Rattlesnake Season Begins


| 3/24/2014 8:30:00 AM


Tags: Rattlesnake, Safety, Venom, Bites, Vaccination, Renee-Lucie Benoit,

Renee-Lucie BenoitRattlesnakes live all over our fair country. Since it’s our preference to live on farms or ranches, we have to adjust to the fact that we have to deal with poisonous snakes more than city people do. It’s the price we pay for getting to live a pastoral existence. A couple days ago our dog was bitten. He’s the kind of farm dog that minds his own business and is best at chasing squirrels and performing as a watch dog. On Thursday he limped in with a front paw twice the normal size with no visible blood. I immediately suspected snake bite even though it’s still early in the season.

The vet said it could be a bee sting but we thought it best to take him in and when the leg was shaved there was the tell-tale “vampire” bite.

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We vaccinate our dogs against bites. We knew that if they ever get bitten the vaccine buys us time to get them to a vet. How bad the bite is depends on whether or not the dog has been vaccinated, the size of the snake (larger is worse than smaller), how many bites the animal gets (many are obviously worse than one), where the snake bites the animal (on an extremity is better than on the face or nose) and how big the animal is (bigger animals fare better than smaller ones). The worst bite then would be many bites on the face and nose of a small animal by a big snake. The big snake is probably thinking “food” when it’s a small animal but "back-off" if it’s a big animal.

Our dog was vaccinated, was bitten once on the foot and is medium size. From the size of the bite it seems it was a medium size snake. The vet gave our dog a concoction of steroids, antihistamine and penicillin. Three days later he’s doing well and getting around just fine. What a trouper! Now he's confined to the fenced in back yard until after snake season ends. Small price to pay.

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