This morning Stefany (The Vet Clinic, Inc.’s Hospital Administrator) and I went for a hike at pigeon creek. Just a few steps onto the trail I spotted a copperhead snake and we decided to turn around!
There are two basic types of snake’s venom: necrotoxin and neurotoxin. Necrotoxins causes necrosis of the tissue (tissue death) and neurotoxin poison the nervous system (cause the respiratory center to become paralyzed = stop breathing). Both types of toxins sound horrible, and yet we are lucky that we have more necrotoxic snakes than neurotoxic snakes in our area :) Copperheads have necrotoxin venom, incase you were wondering.
Typically the snake bitten critters that I see have two holes (snake fangs) and a very large area of swelling that is extremely painful! Dogs tend to receive their snake bites on the neck or face, while felines tend to be more agile and receive their bites on the body (the soft underbelly usually). Is this an emergency? IT COULD BE! What should you do?
BENADRYL!!!! Give 1mg per pound of body weight for a dog or cat. So if you have a 25 pound poochie he or she would get one 25mg tablet of Benadryl (diphenhydramine). The usual human adult Benadryl comes in 25mg tablets, while children’s Benadryl is usually a 12.5mg dose per kid. Please note if you pet got a bite anywhere around the neck please remove the collar!!! Then give me a call!
Some dogs and cats may have allergic reactions and could need hospitalization, IV fluids and other medical treatments to prevent more serious complications. Hopefully I didn’t scare you… I just want you to know what to do and what to expect! I was scared this morning!!! Oh one more thing… the swelling is gravity dependent and as time goes on the swelling sinks to the lowest part of your critter (IT IS SO COOL!).