According to claim data from Trupanion pet medical insurance company, almost 90 percent of snakebites occur between April and October and can cost thousands of dollars to treat. Rattlesnake bites can be deadly and always require immediate veterinary attention.
To help keep dogs safe this rattlesnake season, John Faught, doctor of veterinary medicine, medical director of the Firehouse Animal Health Center and Trupanion policyholder, provides these tips:
When out walking, keep pets on a tight leash and avoid walking when snakes are most active. Prevent dogs from investigating bushes, tall grasses and rocky or wooded areas where snakes like to hide. Stay on trails or on sidewalks to give snakes plenty of space.
Listen carefully for snakes’ rattle, and if heard, turn and walk the other way immediately. Most rattlesnakes will avoid people and pets if they can help it—that’s why they rattle, to warn others of their presence. But this warning often sparks the curiosity of dogs, so it’s important to walk the other way before the dog can act.
If bitten by a rattlesnake, take the dog to the closest veterinary hospital. Snakebites are always an emergency. Try to stay calm and if possible, carry the dog, as stress and movement causes venom to move more quickly through the body system.
Pet owners should ask their veterinarians if their dog is a good candidate for the rattlesnake vaccine. Most healthy dogs are good candidates and the vaccine has few side effects. The vaccine should not be used as a sole measure of protection against rattlesnake bites, but it can help reduce the severity of snakebites.
For more information visit Trupanion.com or call 888-733-2685. Terms and conditions apply. See the policy for complete details. Underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company: 907 NW Ballard Way, Seattle, Washington.