Snakebite and guardian dogs what should I do?

Blue Sky

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Weve been very lucky with only two bites in several years but because of last year's rain and our new pond, I'm expecting a snakey spring. I worry about water moccasins and rattlers. I understand that some of the antivenins are cost prohibitive are there other treatments?
 

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Thought of this a minute after posting- we had a goat (Alpine) go stickin' her nose somewhere she shouldn't have and got stung... on the face! BAD!!!!!!!! Her head and face swelled up so bad and down her throat, we had to take off her collar so she wouldn't strangle... vet had us give Benedryl- we had to give it for 3 days the swelling took a long time to go down...

We did give benedryl to a dog once for bee sting on the nose and it swelled.
 

Blue Sky

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Yup I have a Miss Nosey (pyr) who is relieved of her collar spring thru fall.
 

babsbag

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It is my understanding that Benedryl will not work with a snakebite. The swelling is not an allergic reaction. A dog is more likely to survive a bite if they are bit on the face or an extremity as the swelling will actually work as a tourniquet and stop the spread of the venom. Of course getting bit on the face can cause airway issues so that is a big concern.

You might look into snake aversion training. I had it done with my Border Collies 8 years ago and while it should be "touched" up each year I believe that it saved their life this year when a rattler was in their kennel and they stayed about 15' away and barked like crazy. Can think of no other reason for that behavior, they will take on a cat, rat, chicken, lizard, etc. so why not a snake?

My LGD and one of her pups did get bit this year but fortunately it was either a young snake that didn't release its venom entirely or God was just watching out for them. Other than some slight swelling their was no lingering damage, and rattlesnake bites can cause quite a bit of tissue necrosis; we were very lucky.
 

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young snake that didn't release its venom entirely
Babs I think you had a typo cuz I know you know this but thought I'd put it out for others that may not know

Young snakes CANNOT control their venom so they are MORE dangerous- they give a FULL VENOM bite. Unless it was already used up at the time of strike and not built back up it will release all venom.
Mature snakes CAN control the venom and amount, usually the first strike is a DRY bite... the second they will release venom but will control amount.

A few years back I had 2 children bit by copperheads, two different occasions. One snake was mature, although venom detected it was considered dry bite. The other bite came from a baby copperhead, on my daughters toe.... full venom... leg swelled, discolored... the color took well over a year to return to normal. The swelling was severe at the ankle but wasn't too bad going up... but it did go up to the thigh. Took weeks for it to go down.

Or cat had 3 different occasions of copperhead bites. :\
We do have a kind of rattler here and I know I came across one once... but thankfully no real serious issues...
 

Scooby308

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Copperheads are our biggest threat, although there are plenty of rattlers here that you never see. Dad's dog got bit this past year. She came in limping and with her lower leg swollen huge. He had me check it and I found the puncture marks. They were so wide I figured it had to be a rattler. They took her to the vet and he said copperhead, but it had to be a monster. They drained it and gave her steroids and antibiotics.

The average length for a full grown copperhead is about 3 feet. I did not know that. I killed one while bushhogging one year that was every bit of 4 feet. Had I known, after I shot him I wouldn't have ran the bushhog over him, but called fish and game to measure him. We have killed several on this farm in the last two years. Starting fencing in the scary woods is...well....scary. Dad's farm is across the road from mine. More woods, but same habitat. He killed one baby last year. The only one he's had in about 20 years. And I've averaged 5+ a year for the last 4 years.
 

babsbag

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I asked my vet about a dry strike and she said that there would be no swelling at all if it was a dry strike so I guess that rules that out. She also didn't really buy into the "young snake more dangerous". She believes that younger snakes just have less venom. IDK, I am no snake expert and really hope I never have the chance to compare bites. :)
 

Southern by choice

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I asked my vet about a dry strike and she said that there would be no swelling at all if it was a dry strike so I guess that rules that out. She also didn't really buy into the "young snake more dangerous". She believes that younger snakes just have less venom. IDK, I am no snake expert and really hope I never have the chance to compare bites. :)
Yeah, the dry bite my son had - no swelling. We did circle the bite area with sharpie marker so when we got to the ER they could see how much swelling for the amount of time. The puncture itself, because it is a puncture, will swell but it is isolated. It never went beyond the circled area. They just cleaned it and sent him home.

Young snakes do have less they just can't control it so it ends up being full venom bite.

@Scooby308 - whenever we put new fencing up through the woods we encounter a lot! Once the fence goes up and the dogs go in they leave... so far anyway. That is how my son got bit. We were putting up new fencing- he was told to stay IN the already fenced area ... he dis-obeyed... sometimes kids learn there are consequences the hard way, thankfully it was a dry bite.
 

Robbin

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Toli has been bitten 3 times, twice on the nose, face got badly swollen, last one was probably a pygmy rattler on the ankle. That was by far the worst. Our vet said there is little they can do unless you are sure of the type of snake. He was miserable for 48 hours, but no worse for ware. I read their is a shot they can give them that improves survival rates, but it's something they have to get in advance. I'm going to check on that this spring when he goes in for his shots. Vet says size matters. big difference between a 10 pound dog getting bit and Toli at 140.
 
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