As warm temperatures arrive this spring, my office has already started to treated rattlesnake bites. Suspected rattlesnake bites are a true emergency and the sooner veterinary care is started, the better chance your pet has of recovery.
Diagnosis of a rattlesnake bite can often be challenging because they can appear similar to other bites and stings or allergic reactions. Rattlesnake bites often cause extreme swelling, pain and bleeding at the site of the bite. If a bite is suspected, further recommendations will be made, including blood work, sedation and pain control, and clipping and cleaning the area in question.
Intensive treatment is usually started once a bite is confirmed or strongly suspected. Hospitalization on IV fluids and medications may be started. The only way to neutralize the venom of the snake and halt the effects is to administer anti-venin through an intra-venous injection. Close monitoring is needed during and after this injection and it may be recommended that your pet be transferred to a 24-hour facility for overnight care.
There are several actions you can take to help prevent snake bites to your pet. Always accompany your pet outside, keep shrubbery and bushes trimmed back to eliminate places for snakes to hide, and restrict your pet from roaming unleashed in washes and parks. Rattlesnake training with a knowledgeable trainer can also be helpful in teaching your dog the sound and smells of rattlesnakes and to keep away.
If you would like more information on rattlesnake bites, call Valley Verde Veterinarians for an appointment at 520-393-7398.