When Farli Met the Spider

PZ Myers linked to a tale of brown recluse spiders. We have a spider story of our own to tell.

Back in 1999, we were living in San Diego, California. Diane had some agility equipment set up in the backyard so that she could practice with Farli, our Vizsla, who was then six years old. After Farli went through a tunnel obstacle, Diane noticed that Farli’s face was swelling up. Here’s a picture from a couple of days into Farli’s ordeal:

BlackwoodsLindenFarli dw056 cpp

(Picture is a frame-grab of a videotape.)

The spot ventral of the right ear is the bite site. As you can see the swelling has spread quite a bit. Much of the skin around the bite site necrotized. A veterinary surgeon used the normally loose skin a Vizsla has in the throat area to fill in the missing skin. Farli lost her right salivary gland to that bite, too. Farli ended up having two surgeries, since the stitches put in during the first surgery were lost in spreading necrosis.

Just to put you at ease, here is Farli in a picture taken in the last couple of months:

WRE 2383 ws

Farli has so far survived the spider bite, a broken foot, a rattlesnake bite, and a burrowing foxtail seed, plus having a tumor removed twice.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

4 thoughts on “When Farli Met the Spider

  • 2007/05/27 at 6:54 pm
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    Poor Farli– With her record of bad luck, I hope she isn’t on Managed Card!

    Also, would you please explain “burrowing foxtail seed”?

  • 2007/05/27 at 10:25 pm
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    Here’s a page that discusses the danger posed by foxtail seeds. These are grass seeds that have a surface covered in barbs, such that the seed will work itself into flesh. As the page notes, this is a western USA danger for dogs.

    I tend to think of Farli as basically lucky — she has had bad things happen, but has so far recovered from them. We’re hoping that Ritka’s bad turn at the end of summer last year (heat stroke inducing DIC) will be plenty enough for one dog.

  • 2007/05/28 at 2:31 pm
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    Yikes. That’s a hard story. I’m glad Farli’s managed to make it through everything; seems like her adventures might be enough to make most dogs (and people!) want to retire by a nice, warm fire for the next umpteen years.

  • 2007/05/29 at 7:35 pm
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    oops– I meant “managed care” not “managed card” but I guess you realized that.

    One of my 3 dogs is a bird dog mix and he is one wild and crazy guy!

    Thanks for the link– I’ll read up foxtail seeds.

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