snakebite and petsIt’s a gorgeous day, and you and your doggie are out enjoying your favorite walking trail. She sniffs under every bush, follows her nose along a circuitous pathway and digs up what interests her. “Hmmm.” She wonders. “What’s this curious scaly thing?….”

Or your cat is in the backyard, basking in the sun with one eye open. All of a sudden, she spots a slithering presence. “FUN!” he thinks. “A new cat toy!”

Blending into the environment is the snake’s best defense plan, but when a curious dog or a territorial cat stumbles upon a serpentine hideaway, the cornered snake’s next best defense plan is to bite the animal that got too close.

Any snake bite is an emergency. In some cases, the snake slithers away so quickly that no one can identify it to know if it’s poisonous or not. Your quick action and your vet’s treatment could save your pet’s life if he’s bitten by a venomous snake.

Here’s what to do if you see a snake bite your pet.
1. Identify the snake.
2. Administer Benadryl – 1 mg per pound of your pet’s weight.
3. Seek veterinary care immediately!

If your pet suddenly has redness, moderate to severe swelling, or dying tissue – especially on the forelimbs or muzzle – it may be a snake bite.

In North Carolina, indigenous venomous snakes are the Copperhead, the Cottonmouth (water moccasin) and three species of rattlesnakes.

How serious the bite is depends on the age and species of the snake, level of fang penetration, amount of venom injected, site of the bite and also the size of your dog. Even if the snake isn’t venomous, the bite site can be a vulnerable spot for infection if not examined or treated.

Keep in mind that the cure for a venomous snake bite can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Prevention on your part can help keep your pets safe. When you walk trails, keep your dog on a lead. If your property backs up to a wooded area, keep an eye on your dog or cat even in the back yard. Also, avoid evening or dusk walks near wooded areas. Many varieties of snakes are nocturnal creatures and more active at night.

Should your pet tangle with reptiles and you suspect a bite, we’re here. Follow the steps above, and your quick action could save a life.