WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT THAT YOU OR YOUR DOG IS BITTEN BY A SNAKE


When I was bitten on the nose just recently by a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake my symptoms werent the norm. For a number of reasons we believe that I was lucky. I was bitten on top of my nose, just behind the fleshy part, for this reason we believe that the fangs of the snake just glanced off me. We also believe that because of this very little venom was injected. AND I was already on antibiotics for a previous problem. All these things combined are the reasons that other than swelling I didnt have any of the normal snake bite symptoms. Also, noone actually saw me get bit so there was some question about if I had truly been bitten or not (I was).

SWOLLENNORMAL

Since our encounter with the rattler we decided to find out all we could about snake bites incase it happens again. There's a strong possibility it will since Cat and I are always visiting ghost towns and mines in rattlesnake teritory. We've learned what to do and now we're trying to pass on the information that we've reserched to you. We hope this helps and arms you with the knowledge of what to do if you should encounter a rattlesnake during your exploring.

What to do when you encounter a rattlesnake:
First GET YOUR DOG VACCINATED! There is now a rattlesnake venom vaccine available for dogs! It cost only $25 per set of shots at our local vet and we feel its WELL worth the cost! Contact your vet about it today!

If you encounter a rattlesnake:
FREEZE when you hear the rattlesnake!
Find out where the snake is located and then look carefully to make sure there is only one snake
Slowly back away from the snake until you are no longer within striking distance (at least half the snakes length) and until the snake stops rattling at you
Do what you can to keep your dog from attacking the snake, but do not put yourself in danger
And whatever you do, DO NOT attempt to handle the snake!


What are the symptoms of a rattlesnake bite in dogs?
Many times the owners of dogs that get bitten by a rattlesnake are not there at the time of the bite. Signs that your pet has been bitten include:
puncture wounds (often bleeding)
immediate severe pain
swelling
dying or decaying tissue

The more severe signs may take up to several hours to appear and include:
hypotension and shock
lethargy and weakness
muscle tremors
and neurological signs including depressed respiration.

How are rattlesnake bites treated in dogs?
Animals suspected of being bitten by a rattlesnake should have immediate veterinary attention even if the bite occurred several hours earlier.
Animals suspected of being bitten should be hospitalized and monitored for at least eight hours. If you see your pet bitten by a rattlesnake, or suspect a bite has occurred, you should immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinarian. Suction kits to remove the venom can be tried but due to the large amount of hair present will likely have poor results. In addition, the use of such kits takes valuable time that would be better spent in travel. Decreasing the amount of activity and keeping the pet calm is beneficial. Applying tourniquets is of little benefit and they are often poorly applied and create more harm then good.

If you do not have access to immediate help:
Do what you can to keep your pet calm
Keep your pets activity to a minium, however, if nessesary your pet can walk on its own accord back to the car or your home if you are not able to carry him/her
If you have antibiotics administer them at your vets descretion (cell phones are wonderful things)
If your pet will not drink attempt to administer fluids
Give you pet Benedryl TM (a childs dose or less for smaller dogs, use your judgement on larger dogs), this will lower the swelling

WHAT TO DO IF A HUMAN IS BITTEN
Treatment of a rattlesnake bite to a human is different to that of a dog. First off, a rattlesnake bite to a human is always concidered more life threatening due to the thickness of human skin and other factors. Also, treatment of snake bites for humans varies by the type of snake. If you can, identify the snake type and pass this info on to the medical personel.

Symptoms of a Rattlesnake Bite in Humans:
One or two puncture marks
Pain, tingling or burning at the area of the bite
Swelling at the area of the bite
Bruising and discoloration at the site of the bite
Numbness
Nausea , weakness and lightheadedness
Difficulty breathing


First Aid for Snakebites in Humans:
According to the American Red Cross, these steps should be taken:
Wash the bite with clean water and soap.
Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart.
If the bite is on the hand or arm remove any rings, watches or tight clothing.
Get medical help immediately.

Some bites occur in isolated situations where the victim may be a long distance from medical help. Some medical professionals, along with the American Red Cross, cautiously recommend two other measures:
If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.
A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.

How NOT to Treat a Snakebite in Humans:
Snakebite first aid methods are not always agreed upon by U.S. medical professionals, but they are nearly unanimous in their views of what NOT to do.
NO ice or any other type of cooling on the bite. Research has shown this to be potentially harmful.
NO tourniquets. This cuts blood flow completely and may result in loss of the affected limb.
NO electric shock. This method is under study and has yet to be proven effective. It could harm the victim.
NO incisions in the wound. Such measures have not been proven useful and may cause further injury.

The procedure for treatment of venomous snakebites is often controversial, even within the medical profession. In all cases contact medical help immediately if treatment is needed.

Cat and I are not doctors or medical experts. All the information compiled on this page was taken from other Rattlesnake bite webpages and canine information pages. For more info from the experts please visit these sites:

THE SNAKEBITE EMERGENCY WEBPAGE

FOR GOODNESS SNAKES: TREATING AND PROVENTING VENOMOUS BITES

TREATING SNAKE BITES IN DOGS

TREATING BITES AND STINGS IN DOGS

DOG INFO - POISONOUS SNAKE BITES

A DISCUSSION OF TRADITIONAL SNAKE BITE TREATMENT

SNAKE BITE TREATMENT WITH VITAMIN C

RATTLESNAKES IN THE LEAVES


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