Summer is winding down, fall is approaching and just as the warm days and cooler nights are ideal for people to be out and about, so too are the rattlesnakes who are busy looking for the perfect spot to bed down for their winter’s nap. Sooner or later there are bound to be inter-species encounters and when it comes to rattlesnakes biting pets, the victim is usually a curious dog. Cats can get bitten too but seem to be more wary (cat lovers would say “smarter”) around snakes. Rattlesnake bites can take a heavy toll on a pet’s health as well as an owner’s wallet. The venom destroys tissue and affects the nervous system. It can even result in death. And antivenin doesn’t come cheap and a bitten animal may need more than one vial.
The best treatment is prevention. Don’t let pets and snakes meet. Check your yard, even if it is walled, for snakes. Supervise your dog on walks; don’t let your pet run on ahead of you where he might “sniff out” a snake hiding in a crevice or under a rock. If your pet does get bitten, it is a medical emergency so go to a veterinarian as soon as possible. There is no first aid for snakebites.
And know your snakes- not everything slithering by is a rattler. Snakes are very beneficial in keeping the rodent population in check.
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