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Warmer weather means greater risk for snakebites

Living in Texas means being aware of the dangers of snakes. Now that the weather is beginning to get warmer, that also means being extra vigilant when it comes to our pets.

As the temperature gets warmer, pit vipers such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cotton mouths, start to become more active. The good news is that most of these snakes are not interested in biting but, if they are trapped or surprised, they will. The venom from a snakebite will cause pain and swelling in the area of the bite and, if left untreated, can lead to infection, shock, or even death. The severity of the signs will depend on the amount of venom injected, the size of the dog (small dogs are at greater risk of complications) and the location of the bite (bites around the head and neck can quickly become life-threatening).

The best way to avoid a snakebite is to be aware of the risk and supervise your pets closely. Keep your dog on a leash in areas where there may be snakes and stay away when you hear the sound of a rattler. If you live or frequently visit an area that is known to have rattlesnakes, consider signing your dog up for rattlesnake avoidance training. This is especially helpful for hunting dogs that frequent rattlesnake country. You can also talk to your veterinarian about a rattlesnake vaccine. This vaccine doesn’t eliminate the need to see a veterinarian right away in the event of a snakebite, but it can decrease the severity of the symptoms.

If your dog or cat is bitten, take them to the vet right away. Even if you aren’t sure it was a snakebite, it is better to be proactive and have them checked out. In addition to treating your pet for shock, pain, and infection, your veterinarian may recommend treatment with a product that can help deactivate the venom. Remember, the sooner your pet is seen, the more effective treatment will be.

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Sugar Land Team