By then, there was only some swelling of the right leg.

Three weeks after his ordeal started, Jack was again feeling great. He still had to take his antibiotics but needed only minor pain management. Jack was going to make a full recovery.

You can read Jack’s case study and others on hvm website.

Related articles:
Spider Bites in Dogs: More Creepy Crawlies

Categories: Alternative treatmentsConditionsHyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)Poisonous insect bitesReal-life Stories

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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