Rattlesnake Season is Upon Us!
With the warmer temperatures and the snake population now coming out of hibernation, VCA California Veterinary Specialists Criticalist Kimberly Boyle warns pet parents to be especially mindful when hiking outdoors with their pets.
“While rattlesnake bites can occur all year round, they do tend to peak April through September when temperatures start to rise.”
She urges pet parents to keep their dog on a leash and to avoid rocky, dense brush, or grassy areas. Stay on clear, open trails or roads where visibility is stronger if a snake appears. And if you encounter a rattlesnake to slowly back away and leave the area.
If your dog is bitten, Dr. Boyle says DO NOT place a tourniquet as it restricts the blood flow near the bite allowing the venom to concentrate in one area and the tissue not receiving the oxygen it needs to survive. Instead, carry your dog or walk your dog to the car.
“You want to limit your pet’s physical exertion as much as possible and take them immediately to the closest veterinarian, calling first, if possible, letting them know you’re on your way and that your pet was bitten,” explained Dr. Boyle. “Not all veterinary hospitals carry the antivenin so you might be redirected to another hospital that can help your pet. The sooner your pet can receive the antivenin, the higher their chance of survival,” the Veterinary Criticalist added.
Rattlesnake bite symptoms:
- SEVERE PAIN
- PUNCTURE WOUND – BLEEDING
- RESTLESSNESS, PANTING OR DROOLING
- LETHARGY, WEAKNESS OR COLLAPSE
- MUSCLE TREMORS
- NEUROLOGICAL SIGNS INCLUDING SLOW AND SHALLOW BREATHING
California Poison Control experts are saying we could see an increase of rattlesnakes in the years to come thanks in part to the above average rainfall this past winter. The rain has created an ideal environment for an abundance of plants and insects and ultimately rodents, all part of the rattlesnake’s diet. This could trigger the production of larger rattlesnake litters.
For more information regarding rattlesnake bites and the risk to your pet, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your primary care veterinarian.