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Any vets here? Rattlesnake bit my dog Login/Join 
I'm older than I look
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My 90 lbs lab staffy mix, who is almost 10 years old was bit by a rattlesnake on the forehead on Friday afternoon around 5 pm. It was a large rattler, so an adult. We were at the vet by 6:15 pm who said it would take not 1 but 2 vials of anti-venom and they'd need to keep him for 24 hours. I visited him Saturday night at 9 pm and his face had ballooned and was and is seriously swollen. They said they wanted to keep him another night (didn't charge me, which I found odd since vets in my experience typically charge for everything...for example, they charged me for an elizabethan collar they never gave me) and that the anti-venom caused the swelling and not to worry.

I came in at 3 pm today to get him and they discharged him to me 2 hours later. He is still incredibly swollen around the face, neck, shoulders area and he is still drooling (which I read to be one of the symptoms of a snake bite) and he has what I can only describe as a tennis ball sized sack of fluid on his neck. And his left eye (below where the snake bit) is swollen shut and his right eye is barely open due to his overall head being swollen. He definitely is way worse looking than when I first brought him in after being bitten.

Vet said this is all normal and that it should get better each day and he should be back to normal in a week.

I'm seriously worried because I would imagine a vet would give him some cytopoint or something like that to reduce the swelling and the drooling and again, he's just overall worse looking than when I brought him in.

For the next 7 days, he's got the following cocktail of pills:

Clindamycin HCL 300 mg, 1 capsule 2x/day
Tramadol 50 mg, 2 tablets, 2x/day
Prednisolone 5 mg, 2 tablet, 2x/day
Amoxicillin 500 mg, 1 tablet, 2x/day

Should I be concerned?

Thank you all in advance, I'm unable to focus because I'm so very worried about my little buddy.


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Posts: 1920 | Location: San Fernando Valley, CA | Registered: September 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Not really from Vienna
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I’ve had numerous experiences with my various ranch dogs being bitten by rattlesnakes. All of them were bitten on the face and all of them recovered. None received antivenin. The vet here treats a lot of snakebites and to my knowledge never uses antivenin, if memory serves, he uses steroids and antihistamine drugs. Takes about a week or so for them to get back pretty much to normal, but their appearance is never exactly as it was before the bite. Most of the rattlesnakes we have experience with were diamondbacks and rock rattlers.
 
Posts: 25560 | Registered: January 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eye on the
Silver Lining
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Yes, there is a vet here- slab-sides. Not sure if he’ll respond as he has been second guessed so many times on the forum that he sounds mildly disgusted. Don’t blame him one bit. He can’t see anyone’s issues from here, and no one is offering a consulting fee for his expertise.
I’m a cvt. Everything your vet did sounds appropriate, but I’m not in a state where a bite like this is common. Your dog sounds as though his immune system is responding appropriately to a snake bite, and you’ll have to sit it out for the next week. Baby your pup, and give him the meds. Sounds like antibiotics, painkillers, steroids, and more antibiotics. He hit all the bases and then some. Lucky dog.


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Posts: 4425 | Registered: October 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had a dog several years back that got bit by a rattlesnake multiple times.

The first time we reacted much as you did.
Overnight stay.. bunch of meds...etc.

The second time was no overnight stay - but got him some meds.

The third time we just decided to let him recover on his own.
Figure he'd built up enough natural resistance to it by that time lol.
(You'd think he would have learned after the first time or two to not mess with the damn things....)

From what I can remember... your vet visit sounds much like ours from back then.





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Posts: 1211 | Location: Kernersville, NC | Registered: June 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Political Cynic
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Bandit had an encounter with a snake 2 years ago. Lots of swelling that took 10 days to subside.

I watched her carefully for any sign of system failure and in two weeks she was quite fine.
 
Posts: 50899 | Location: Tucson Arizona | Registered: January 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not a vet.

The south Texas rancher wisdom is that the dogs that get bit on the face look the worst but are almost always fine, and it's the ones that get bit on the chest or legs that you really have to watch.
 
Posts: 5665 | Location: TX | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Equal Opportunity Mocker
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Sorry your pet is going through this. We don't get a lot of venomous bites in my area that are seen by the vet, and none of the vets in my 3 county area even stock the antivenin. 'Round here, cottonmouths either kill 'em on the spot or they look like crap for a week then get over it.
However, I'm willing to tell you what little I know.

I do know that there's usually a scale that they use to determine whether to even use the antivenin in areas where this is common, but that is the extent of my understanding of it, except that 25% of rattlesnake bites are "dry," meaning they don't envenomate, just bite. Clearly, that was not the case this time. After that, the scale dictates the number of vials indicated. People have a similar scale, and I think we can get 12 or more vials when it's bad.

To specifically address a couple of your questions/concerns:
-he will definitely look worse before he looks better, but any changes in current breathing, activity, or mentation warrant immediate reporting to the vet.
-Cytopoint would have no use in this case, and is not indicated. It is really more focused on skin level allergens and countering that type thing.
-Antihistamines haven't been shown to be effective for snake bites by any study I have seen. Some use them anyhow, some don't.
-Prednisone is a very potent anti-inflammatory drug, and the vet put him on it. Some vets won't put them on pred for snake bites, some will, but it will help with inflammation for sure. Just don't want to go to an immunosuppressive dose on it (too much of a good thing, and all that). I generally use steroids on them almost always, and stay away from NSAID's since they can cause clotting issues.
-Looks like we have 2 antibiotics on board right now. I am (again) unfamiliar with the common bacteria carried by these snakes, but if they are anything like our local cottonmouths, this can be the most pressing concern. Post-bite necrosis of skin around the actual bite (and it's immediate drainage channel) is not uncommon, and cannot be avoided regardless of what meds are given. I will presume this isn't your vet's first rodeo, and he's choosing antibiotics according to experience.

Sounds like your vet did what he could and let the dog go home figuring he would be more comfortable with you versus staying in the clinic.


Good luck with him, and hope he feels better soon.


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Posts: 5941 | Location: Mogadishu on the Mississippi | Registered: February 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have no useful information whatsoever...

I just wanted to drop a line and say I'm sorry to hear about the situation and you're having to go through it.

Here's hoping he recovers fully and quickly.




 
Posts: 9034 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'm older than I look
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Thanks one and all, especially slabsides.

I hope he doesn't have another encounter, but I will monitor him and now I know what meds to get if it unfortunately happens again.

I'm going to monitor him over the next 7 days per the vet. His swelling is crazy, but even my ER doctor buddy said humans who he sees with rattler bites swell up like a balloon.

Thanks for making me feel better!


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Posts: 1920 | Location: San Fernando Valley, CA | Registered: September 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
chickenshit
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I had an adult dog who was bitten by a rattler on the rear leg, thigh area, and the leg swelled quite a bit but my pup never really missed a beat.

Swelling took more than a week to subside IIRC.

Good luck to your furry friend.


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Posts: 7579 | Location: East Central FL | Registered: January 05, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oh stewardess,
I speak jive.
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Poor dog. Hope he recovers soon and completely.
 
Posts: 24892 | Registered: March 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Absolutely, prayers up and coming for the pup. May he be made well and healthy in no time once again.


Regards, Will G.
 
Posts: 9363 | Location: 140 mi to Margaritaville, FL | Registered: January 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sorry to hear about the bite, happyy to hear that he'll have a full recovery.

We live in rattlesnake country and both our dogs had the vaccination, thankfully, never tested it. Our Border Collie went to avoidance class and took it to heart. She would go far out of her way if a rattler was in the area. We couldn't find the snake but she knew it was near. This happened several times, highly recommended for dogs in rattler country.


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Posts: 2939 | Location: Utah's Dixie | Registered: January 29, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Truth Wins
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I've never had a dog bitten. But I've done a lot of reading and research on venomous snakes. It seems dogs, and especially cats, while not immune to the venom of these snakes, have much better blood coagulating power than do humans. And that helps them overcome the effects of bites better than humans can. The venom of rattlers is two-fold. A hemotoxin that destroys red blood cells, and limits coagulation. And a myotoxin, that destroys muscle and connective tissue. (Copperheads generally only have the hemotoxin, while most rattlers have both. Cottonmouths have both, as well as a lot of bacteria in their mouths. Some of these snakes, depending on subspecies and region, may also have a neurotoxic component.) Also, a lot of bites to dogs and cats are on skin covered bones so there is limited fang penetration, which also helps.

Good luck with your dog. If the vet sent him home, I suspect he'll recover fully. Dogs and cats tend to do well unless there is a deep bite with a lot of envenomation.


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Posts: 4285 | Location: In The Swamp | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
You have cow?
I lift cow!
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Baby Cottonmouth nailed my female on the front paw. It swelled HUGE like 2 times the size of a bat. Vet said that's normal. She was fine. Took some time for the swelling to go down. Between her toes the hair never grew back and the skin black. Dam cottonmouths came straight from hell if you ask me.


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Posts: 6251 | Location: Bay Area | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you know the area where your dog had contact with this snake, perhaps you can avoid going near there again. I recall a rocky covered hill side in western New York which was fenced off from a highway rest area. Signs in the fence warned of timber rattlers. Best treatment for poison snakes is a 12 gage load of bird shot.
 
Posts: 16605 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ammoholic
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quote:
Originally posted by UTsig:
Sorry to hear about the bite, happyy to hear that he'll have a full recovery.

We live in rattlesnake country and both our dogs had the vaccination, thankfully, never tested it. Our Border Collie went to avoidance class and took it to heart. She would go far out of her way if a rattler was in the area. We couldn't find the snake but she knew it was near. This happened several times, highly recommended for dogs in rattler country.

+1 on the avoidance classes. Mrs. slosig saw a poster for one nearby and we about getting in. No luck, but in the course of the conversation it came out that they were looking for other spots. We ended up hosting one on the ranch and they did our four pet dogs and the three guardian dogs (Anatolian / Pyrenees crosses that live out with the goats to keep them from becoming lion or coyote chow). It is amazing how well the training sticks. It turned into an annual thing and is great for the dogs. They even shy away from gopher snakes.
 
Posts: 5651 | Registered: February 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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mt girlfriend does a lot of hiking with her dog. she gets an annual rattlesnake vaccine for the dog


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Posts: 5496 | Location: New Orleans...outside the levees, fishing in the Rigolets | Registered: October 11, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by UTsig:
Sorry to hear about the bite, happyy to hear that he'll have a full recovery.

We live in rattlesnake country and both our dogs had the vaccination, thankfully, never tested it. Our Border Collie went to avoidance class and took it to heart. She would go far out of her way if a rattler was in the area. We couldn't find the snake but she knew it was near. This happened several times, highly recommended for dogs in rattler country.


So I'm curious how do you train a dog to avoid rattlesnakes?
 
Posts: 1311 | Location: USA | Registered: December 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Truth Wins
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quote:
Originally posted by calugo:
So I'm curious how do you train a dog to avoid rattlesnakes?


Shock collar, full power. Teach them that snakes will hurt them.

I doubt many dogs are ambushed by snakes. Probably the vast majority are fully aware it's there. They tend to musk when threatened and that definitely draws dogs attention.

Our local city park has the biggest cottonmouths in the US. You can sometimes find them near the trail. I can't tell you how many people I see walking dogs that will let them root their noses around in the grass and under the low bridges right near the swamp water where I've see as many as 11 cottonmouths in the space of less than 100 feet. Sometimes I'll tell them not to let their dog do that and point out a cottonmouth they never saw and they are dumbfounded by it. But the dog knew it was there. They could smell it.


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"I enter a swamp as a sacred place—a sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength—the marrow of Nature." - Henry David Thoreau
 
Posts: 4285 | Location: In The Swamp | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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