Within the past week, the veterinary staff of the I-20 Animal Medical Center in Arlington, TX has twice found themselves in their 24-hour ICU fighting to save the lives of dogs bitten by rattlesnakes.
Arlington, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/23/2013 -- In Cedar Hill, a couple had set out on a trail in an area they have hiked for years. Their beloved dog, Diamond, not one to stay at home on the couch, accompanied them on their adventure. Along the way, the group discovered an old, abandoned cabin. The man peered through the windows on one side of the small shack, while his wife was opening the door on the other side. Suddenly he had heard a scream. Rushing to his wife’s side, he froze as he saw her standing within two feet of a rattlesnake coiled to strike.
Suddenly, Diamond, the Labrador’s protective instincts kicked in and he rushed in front of his owner, taking the full force of the poisonous snake’s bite. It eventually became apparent that Diamond had been bitten by the snake. The owners, thankful and amazed by Diamond’s sacrifice but worried for his life, rushed him to I-20 Animal Medical Center where Diamond received life saving treatment, including anti-venin. Diamond recovered and was released from the hospital ICU two days later.
Days later, another snakebite victim was successfully treated by the I-20 Animal Medical Center. “This is surprising this early in the season,” one of the ICU doctors told this reporter. “It means the snakes are out and moving around, and their venom is more powerful this early in the season.”
North Central Texas, as are many other areas in the U.S., is home to several poisonous species of snake, including the copperhead, water moccasin, and, most deadly of all, the rattlesnake. Since the function of rattlesnake venom is to not only kill, but rather to partially digest it’s victim, damage to tissue and risk of death after a rattlesnake bite is very high. A vaccination does exist and while it may provide a little protection from the damage caused by a venomous snakebite, it is no substitution for immediate veterinary care after a bite.
In the wake of these events the I-20 Animal Medical Center reports that, “Not all hospitals carry anti-venom due to the high cost of the drug. So make sure the veterinary emergency hospital you use does. Snake bites in North Texas are frequent. It has been estimated that dogs are up to 300 times more likely to be bitten by a venomous snake than to get rabies. We see numerous cases every year. Last year we had a dog bit by a rattlesnake hiding under the children’s slide on their swing set. You just never know so be prepared. If you hike with your dog, or live in an area with rattlesnakes, you should discuss rattlesnake vaccination with your veterinarian.
Ultimately, pet owners should realize precaution against venomous snakes is your best protection, and if your pet is bitten, seek veterinary care immediately.”
About The I-20 Animal Medical Center
Since 1980, I-20 Animal Medical Center has been committed to providing the best in veterinary health care, vaccinations, surgeries, advanced dentistry and emergency/critical care 24/7. We understand that the health of your pet is a top priority.