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    Be alert Pet Owners… It’s Snake Season!


    Snake bites should be classified as venomous or non-venomous when possible.  Taking care to not be bitten yourself, observe the markings and coloring of the snake and the shape of the head and eyes.  Venomous snakes have diamond shaped heads and brows that cover a portion of the upper eyeball.  Their pupils are vertical slits like cats’ eyes.  Non-venomous snakes have rounded heads, round eyeballs, and round pupils.

    Bites from non-venomous snakes should be treated the same as puncture wounds.  Bacteria from the dog’s skin and the snakes’ mouth are delivered beneath the skin by sharp, needle-like teeth.

    Venomous snake bites are a different story.  It is important to get treatment for the dog as soon as possible.  Try to keep the dog calm, and keep the bite wound below the level of the heart.  Do not attempt to remove the venom yourself by any means.  Venom from different snakes act differently on the body, so identification of the snake makes it easier to determine the appropriate treatment protocol.

    There is a vaccine available for venomous snake bites.  It may be useful for hunting and working dogs.  It causes the body to produce antibodies to the venom making the dog somewhat immune.  The vaccine appears to be safe, but its efficacy and duration is limited.  Even a vaccinated dog should seek medical attention immediately after a bite from a venomous snake.

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