Tag

snake bite

dog with swollen mouth

Snakes Got You Rattled?

By | Client Education

Did you know that out of the 15 species of rattlesnakes native to the United States 11 can be found in Arizona, more than any other state in the country? Some people can spend their entire lives here and never see even one, others swear they practically trip over rattlesnakes everywhere they go. During the summer, snakes, like people and pets, avoid the blistering heat of midday, and are more active in the early morning or early evening, so it’s wise to be vigilant at those times.

Rattlesnake bites usually involve dogs. Often, the bite occurs on the face, as the dog is inquisitive about, or aggressive towards, the snake. It is not uncommon for the dog to lose an eye. Snakebites can take a heavy toll not just on a pet’s health but also an owner’s wallet. Antivenin is very expensive and sometimes a bitten animal needs more than one vial.

A rattlesnake vaccine is now available, and like a tetanus shot, acts as a preventative, building up antibodies prior to an attack. After an exam to make sure the pet is healthy, the vaccine is administered by injection in two doses, one month apart. Booster shots are scheduled depending on the area’s “rattlesnake season.” Because antivenin is so costly and can have adverse effects, the vaccine is becoming a popular option for pet owners.

If a vaccinated pet is bitten, antivenin may still be recommended because there is no way of judging the amount or potency of the venom received, or how many antibodies have had a chance to build up. What the vaccine does best is give the pet a fighting chance that the snakebite won’t be fatal.

But the best treatment is prevention. Check your yard for snakes. If you and your dog are out walking, don’t let your pet run ahead of you where he might “sniff out” a snake hiding in a crevice or under a rock. If your pet does get bitten, seek out medical help as soon as possible. A snakebite is always a medical emergency. While some dogs are fearful of snakes and will back off, others just can’t stay away from that rattler. For those dogs who are “repeat offenders” there are “snake-proofing” classes that can be effective in training curious canines to keep their distance. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth an ounce of antivenin.


For more information on rattlesnake vaccine, antivenin and snakeproofing classes for dogs call Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic, 480-987-4555.

beagle puppy laying in gravol

Avoiding Rattlesnakes

By | Uncategorized
  • Rattlesnakes are out and about when you and your pet are – early mornings, late afternoons, and early evenings.
  • Don’t let dogs get ahead on walks and explore places where snakes can hide.
  • If your pet is bitten, get to a vet right away.
  • Rattlesnake antivenin is very expensive so prevention is preferred.
  • If your dog can’t stay away from snakes consider the rattlesnake vaccine or snake-proofing your pet through a variety of snake-avoidance techniques.

If you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.


And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is . . . October!

beagle puppy laying in gravol

Desert Dangers

By | Client Education

In addition to all the usual trouble pets can get into, Arizona summers bring a host of unique situations that can make life dangerous for our furry, four footed friends.

During the warm weather pets can:

Have a Run-in with a Rattlesnake

  • During the summer, rattlesnakes are out and about when you and your pet are. Prime times are early mornings, late afternoons, and early evenings.
  • Don’t let dogs get ahead on walks and explore places where snakes can hide.
  • If your pet is bitten, get to a veterinarian right away.
  • A vial of rattlesnake antivenin is very expensive so prevention is preferred.
  • If your dog can’t stay away from snakes consider the rattlesnake vaccine or snake-proofing your pet through a variety of snake-avoidance techniques.

Tangle with a Toad

  • The large toads you see during monsoon season are Sonoran Desert toads. They excrete a substance through a gland behind the eye that acts as a neurotoxin.
  • Dogs that put these toads in their mouths can exhibit neurological symptoms including difficulty walking, seizures and paralysis.
  • Teach your dog to avoid toads.
  • If he has gotten hold of one, flush his mouth out with a garden hose. Aim the spray sideways to wash the toxin out of the mouth, not down the throat.
  • Most dogs do recover but the toxin can be life threatening.
  • If the condition worsens, see a veterinarian.
  • A toad sitting in a dog’s water bowl can also make the dog ill, so keep bowls clean.

Scuffle with a Scorpion or Spider.

  • Scorpion stings or spider bites may cause a swelling at the site and some distress.
  • They usually require no special medical attention.
  • Watch pets for the first few hours in case they exhibit a bad reaction.
  • Sometimes Benadryl is helpful in reducing symptoms. Use one milligram per one pound of pet as a guideline for dosage.

Get Into Cool Pools and Hot Spots

  • Do you have a pool . . . and a pet? Many pets love the water but even good swimmers may be bad at finding their way out so teach them where the steps are.
  • Dogs love to go for rides in the car but with this heat, if you can’t take the pet into the store with you, leave him at home.
  • Never, ever leave pets in the car, not even with the windows open.
  • Even your own yard and neighborhood has dangers.
  • Many pets get cactus spines stuck on their muzzles and elsewhere. Extracting them can be a lengthy, painful process so teach your pet to avoid them.
  • Adjust your pet’s exercise routine just as you adjust yours.
  • Walk your dog very early in the morning or at sunset or later.
  • Remember, hot pavement hurts their paws just as it would your bare feet.

If you leave your pet outside, which is not recommended, make sure the animal has a shaded area as well as plenty of water in a dish that will not tip over easily leaving him with nothing to drink on a hot day.

And remember the best cure for the Summertime Blues is . . . October!

Sidewinder rattlesnake from San Tan Valley Area

Who’s Your Favorite Snake?

By | Client Education, News/ Events

These 6 contestants were collected in the San Tan Valley and Superstition Mountain area.

In honor of World Snake Day, vote for your favorite on our Facebook page.

A. “Go-fer Broke” Gopher Snake

Tan and brown blotched snake.

The Gopher Snake (also called a Bull Snake) is not venomous, but is often confused with a rattlesnake.

-Large and heavy-bodied, the gopher snake typically reaches 4 feet in length

-Because of its similar body markings and behavior when threatened (hissing, tail shaking and strike –posturing) it is frequently mistaken for a rattlesnake

-But a tapered tail, the absence of a rattle, the lack of a facial pit, and the round pupils all distinguish the gopher snake from the rattlesnake.

-A good climber, the gopher snake is active mainly during the day, except in extreme heat.

-.A constrictor, its prey is mostly mammals, although birds and their eggs are also eaten.

B. “Diamond Dave” Diamondback

Diamondback Rattlesnake, coiled and ready strike.

Diamondback Rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike. Most commonly encountered rattlesnake in San Tan Valley.

-The Western diamondback rattlesnake ranging from 3-5 feet long, is a heavy-bodied snake with a triangular shaped head and two dark diagonal lines on each side of its face running from the eyes to its jaws.

-Its venom is actually a toxic saliva: a mixture of enzymes that destroys blood or paralyzes nerves.

-Western diamondbacks are pit vipers which means that they have a heat sensing pit behind each nostril that can detect differences in temperature as little as a fraction of a degree apart. The heat given off by an animal is detected by the snake helping it to determine predator from prey.

-Mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, ground dwelling birds, lizards and other small animals make up the diet of this snake. But diamondbacks also have many predators such as eagles, hawks, roadrunners, king snakes, coyotes, bobcats and fox.

-During the heat of the day diamondbacks will remain coiled in the shade of shrubs or rocks, while in winter, they retreat into caves or similar places to hibernate.

-Its rattle is made up of keratin (the same protein hair and fingernails are made of) and a new segment is added each time a rattlesnake sheds

-Male rattlesnakes engage in ritualistic combats during the spring mating season presumably to determine the sexual fitness of a male.

C. “Carol” Coral Snake

Beautiful red, black and pale yellow banded coral snake.

Beautiful red, black and yellow banded coral snake. Very secretive and rarely seen.

-The Arizona coral snake is a slender, small snake reaching only 13 to 21 inches.

-It is a brightly colored snake with broad alternating bands of red and black separated by narrower bands of bright white or yellow which completely encircle the body

-A secretive snake, it usually emerges after sundown, feeding primarily on blind and black-headed snakes. Occasionally it eats lizards or other small, smooth-scaled snakes.

-While its venom is similar to that of the cobra, because it is small with small front fixed fangs the venom does not pose as much danger to humans as that of rattlesnakes.

-Many people use a rhyme to identify a coral snake-“red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black venom lack”

D. “Longnose Rose” Longnose snake

Black and yellow banded snake with some red highlights.

Longnose Snake has a banded appearance like many other snakes in our area. It is nonvenomous.

-This slender snake varies considerably in pattern and coloring, reaching lengths of slightly over 3 feet.

-It is sometimes confused with the venomous coral snake because of its similar color banding pattern but can be distinguished by its long nose and banding that does not completely encircle it body.

-When disturbed, the longnose snake writhes and twists its body, vibrates its tail, and defecates feces and blood from its anal opening.

-An excellent burrower if the soil is sandy, it can also retreat under rocks or into rock crevices or rodent burrows,

-Active primarily at night, it feeds on lizards, lizard eggs, small snakes, small mammals, and birds.

E. “Sid” Sidewinder

The sidewinder's brown, black and tan blends in well with the desert floor.

The sidewinder coloration blends in well with its sandy surroundings. It can be a “feisty” rattlesnake.

-This small rattlesnake about 2 feet long can be tan, cream, or light gray with a dark stripe extending from the eye to above the corner of the mouth. Its coloring often matches the soil or sand on which the snake lives.

-During mild spring days it is out and about but seeks shelter in underground burrows during the hot summer months, only coming out at night

-In sandy areas this snake often coils partially buried in the sand, with only its head exposed.

-Its name is derived from its distinctive method of moving sideways with its body winding through an “S” shaped curve leaving distinctive parallel J-shaped tracks in the sand.

-As with other “pit-vipers” the sidewinder uses the heat sensing pits on each side of the face between the eye and nostril to detect warm-blooded predators and prey. –

An ambush hunter, the sidewinder coils and waits for unsuspecting lizards, mice, birds, and snakes to wander within striking distance.

F. “Lionel” Lyre Snake

The grayish banded lyre snake has a pattern on top of its head that resembles the musical instrument.

The lyre snake is named for the pattern on the top of its head that resembles the musical instrument. While mildly venomous, it does not pose a serious threat to pets.

– Named for the V-shaped marking on its head that looks like the musical instrument

-This mildly venomous, rear-fanged snake is about 4 feet in length

-Lives in rocks, crevices and fissures -Feeds primarily on lizards, but also eats birds and bats.

-Primarily nocturnal, it is seldom active during the day.

-When alarmed, the lyre snake will raise up, shake its tail, hiss, and strike, biting the intruder if not left alone. This behavior, sometimes causes the lyre snake to be mistaken for a rattlesnake.

 

 

Do you know what to do if a rattlesnake bites your pet?

Bonnie’s Parents knew exactly what to do.

Questions??  Call or TEXT us at 480-987-4555.

Your San Tan Valley Vets at       Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic.

long haired daschund after receiving antivenin for rattlesnake bite

SNAKE BITE BONNIE – What to do if a rattlesnake bites your pet!

By | Cases, Client Education

Snake Bite Bonnie

No matter how careful you are

No matter careful you are to insure your pet’s safety, no matter how mindful you are that it’s rattlesnake season, could this happen to your dog? Bonnie, a sweet little miniature Dachshund, did nothing wrong. Her owners did nothing wrong. She was just playing in her yard along with the other dogs at her house.  Suddenly, a rattlesnake appeared, biting her on the right side of the muzzle.

The owners scooped Bonnie up, jumped into the car and made the 35 minute drive from Florence to Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic in 20 minutes.

A Diamondback Rattlesnake like the one that bit Bonnie.

A Diamondback Rattlesnake like the one that bit Bonnie.

When Bonnie got to the clinic she was lying on her side, unresponsive with labored breathing and a weak pulse. Her muzzle, where she had been bitten, was swelling. She laid there on her side, not moving. The experienced staff at Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic immediately took Bonnie in and began administering oxygen. As Dr. Schmidt evaluated the dog’s condition, IV fluids were started. Narcotics were given for pain. He explained the situation to the owners who already were prepared for the worst.  At this point it been less than 40 minutes since Bonnie had been bitten and she looked bad. She would have a chance with antivenin and the owners gave the go ahead.

Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic always has antivenin on hand for its clients and their pets and a vial was reconstituted. Within an hour of being bitten, Bonnie had received the antivenin and was being monitored continuously by the experienced and well trained staff. A technician constantly monitored her condition throughout the day. Later that afternoon, Bonnie became more alert and responsive. By the end of the day she was able to sit up and move around. Eventually she could walk a few steps.

This story has a happy ending because:

A).The owners got their pet to the veterinarian immediately.

B). Antivenin was administered quickly.

But luck had something to do with it as well. Rattlesnake bites can, and often are, fatal and responsible pet owners are going to great lengths to keep their pets safe. The rattlesnake vaccine can buy time and mitigate the effects of a snakebite. “Snake proofing” pets to steer clear of snakes is helpful but doesn’t take into account snakes that literally come out of nowhere. Additionally, some people are reluctant to subject their dog to the electric shock used with most snake proofing methods even though that shock could save their pet’s life. And, while Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic stocks antivenin– the cost, while nowhere approaching what’s spent when a human gets bit, is not cheap. So what is a responsible pet owner to do? Everything possible to insure your pet and a snake never, ever meet. That means assuming rattlesnakes are everywhere.

  • Don’t let your pet nose around the yard before you’ve checked what’s lurking there
  • Don’t let your pet get ahead of you on a hike.
  • Teach your pet to avoid snakes.
  • Consider a rattlesnake vaccine.

But if despite all these precautions your dog does get bit, remember,

Bonnie survived because her owners took action immediately.

 

For more information on snakes and snakebites in San Tan Valley, contact Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic

Contact Us

270 East Hunt Hwy, Ste. #4
San Tan Valley, AZ 85143
480-987-4555