Use common sense to avoid rattlesnakes bites on your pets

Every year between April and October veterinarians see an influx of rattlesnake bites in Southern California.

Source of this article: The Thousand Oaks Acorn, April 11, 2013

The western diamondback is the most common rattlesnake seen locally. The snake thrives during the heat of the spring and summer months, when pet owners spend more time walking dogs on trails and letting them play outdoors. A dog’s natural curiosity can result in its being bitten, with potentially life-threatening consequences.

A good way to avoid rattlesnakes is by staying off the trails in the late afternoon and at dusk, when the snakes become more active.

During the warm early afternoons, most snakes are basking and are more visible on the trails. Keep backyard brush cut back and maintained regularly to keep snakes from frequenting these areas of your yard.

When a dog is bitten by a snake, the most commonly affected areas are the nose, muzzle and paws. Extreme swelling, bruising, pain and puncture wounds may indicate that a snake has injected venom into your pet.

If that happens, it’s vital to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Care required may include treatment for shock, neutralizing the venom, addressing blood clotting problems and treating secondary infections.

Many veterinary hospitals recommend the rattlesnake vaccine, which can help dogs develop antibodies to neutralize the venom. It’s thought that dogs given the rattlesnake vaccine experience less skin swelling and tissue damage from the bite wounds.

The vaccine may decrease the amount of antivenin needed and allow more time to get your dog to the hospital.

Even with the rattlesnake vaccine on board, immediate veterinary care and treatment are essential for surviving the bite.

Enjoy some quality outdoor time with your pet and stay away from those rattlers.

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