Rattlesnake bites dog

Anti-venom used to save pooch

A Princeton area pooch is recovering this week after being bit by a rattlesnake.

Dr. Ryan Ridgway, from Cascade Veterinary Clinic, said while his office was called for the after-hours emergency the pet was referred to a Fairfield vet which is the only doctor in the area who stocks the necessary anti-venom.

Rattlesnake bites are not uncommon, he said in an interview with The Spotlight.

“Any animal can get bitten. Dogs are curious, horses will get bitten and calves sometimes.”

Each year there is a handful of cases in the Keremeos and Hedley area, he said, and this latest bite occurred between Hedley and Princeton.

“Most of the rattlesnake bites occur closer to Hedley but they have been seen in town, in Princeton.”

Ridgway cautioned there are many “wives tales and myths” regarding treating snake bites.

One of the most important steps is to remain calm and keep the animal calm.

“Do not suck the venom out or attempt to suck it out, do not put on a tourniquet or ice,” said Ridgway.

The bitten limb or area needs to be kept as close to the level of the animal’s heart as possible and it’s important to get to a vet as soon as possible.

A vet will administer fluid therapy and an anti-inflammatory, and in severe cases source the anti-venom which is the same as the anti-venom used on humans.

While snake bites can be fatal, Ridgway said the species of rattlesnake in this area has a milder bite than others.

“With prompt treatment [the pet] generally does very well.”

Ridgway said it is also important, if a pet is bit, to leave the snake alone.

“Don’t try to catch the snake to identify it or go after it to find out what kind of snake it is or you could get bit too.”

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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