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Ask Dr. Ellie Your Own Question
Dr. Ellie
Dr. Ellie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  emergency and critical care resident
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Severe swelling on his leg and testicles accompanied by a

Customer Question

severe swelling on his leg and testicles accompanied by a high fever
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: we are suspicious of venomous insect or snake
JA: What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Stuart 4 year old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Stuart?
Customer: no he is a healthy polish lowland sheepdog
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 11 months ago.

Hi there, I am sorry to hear about Stuart's recent medical troubles. Do you have a question today? The prompt from the website did not include a question.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I was out of town & Stuart was staying with my parents. Sun evening Stuart was barking & yelping & ran into the house. The next morning Stuart had swelling in his right leg up to his stifle. They assumed he twisted something & rested him in his crate on Monday his leg & testicles were very swollen & he was running a high fever 104.7
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I came home tonight & Stuart's leg is very swollen up to his groin area -his temp in now 102.4. I administered 3 benedryl tablets & prednisone His leg was washed & cleaned with betadine There is a quarter sized sore on the top of his foot & there seems to be some weeping on his inner thigh We live in southern AZ so I am very suspicious of snake or venomous insect bites The emergency vet is at least a*****& he doesn't seem to be in immediate danger
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 11 months ago.

It does sound like a snake bite or other envenomation. Where are you located? Are there rattlesnakes in your area? It sounds like the best thing to do is to take him to a vet and have him treated in hospital. The fever requires IV fluids and the swelling would benefit from pain medication. It is likely too late for antivenom at this time but he needs care for sure. Steroids are contraindicated in snake bites having not been shown to be of benefit and even with some studies suggesting that dogs do worse with them. Because the mechanism of action of snake venom is to degrade proteins and cause local and systemic tissue damage, he should be evaluated by a veterinarian. A common sequelae of rattlesnake envenomation is coagulopathy secondary to breakdown of clotting factors in the blood and this requires a plasma transfusion and can lead to life threatening blood loss.

Because of the amount of swelling that you describe I am concerned that necrosis will develop and this will set him up for a massive bacterial infection so antibiotics are warranted as well.

I think that the sound of his condition warrants a drive to the emergency clinic tonight however, it if you are unable to unwilling to take him in tonight, he should be seen first thing in the morning at your local vet.

Does this address your concern with Stuart tonight?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have not seen scorpion centipede or spider bite reactions in dogs We have 2 varieties or rattlesnakes here in my area the Mohave & diamondback. I know the symptoms of snakebites & I know Stuart would be dead if this was indeed a bite from these snakes. My question is what would be the reaction or symptoms from an insect in my area or a dry bite?
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 11 months ago.

In my experience living and practicing in southern California with the same species that you have there, dogs appear to be relatively immune to rattlesnake bites initially but can succumb to this in 3-5 days or longer. We had about a 90% survival rate for dogs that were given antivenin and slightly less for dogs that were not but those that were treated supportively. Those that received neither antivenin nor plasma for coagulopathy had about a 70% survival rate. This sounds very typical of a rattlesnake envenomation.

Scorpion stings tend to cause little local tissue reaction but can result in neurological signs and a cough. This does not sound like a typical scorpion sting.

A spider bite on the other hand can cause local reaction but the bite of a black widow tends to cause more neurotic effects than spreading local inflammation and swelling and the bite of a brown recluse can cause dermal necrosis over time but not usually immediately.