What You Should Know About Rattlesnake Bites & Dogs

A rattlesnake bite always qualifies as a veterinary emergency. What else should you know about rattlesnake bites and dogs? Our Cave Creek veterinarians share some facts and cautionary measures to help protect your canine friend.

Protecting Your Dog from Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are found in a wide range of habitats and climates, including wetlands, forests, deserts, mountains and cliffs. They are most active in warmer seasons from spring to autumn. They can typically be found year-round in southern latitudes.

Though rattlesnakes are often found where dogs roam, you’ll want to keep your canine friend away from these venomous reptiles as bites lead to serious injury and even death for thousands of dogs annually.

Is a Rattlesnake Bite a Veterinary Emergency?

Because rattlesnake venom contains a mixture of toxins that can spread throughout a dog’s body after a bite, rattlesnake bites are always considered a veterinary emergency.

When released, these toxins can cause serious symptoms and cause severe pain if injected into an unprotected dog. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a bite, the venom can cause permanent damage.

Which Precautions Should I Take To Keep My Dog Away from Rattlesnakes?

Any time your dog treads into the rattlesnake habitat, he or she is at risk of being bitten, particularly because dogs often follow protective instinct or become curious. Whether you and your dog live near rattlesnakes, venture into the woods while hiking or camping or travel through rattlesnake turf, caution should always be taken and dogs should be kept on a leash.

My Dog Has Been Bitten, What Should I Do Next?

Your dog should visit a veterinarian for assessment and care as soon as possible after being bitten by a rattlesnake. Your vet can determine whether your dog will need additional treatment.

Even bites from non-venomous snakes may lead to serious infections and your dog may require antibiotic treatment.

Treatment may require antivenom injections, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. These injections are also associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions that can cause complications during recovery. Other costs of treatment for rattlesnake bites may include intravenous fluids, medicines, surgery and / or hospitalization. A veterinarian is the best person to consult when making medical decisions for your dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog has been bitten by a rattlesnake? Our vets are experienced in treating many common injuries and conditions in pets. Book an appointment at Animal Health Services today.