i’m gonna start with the good news first since that's been in short supply lately: phineus is fully recovered and awesome. assuming you’re interested in reading further about what required phin’s recovery you should know there will be photos included that may be gruesome to some…consider yourself warned.
we live right outside nashville, tn and spiders are a part of life here – probably not as big and plentiful as they are farther south but certainly more so than our home state of new jersey and points farther north. over the years we’ve grown more tolerant of them but still can’t cotton to recluse spiders, mainly because of the danger they present for the dogs, but at the current time they are fighting valiantly for their place on our property. phineus is one of our elders, some sort of lifestock guardian dog, who is just absolute magic and about the sweetest being you’ll ever come across…i purport he’s stuffed with buttercream he’s so sweet. because of his breed phin likes hanging outside, generally on hard surfaces even though his hips have seen better days, and usually can be found laying in his spot in our carport.
now that you have the background on the main characters in the story i can move on. one saturday in august phin seemed to be having more trouble than usual with his hips and when i looked at his leg there was a little redness and swelling. assuming he had irritated the spot struggling to get up on the concrete i started him on antibiotics because it looked on it’s way to being infected. the next morning when i looked again i saw a little pit and thought with a sinking feeling “this looks like a spider bite.” i texted our vet and we started a second antibiotic just in case. this is that (sunday) morning:
and this is the.very.next.day! (pic is after vet care):
and i completely freaked out. i started thinking it was going to spread and phin was going to lose his leg and he couldn’t lose his leg because he was already having issues with mobility and this was going to kill him and why phin he’s the sweetest thing in the whole world and why couldn’t the f*cker bite me instead and oh my gosh is my phat phinny gonna be ok and on and on and on.
phineus’ constitution is not the strongest in the world…i generally refer to him as a delicate flower so to say i was concerned would be an understatement. obviously i rushed him to our vet clinic and our amazing vet, dr. singleton, assuaged my fears some and tried valiantly to convince me he would be okay but it would be a long road of wound care. she was somewhat successful but i was still freaked out. at this point we could clearly say it was a recluse bite and phin likely kerplunked down right on top of the poor guy just hanging out in the carport. the one selling point of recluses (useful if you find yourself marketing them) is that they really are working to be reclusive…they don’t bother anyone on purpose from what i can tell.
it was slow going but daily wound care, antibiotics and more antibiotics, cold laser therapy, weekly vet visits and daily pics texted to dr. singleton all accompanied phin down the road to recovery. by week 2-3 it was looking better:
and much better by weeks 5-6:
that’s pretty much the bulk of the story…our vet was right and phin is now completely healed, although he’ll never be a leg model (unless it’s for a spider aftermath gig). it was indeed a long road of wound care, probably 8 full weeks by the end. because phin is a delicate flower and all about self protection he has not been to that spot, which was formerly his spot, again…he’s intuitively a smarty.