Q: Our indoor-outdoor cats are fascinated by the spiders and spider webs round our home. I’m involved that a few of the black, shiny spiders could also be black widows. Are black widow spiders harmful to cats?
A: Cats are particularly delicate to the toxin of the black widow spider, essentially the most venomous spider in North America.
About an inch lengthy, the black widow spider is shiny black or brown with a crimson or orange hourglass-shaped mark on the underside of its stomach.
Black widows dwell in and round homes all through the U.S. (besides Alaska) and southern Canada, the place they spin funnel-shaped webs.
The black widow was named as a result of the feminine kills and devours the male after mating, leaving her a “widow.”
The black widow’s venom is stronger than rattlesnake venom, although solely females can envenomate mammals. Whereas these spiders have venom glands, venom is definitely current all through the spider’s physique and even in her eggs.
The feminine black widow’s fangs are lengthy sufficient to penetrate animal and human pores and skin. As well as, cats usually toy with after which eat these spiders.
So, cats are harmed via bites and by ingesting the spiders.
Fortuitously, black widows will not be aggressive. They chew solely when provoked or when their webs are disturbed.
After they do chew, black widows inject a potent neurotoxin that’s notably harmful to cats. Scientific indicators start inside a couple of hours, peak at 24 hours, and persist for days to weeks.
Scientific indicators embrace ache on the web site of the chew with out a lot pores and skin injury, a inflexible stomach with out stomach ache, restlessness, tremors, seizures, weak point, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis and respiratory collapse.
Crucial a part of remedy is antivenom, which can be given as much as 24 hours after the chew and is quickly efficient. Intensive hospital care can be required.
With out remedy, these bites are sometimes deadly. In a single research, 20 of twenty-two cats died, on common 4.8 days after envenomation.
Please hold your cats away from all black widows and their webs so the spiders can accomplish their mission of catching bugs and your cats can stay protected.
Q: Boomer, my Lab combine, has arthritis and pores and skin allergy symptoms. A buddy urged giving him flaxseed or flaxseed oil as a result of it’s a good supply of the omega-3 fatty acids that may assist each issues. Is flaxseed protected for canine?
A: Sure, it’s protected, however it’s not efficient in canine.
Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans and walnuts comprise alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which people convert into two helpful omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA.
Nevertheless, the metabolism of canine — and cats, for that matter — is completely different. They will’t convert ALA into EPA or DHA.
Subsequently, Boomer wants precise EPA and DHA, which is current in fish, krill and algal oils.
EPA and DHA are efficient within the administration of pets’ osteoarthritis, additionally referred to as degenerative joint illness, in addition to their allergy symptoms, kidney illness, coronary heart illness and most cancers.
I like to recommend you get Boomer’s fish oil from his veterinarian. Alternatively, you could buy an omega-3 fatty acid complement marketed for people, so long as the ingredient checklist consists of EPA and DHA.