Summer and fall are the seasons in which the incidence of rattlesnake encounters are highest. People are out and about hiking, camping or participating in other outdoor activities while enjoying the company of the family pet.
A tremendous amount of misinformation exist dealing with the proper first-aid measures an owner should employ should their pet be bitten by a rattlesnake. This is due in large part to myth and common folklore. The most common signs seen after a rattlesnake bite are swelling of the effected area, puncture sounds (although these may be difficult to see), and pain. Should you suspect that your dog or cat may have been bitten by a rattlesnake TRANSPORT THE VICTIM TO A VETERINARY MEDICAL FACILITY IMMEDIATELY!! Rattlesnake envenomation can be FATAL– owner’s miscalculations of the severity of the bite have cost pet’s their lives, early signs can be misleading.
Studies have shown that the time wasted with first-aid measures, and in some instances the first-aid measures themselves, are more harmful to the victim than no first-aid at all. The use of tourniquets, incision and suction, ice packs, electroshock or other measures seen in the popular literature are most often associated with a worsening of the condition and have yet to be proven effective. Some of these measures have been directly responsible for loss of limbs, and even increased death rates. THE ONLY PROVEN THERAPY AGAINST RATTLESNAKE BITES MUST BE ADMINISTERED AT A VETERINARY MEDICAL FACILITY.
The primary goal of first-aid is to DO NO HARM! The following guide lines should be followed to aid a victim of rattlesnake bite:
- RAPID TRANSPORT TO VETERINARY MEDICAL FACILITY
- calm the victim
- if possible immobilize the affected limb
- try to restrict the victims activity
- do not allow first-aid to delay proper medical treatment
Remember, if you suspect that your pet has been bitten immediate transportation to veterinary assistance could mean the difference between you pet’s life or death.