Doubts raised over 'white-tail spider bite' amputation

Arachnologists have poured cold water on claims a Filipino man had to have his legs amputated after suffering a bite from a white-tail spider in Western Victoria.

Terry Pareja was visiting family in Birchip when he was bitten, but it wasn't until his leg started to swell 24 hours later that he realised something was wrong, according to a statement by the family.

In the small town of 663 people there was no doctor available, so Mr Pareja didn't seek help until the following Monday. By that time, flesh-eating bacteria had taken hold.

His legs were amputated and he could lose his arms as well, according to the family.

"Now my dad is in ICU having two of his kidneys not working and is aided by kidney support, he has support for his blood pressure as well," his daughter Jeffmarey Pareja wrote.

"We do not have much and we are not rich. I am knocking on your hearts to help my dad's medication and hospital bills."

But there are doubts he was bitten by a white-tail as claimed.

A study published in 2003 tested 130 cases of confirmed white-tail spider bites, none of which resulted in necrotic lesions.

"It's all about people wanting to be able to label what they have - much better that a spider did this, rather than 'we are not sure'," Geoff Isbister, the study's author, told AAP on Wednesday.

Mr Pareja's family says a doctor told them he was bitten by a white-tail.

He's expected to need hospital care for the next 12 to 18 months, Ms Pareja said.