Can a centiped bite kill a large-breed dog?
July 2, 2005 1:06 AM   Subscribe

ScaryBugFilter- Can a centipede bite kill a large-breed dog? Earlier tonight as I was putting my old English sheepdog to bed in the garage, I saw a centipede scurrying away across the floor. Max weighs roughly 95 pounds - should I be worried? Any web resources on dangerous insect bites and dogs will be greatly appreciated (i.e. symptoms, what to do if I can't get to a vet right away, etc.) I know, my dog hasn't actually been bitten yet, but I'm the paranoid type and the sight of that bug was enough to freak me out. A big thank you to everyone in advance.
posted by invisible ink to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
From Centipedes and Millipedes, an article published by Clemson University's Home and Garden Information Center:
Bites of centipedes found in the United States are not toxic enough to be deadly to adults or children. In fact, the jaws of smaller centipedes are too weak to penetrate human skin. A centipede bite is comparable to a wasp sting in its severity. Although somewhat painful, the bites are generally harmless unless one is allergic to insect venoms.
IANAV, but it would seem to me that if they're not toxic to children, that should cover a 95 pound dog, too.
posted by bcwinters at 4:08 AM on July 2, 2005

How big was the centipede, invisible ink? I see from your profile page that you're in LA, and I don't know about the west coast, but in the deserts and mountains in the southwest you can get massive centipedes-- a good eight or ten inches long-- and they can kill a person.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:27 AM on July 2, 2005

Can you provide a resource to back up that claim, Faint? I've seen some of those big 'pedes, and I wonder if they really are potentially fatal.
posted by Doohickie at 9:32 AM on July 2, 2005

There are giant flying vampire centipedes in Northern New Jersey that grow several feet long and can suck a grown man of all his blood leaving only a dry husk behind. You aren't in New Jersey are you?

The largest centipede in North America, Scolopendra heros, grows to about 6" long and does not have a fatal bite.

Your dog is safe. You are safe. There are no centipedes anywhere that can inflict a fatal bite on anything that weighs 95 lbs. There have been reports of small children dying from centipede bites of (truly) giant tropical species but none have been proven and all are likely apocryphal.
posted by TimeFactor at 11:35 AM on July 2, 2005

No fatality due to a centipede sting has ever been reported in the United States, although 1 fatality was reported following a sting by a large specimen... to the head of a small Filipino child.


The lethal dose for all subjects... in juvenile mice was found to be 0.01 venom glands per gram body weight, which might account for the lack of human lethality (extrapolating to humans, the contents of almost 1000 venom glands would be required for a fatal sting in an average adult).

Source: Centipede Envenomation

A single centipede bite would not kill a dog of that size.

That said, a friend here in Japan described a centipede bite as the single most painful thing he had ever experienced.

If there is a chance of Max being bitten, you really should get him out of there until you have taken care of the centipede(s).

On Preview: What TimeFactor said...
posted by cup at 11:57 AM on July 2, 2005

I've heard the same thing.... that centipede bites hurt like the dickens, but are not lethal.
posted by Doohickie at 8:12 PM on July 5, 2005

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