Impulse Gamer Interviews Dr Katrina Warren - -

Impulse Gamer Interviews Katrina Warren

With The Amazing Spider-man being released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on the 31st of October, Impulse Gamer caught up with Australia's favourite vet, Dr. Katrina Warren to talk about spiders, the movie and pets!

About The Amazing Spider-Man: Teenage social outcast Peter (Andrew Garfield) spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and win the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). A mysterious briefcase belonging to his father, who abandoned him when he was a child, leads Peter to his dad's former partner, Dr. Connors. The discovery of his father's secret will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming "Spider-Man" and bring him face to face with Connors' villainous alter ego, the Lizard.

Welcome to Impulse Gamer Katrina... How did you become involved in the Amazing Spider-man release?

I was approached by the PR team working for The Amazing Spider-Man release in Australia and because of my veterinarian background. Also, the fact that weíre coming into summer and that Spider-Man was bitten by a spider led him to getting superpowers but this is not what happens in real life. We wanted to send the message to people that spiders are out and about now and you have to be aware of them to keep safe.

What was your favourite part of the movie?

My favourite part of the film is when Peter Parker begins to morph into Spider-Man due to the spider bite. Seeing him morph into Spider-Man is what makes the film.

Although spiders don't give people superpowers, what are Australia's most dangerous spiders?

The two most dangerous and famous spiders are the funnel web spider and the Red Back. The white tail spider comes in after these but there is a lot of controversy about this spider. The funnel web has been responsible for 13 deaths but since the anti-venom was brought out in the 80ís, there have been no recent deaths.

Is it true that daddy Long-legs spiders (aka Pholcidae) are one of the most venomous spiders in Australia?

It is a bit of a myth that daddy long legs are venomous, they have such a small amount of venom that it wouldn't really hurt a human.  In fact their fangs are so small that they can't even get through the epidermis.

Daddy long legs are actually good to keep around the house as they have been known to eat the more dangerous Red Back spider.

Interestingly enough spider venom effects different creatures differently. The funnel web spider affects humans, primates and insects. It doesnít have the same effect on other animals which is really interesting. Different venoms react differently with different species.

In your Tips & Facts for Spider Dangers, you've mentioned what humans should do if bitten... what about dogs?

Generally, spider venom is not as serious for dogs and cats but it can effect them and should still be taken seriously. The problem is when a dog or cat is bitten around the mouth or throat area, it can cause serious swelling, whether from a spider or bee.

The best thing to do is prevention such as clearing out rubbish from under your deck to prevent red backs and to be really conscience that spiders may live in these areas. In relation to pets, if you can get a picture of the spider on your iPhone that may have bitten your pet, it helps the vet identify the cause. Red backs seem to cause more problems for pets than funnel webs as they like to live in similar environments such as humans.

What are some of your tips to keep Spiders out of the house?

If you have a lot of spiders that come into the house, you can use those door blockers if lots of spiders come under the doors. Keeping all your awnings and back decks clean and clear of spiders and getting rid of rubbish like timber where red backs like live also helps. You should be aware that funnel webs love moisture and like living under logs and rocks in backyards. The male funnel web which are more venomous than females and when they are looking for a mate can be a problem. Since they donít like daylight because they dry out, they are more likely to climb into your shoes to stay out of the light. So if you leave your shoes outside, make sure you check them in the mornings.

How do spiders stay alive in swimming pools for so long?

They can stay alive for up to 30 hours in a swimming pool and they trap air with them. Eventually they will die but they canít swim or jump once in the water. Interestingly enough funnel webs canít jump. It's only just a rumour but some people have said they can jump quite far.I would hate to see them jump if they could.

Where are funnel webs located in Australia?

They are Australia wide and there are 40 species of funnel webs that are found in all states but Western Australia. A couple of states also have funnel webs that live in trees.

Are funnel webs that are found in Victoria or South Australia also venomous?

As far as I know, they are all venomous but the Sydney funnel web is known for being super deadly.

Off the topic of spiders, what is your favourite animal and why?

For me, I canít go past a dog as my favourite animal just because they make great companions. It would also be a border collie because I had my border collie for 14 years and he was human-like in his thought process and was the most amazing companion. "Besides, theyíre always happy to see you and never talk back <laughs Katrina>. Thereís never a bad day with a dog and they always make you smile.

How is Riley, the Golden Retriever you rescued and adopted doing now?

Heís sleeping right beside me now and heís amazing. His spirit to love and trust humans again after being treated so badly is outstanding. Heís a beautiful dog and Iím very glad I found another beautiful dog. He is also a very different experience as a rescue, whereas I raised Toby from a puppy who I also worked and travelled with. They are both beautiful and I canít imagine life without a dog.

Were there any issues with your cat Mr Fox and Riley meeting for the first time?

Because I had the cat first, I thought he would not like Riley initially but within an hour, he was following the dog around everywhere. Heís the most amazing cat and he's a Maine Coot. Theyíre really big and hairy. Heís a high personality cat so no issues at all, theyíre great mates.

Weíve noticed that some dogs seem to dislike certain people, what do you think triggers this?

Itís often an experience that they had as a puppy such as not being socialised to that kind of person who looks in that manner, walks in that manner or smells in that manner. So, the more you can socialise when their up to six months of age, the better. The idea is for your dog to come into contact with as many different people as possible.

What about dogs that chase birds? We have a naughty 3-year old heeler cross called Ruby who love barking at anything that gets in her air space.

Unfortunately it becomes a habit, the bird flies in, the dog barks, chases it and the bird flies away. Then the dog goes, this was really fun and it worked. It can become really difficult to address with older dogs but the idea is to nip it in the bud when they're puppies. For example, I was in Centennial Park once and Toby was 5 months old and he saw birds and chased them. It was terrifying as he ran across roads but for the next 2 weeks, I sat in Centennial Park with treats and every time the birds went past, I made him watch me and every time he ignored the birds, he was rewarded. Thatís the kind of thing you need to do. You need to sit there, birds come and reward her for watching you but the reality is, your not home during the day which makes it hard to control.

We loved your book Wonderdogs with Kelly Gill, do you have any more books planned?

I did a cat one many years ago, including a pet name one but that is the main one at the moment.

As a vet, what was your biggest challenge?

Euthanasia without a doubt. When itís time to end someoneís pets life. Itís the most heart-wrenching thing that you could do and itís the reason I didnít stay working in a Veterinary Practice because I couldnít handle it. The first three cases when I graduated from uni in a row were Euthanasia's and it was heart breaking. Thatís the hardest part of it and I understand how much those pets were part of someoneís life.

Was that one of the reasons why you started a memorable websites for pets (

Totally! When Toby passed away, I had an outpouring of support from the Australian community which lead me to starting up my facebook page ( The more I researched it, there was very little pet support sites or references for vets to send people who have lost pets. There was nowhere for them to say, this thing is going to happen to you or where very sorry about your pet, hereís some helpÖ there was nothing. So I ended up setting up Our Wonderful Pets which is a very sad topic but itís very nice to be able to help people who have lost a pet and have some comfort.

When a person passes away, people gather around and they understand thereís grief which leads to a funeral and a purpose. Itís a sense of closure. But when your pet dies, you donít get that. Then you get some people who understand but others saying have you replaced Toby yet? I still get that today. Iím like, I canít replace him, Iíll never replace him and some people donít understand. Itís a lonely journey when a pet dies, especially for people who live on their own. That pet is there family which can be devastating for them. And then we get more pets and go through it all again!

It is a great resource though.... Besides your radio show, websites and books, what other things are you up to?

I just seem to be super busy and I do a lot of work with the Wonderdogs with public appearances and events. We talk about pets and educating families. And life in general keeps me busy.

Thanks for your time Katrina and enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man again but before we go... any last words of wisdom for dog lovers?

Just be aware of the commitment of a dog and remember that a dog can live up to 18 years and when you embark on that journey with a puppy, itís going to be a long process. There are some people that get puppies but donít know whatís involved.

Thanks for the interview!

  • Most dangerous spiders:
    • Funnel-Web spiders and Red Back spiders.
  • Most poisonous spiders:
    • The Funnel-Web and Red Back spiders are the most poisonous spiders.
    • There have been 13 deaths caused by Sydney Funnel-web bites.
    • Red Back spiders can cause serious illness and have caused deaths in the past.
    • There is now anti-venom available for both spiders, to prevent death, which can be given if quicklyrushed to hospital.
  • Where are these spiders most likely found:
    • Funnel-Web spiders are found at the bottom of swimming pools and can survive under water for 24-30 hours. They are also found in backyards and bush land areas.
    • Red Back spiders are found around Aussie homes as we like the same kind of environments. They build their webs on hard surfaces like rocks, concrete, bricks and event toilets.
  • Number of spider bites per year:
    • More than 250 cases of Red Back spider bites are reported each year.
    • 30-40 people are bitten by the Sydney Funnel-Web spider each year.


  • Most spider bites, including the Funnel-Web spider will require a pressure/immobilisation method of first aid which involves applying pressure to the bite to delay the absorption of the venom.
  • Red Back Spiders require an ice pack to be applied to the bitten area to relieve pain. Do not apply a pressure bandage (venom movement is slow and pressure worsens pain).
  • Take a picture of the spider so it can be easily identified and quickly rush to hospital to obtain the anti-venom.


  • Be cautious when gardening and wear gloves.
  • Never put your hands where they cannot be seen.
  • If boots or shoes are left outdoors makes sure you shake them before putting them on, as spiders oftenmake dark burrows their home.
  • Make sure the bottom of the swimming pool is clear before jumping in.

Keeping these spider danger tips top of mind will ensure that you and your family can enjoy the sunshine without any unexpected surprises. However, if you want to see how AMAZING some spiders can be, just in time for Halloween, grab a copy of The Amazing Spider-man on 3D, Blu-ray or DVD from 31stOctober 2012.



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