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Mountain Home, AR 72653
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Snake Bite

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!).


Places to look for good information as a pet owner:

I try to teach my staff where they can locate the correct knowledge. These websites I have linked to offer legit information. This blog is going to give you doctor approved AWESOME INFO!

  • Cats – The American Association of Feline Practitioners has wonderful information for cat owners. Click on this link to go to their caring for cats pet owner page. This page has all kinds of tips, videos, oral healthcare and other useful information for AMAZING cat parents! FYI – I am a member of the this association and we are a CAT-FRIENDLY PRACTICE!
  • Worms/parasites/creatures living in or on your pets – The Companion Animal Parasite Council has cool interactive maps that can show you how many animals tested positive in the county you live in for certain diseases like heartworms (from mosquitoes) or lyme disease (from ticks). They also have guidelines on how often test for diseases, how frequently to treat your pet with preventions even what to feed your pets. Click Here for these guidelines
  • Heartworms – The American Heartworm Society is where you should go to learn about heartworm basics. You can watch a video about heartworms, mosquitoes and how it all works. The American Heartworm Society has guidelines about when to test, how often to give preventions and who is at RISK  – DOGS & CATS!
  • The American Animal Hospital Association has guidelines and positions on cat aging, oral/dental healthcare guidelines for dogs and cats, nutrition, pain management, and declawing guidelines.
  • My staff and I are available to discuss any of these guidelines and what it means for your personal furkid.
  • Pet MD and Veterinary Partner are good places to look up specific diseases that your pet may have been diagnosed.
This is by no means a complete list of good websites, it just offers a few of my favorites! Please comment and ask questions about what else you might want to learn about! I am looking for new topics to discuss with you :)


Dr. Sara