A Warning About Snakebites! by Dr. Cindi Welch

Normally snakes stay out of our way – the dislike that humans hold for snakes is pretty much mutual. Twice a year we see a rise in venomous snakebites – in the spring and in the fall. As the weather starts to cool down, snakes look for a place to overwinter, and slither up to houses and yards and surprise pets whose normal biggest worry in life is where their next treat is coming from. Two out of the three times I have seen rattlesnakes on my own property have been in my garage and on my back porch during the fall.

If your pet is bitten, SEEK VETERINARY TREATMENT IMMEDIATELY! There seems to be misinformation out there that dogs don’t need treatment to survive a snakebite. Sure, many dogs have survived snakebites without treatment, but there is no need to take this risk with your pet. Venomous snakebites can be fatal, depending on the amount of venom injected, size of pet, and other factors.

Though there are many treatments that support a pet recovering from snakebite, the only definitive treatment is ANTIVENIN. The type of antivenin we have at I-20 Animal Medical Center can be used for copperhead and rattlesnake bites. The quicker antivenin can be administered, the better the chances of survival and the quicker the pet’s recovery. If you live in an area that has venomous snakes – in other words the entire state of Texas –be prepared, know your way to the nearest emergency hospital, and make sure the hospital you take your pet to carries antivenin.