A dog was “unrecognisable” after a bite from a venomous spider caused swelling which completely covered her eye.
Black Labrador Bonnie was left in searing pain when a spider – thought to be a false widow or similar – sank its fangs into her face while she was out on a walk.
The 15-month-old pup was rushed for emergency treatment in Gateshead after her eye became so swollen it closed shut.
Owners Lisa and Nick Bennett, who were visiting family, were terrified that Bonnie’s throat and windpipe might close up from the reaction.
They searched online for urgent animal treatment and found Vets Now emergency clinic in Gateshead – where they took the increasingly distressed pooch, Chronicle Live reports.
Bonnie also experienced vomiting and diarrhoea on her way.
Attendant vet Konrad ran tests and concluded Bonnie had been bitten by a spider, and hooked her up to a drip.
The bite happened five days previously while the couple were walking their pet near Redditch in Worcestershire.
Konrad gave Bonnie an injection, put her under observation, and waited for the swelling to go down.
Bonnie’s condition improved quickly after the treatment and she was soon well enough to be reunited with her relieved family.
Lisa said: “It was a terrible shock to see her face swell up and it happened so quickly.
“Being so far from home made it even worse — you just feel so vulnerable when your pet is in distress.
“Bonnie is a very intelligent dog and she was clearly aware that something was wrong.
“She kept trying to use her paw to wipe and scratch away the swelling, which made it more upsetting to see.
“We assumed it was a reaction to something she’d eaten or possibly a snake bite, but it never occurred to us she’d been bitten by a spider.
“Konrad and the team at Vets Now said it can be several days before a spider bite starts affecting a dog — and that’s when we realised.
“Five days before all this drama happened, we’d been walking Bonnie and our other black lab Benson near our house when she gave a yelp and came limping back to us.
“We checked her over, couldn’t see anything untoward and just assumed she’d maybe stood on a thorn.
“Then she went off again and seemed totally fine.
“But what we know now is that the yelp was almost certainly a sign she’d been bitten.”
Senior vet nurse Ashley Wemple said it’s very rare for pets to be bitten by spiders.
She added: “This is not the type of case we see every day. But if your dog gets bitten by an insect or even a snake, it can be difficult to see any evidence because the bite is often covered by their fur.
“Symptoms can include swelling, itchiness and irritation of the skin and, in severe cases, an allergic reaction.
“It can take hours — or, as in Bonnie’s case, days — for this to happen.
“But if there is a bad reaction or swelling then time really is of the essence, and you should seek help straight away.
“Nick and Lisa did the right thing calling us when they did — if they had delayed, the consequences could have been very serious.
“Bonnie was such a friendly and good-natured dog. We were all delighted to see her go back to Lisa and Nick after treatment with her tail wagging.”
After three days there was no longer any trace of swelling on Bonnie’s face – and she made a full recovery.
Lisa said: “The service we got was brilliant from the moment we rang — and Konrad and his colleagues were so incredibly kind and patient, not just with Bonnie but with us as well.
“We’re really grateful to them for looking after her, and us, so well.”